Meera Dugal, WSWD’s NYC Music Expert

NYC turns to tastemaker Meera Dugal for her expert music recommendations. You can, too.

Nobody’s more plugged into New York’s thriving (and intersecting) jazz and world-music scenes than Meera Dugal. As programming manager for Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium, Meera curates some of New York’s most eclectic performances—hundreds of them every year. She manages Innov Gnawa, a New York–based sextet that plays Gnawa, the ancient spiritual dance music from across the African continent, as well. (For more on Gnawa music, read this terrific primer from Lincoln Center.) Meera is also on the advisory board of Brooklyn Raga Massive, a collective dedicated to Indian classical music that throws genre-bending concerts (it has previously held a John Coltrane birthday celebration and a concert of Beatles tunes, among others).

Meera is always in pursuit of fresh talent and inspiring live-music experiences. She describes her taste as “omnivorous and open-minded.” As she says, “I tend to fall for things on opposite sides of the spectrum: either an uncontrollably jubilant party situation or a devastatingly beautiful, raw, ancient, spiritual-feeling vibe. I look for passion and depth in the artists, chemistry between band members, warmth toward an audience, and then that je ne sais quoi that gets me in the back of my throat and has me awestruck about what humans are capable of.”

And that’s why we love her. So next time you feel like being “awestruck about what humans are capable of,” check out Meera’s latest picks, or contact one of our planners for a fully planned day or night out and discover just how transporting New York City can be.

Meera Dugal’s Best of New York City

Song about NYC I want to say something cool like “Harlem Congo” by Chick Webb, but if I’m being honest, I love me some “Jenny From the Block.”

Jazz venue Hands down The Jazz Gallery. It’s where I got into the scene.

Music festival globalFEST all the way, with Balkan music extravaganza Golden Fest as a close second.

Place you’re most likely to hear new, exciting music  I appreciate the eclectic nature of Rockwood Music HallC’mon Everybody, and (Le) Poisson Rouge, and the more esoteric places like Issue Project Room, which all keep me on my toes with more experimental music. I also LOVE Alwan for the Arts, an intimate spot that’s presents amazing music from the Arab world, though it not always contemporary – they present some of the best artists playing ancient styles of music.

Crowd In terms of people-watching, the most gorgeous and best fashion I’ve seen in a crowd is at the Afropunk Festival.

Most beautiful music venue Physically, The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center but spiritually, Barbes in Brooklyn. The diversity of artists and audiences all squishing together in the tiny back room is pure New York magic.

Cabaret Joe’s Pub

Stadium theater Beacon Theater

New York radio station Clocktower Radio

Late-night opera  Caffe Taci Opera at Papillon. It’s the closest thing to a time-travel experience.