Board of Directors
Pictured left to right:
Zette Emmons, Secretary
Andrew Faulkner, Co-chair
Daisy Paradis, Co-chair
Jinghong Li (former)
Growing up in Iran during the revolutionary period and a war, I had to tame the sound of my piano due to the heavy restrictions on most music at the time. And I would save whatever money I had to buy cassettes of “foreign” music—a particular “no no” then—on the black market. So you can imagine how alive I felt when I saw my very first live concert of world music in New York, after moving to the United States as a teenager in the 1990s. I owe discovering WMI to my grandparents, who took me to that concert. And I owe WMI my eternal gratitude for opening up my world.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Growing up in New Orleans, I was surrounded by music, especially jazz. After 20 years of listening to the concerts and cab drivers in New York, I've been exposed to music from all over the world and have developed a passion for African music. When I travel, I love to ask the locals what they're listening to. Music is an opportunity to connect people across countries and cultures - a much needed common ground. I'm excited to support a cultural treasure like the World Music Institute.
Kellie Castruita Specter
My love of world music began early. My grandmother would listen to Mexican Ranchera and Bolero music, and through it, I learned the joys and sorrows of my family's culture. I also learned that music has no barriers or borders. I have been attending concerts presented by the World Music Institute for over 15 years, and those musical experiences have enriched my life in New York City. I am deeply honored to serve on the Advisory Board of this important organization.
I am a native New Yorker who remembers going to see Flamenco performances at the Joyce Theater as a child. Having a life-long passion for the performing arts in such a culturally rich city has been deeply satisfying. The addition of World Music Institute to the cultural landscape of New York has broadened the type of experience available to all of us. It is a pleasure to join the Advisory Board.
As a member of the performing arts community in New York City, I have long admired the work done by the World Music Institute. Joining the advisory board today, I feel excited to get the opportunity to collaborate with a room full of people, passionate about music and the arts! I am looking forward to listening and sharing music that strongly resonates with me. And I hope to create and contribute to opportunities to represent our communities, to bring diverse voices to the forefront.
I have been introduced to world music through my extensive travels. Visiting different countries and getting to know their cultures came with an understanding that great music comes from every corner of the world, in every genre and style. And the greatest joy for all is to share the music. I have been following World Music Institute for several years in their pursuit to share the music and I am honored to serve on the Advisory Board.
"La Bamba" first did it for me, frantic dancing to a song sung in a language I did not then understand. All that followed, playing music, writing reviews, teaching dance classes and being a Dj is aiming to reclaim that sweet spot when language barriers and (imaginary) borders collapse and we're "one nation under a groove" in communal ecstasy.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS
Javier Limón's career as a musician and producer has developed in many genres and styles from different cultures including Flamenco, Fado, Latin American Music, Mediterranean, Jazz, the Middle East, Africa, and India among others. In WMI, Javier finds the perfect laboratory to share the knowledge learned during these years.
Named Jordan's Musical Ambassadress, Farah Siraj balances a career that spans the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. She has performed at some of the world's most prestigious platforms, including the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Lincoln Center in New York, just to name a few. Farah represents Jordan annually on United Nations World Peace Day and has been named the "Norah Jones of the Middle East" by New York Time Out. We are pleased that this acclaimed musical talent and humanitarian has joined WMI's Honorary Board of artists who support world music and dance as well as our efforts to raise awareness and appreciation of the world's rich cultural traditions.