Sustaining Cultures

Beat of the Boroughs: NYC Online

Beat of the Boroughs: NYC Online supports and celebrates immigrant performing arts during these difficult times while furthering the public’s understanding and appreciation of their work. As an online series, artists are invited to create short programs featuring their personal stories, musical or dance traditions, and pandemic experiences. Arun Venugopal of WNYC serves as the series host and introduces each episode. Whether a workshop, lecture-demonstration, brief documentary, or streamed live performance, a stellar cast of musicians and dancers presents their personal stories, remarkable traditions, and pandemic experiences.

The resulting collection of their combined voices remains available online to serve as a powerful document and platform for CTMD’s sustained advocacy for traditional arts in the city of immigrants. Now more than ever do we need to support folk and traditional artists who are often particularly vulnerable members of new immigrant and underserved communities.

This initiative is made possible through the generous support of the New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Scherman Foundation.  

Go to CTMD’s YouTube channel, or Facebook page to see past episodes. See the schedule below for future programs. 

If you would like to support the creation of Beat of Boroughs: NYC Online programs for other artists, please donate with the link below.

Schedule of Programs


October 05, Pilot release: The Grupo Rebolu Family Jam with Johanna Castaneda, Ronald Polo, and their children perform Afro-Colombian folk songs.

November 16, The Crimean Tatar Ensemble presents on folk music and dance from the Crimean peninsula, Ukraine.

November 18, The Mencius Society with Xiao Xiannian and Julie Tay present the yangqin (hammered dulcimer) and Chinese percussion.

November 20, Sidiki Conde presents on West African drumming and his sacred ancestral masks.

November 23, Yuri Yunakov presents traditional Bulgarian Roma/Gypsy music.

November 25, Frank London presents on klezmer with host Dan Blacksburg of the Radiant Others podcast.

November 27, Malang Jobarteh and Salieu Suso present on West African jali/griot traditions.

November 30, Sachiyo Ito presents on Japanese classical dance.

December 02, George Vilson and Régine Romain present on Haitian traditional song.

December 04, Ronald Polo presents an Afro-Colombian song.

December 07, Suvda Khereid presents on Mongolian short and long songs.

December 09, Seetha Wickramasuriya presents Sri Lankan Kavi poetry.

December 11, Inkarayku presents a live online concert of traditional Andean music.

December 14, Yamini Kalluri presents traditional Kuchipudi dancing and her new dance school.

December 20, Inkarayku presents a live online concert featuring artists from the Andean community.

December 21, Oneza Lafontant presents on spiritual well-being, healing, and solidarity in the Haitian community while honoring four elders who have transitioned during the pandemic.

December 23, Rafael Leal Ramirez presents a workshop on traditional Colombian drumming.

December 28, Esraa Warda presents a concert of Algerian rai music and dance.

December 30, Lamine Thiam presents on Senegalese drumming and dancing.


January 4, Jake Shulman-Ment, Klezmer musician is interviewed by Dan Blacksberg.

January 6, Ramon Ponce presents a lecture-demonstration on Mariachi music and traditions.

January 8, Pablo Mayor (Folklore Urbano NYC) presents his recent pandemic-era salsa, cumbia, and immigrant music projects.

January 11, Ebrima Jassey, a Gambian jali/griot, performs several pieces on the balafon.

January 13, Dan Blacksberg, interviews renowned New York klezmer musician Eleonore Weill for an in-depth conversation on how their work has made them an integral part of the klezmer world.

January 15, Moris Canate focuses on traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms.

January 20, Andriy Milavsky, band leader, clarinetist, and wind instrumentalist extraordinaire, presents archival footage of the Cheres Ensemble.

January 22, Aaron Alexander, renowned klezmer drummer, discusses his klezmer work with trombonist Dan Blacksberg of the Radiant Others Podcast

January 25, Oyu Oro Afro-Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble presents an original work “Sietes Mares” following an introduction by director Danys “La Mora” Pérez

January 29, Alhaji Papa Suso presents on various aspects of the jali/griot tradition.

February 1, Cheryl “The Gourd Lady” Thomas presents on the gourd’s history, musicality, and spirituality.


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