First round of announced shows include Turkish indie band Mor ve Ötesi; GRAMMY-winning Latin Jazz band Spanish Harlem Orchestra; Jazz guitar legend Mike Stern, and the New York Gypsy All Stars featuring French-Lebanese trumpet genius Ibrahim Maalouf
New York City’s Drom will celebrate its 15th year as Manhattan’s unofficial home for global music by programing a special series of 15 shows, festivals and events featuring acclaimed acts and legendary performers throughout 2022. The first slate of shows are announced and include Turkish indie band Mor ve Ötesi; GRAMMY-winning Latin Jazz band Spanish Harlem Orchestra; Jazz guitar legend Mike Stern, and the New York Gypsy All Stars featuring French-Lebanese trumpet genius Ibrahim Maalouf. Additionally, Drom has partnered with Lincoln Center, Brooklyn’s Barbès and globalFEST for a unique July 30 concert in Damrosch Park on July 30th as part of Lincoln Center’s “Summer for the City” series. See below for more details and ticket links for all shows.
Located on Avenue A in the East Village, Drom is a word in the Gypsy language for journey. Thousands of artists and countless music fans have made the trek to the club. It’s a music venue that celebrates these diverse yet intersecting cultures, presenting hundreds of performances by international, national and New York-based artists for the last 15 years.
Founded by Serdar Ilhan and curated together with Mehmet Dede, Drom is home for musicians and listeners who share a passion for live music and performances.
“Our goal from the beginning was to bring cultures from different regions into one room,” explains Serdar, who moved from Istanbul to New York in 1989. “We created a scene with contemporary world music and Jazz sounds.”
“Few venues were willing to take risks with various world cultures and music, but we did and still do,” Mehmet adds. “Sometimes that means a sold-out Cuban soul-funk show, other times a handful of people watching Mongolian throat singing. Maybe it’s leftfield music, but it has a community even if it is small and speaks to our mission of celebrating cultural diversity in the performing arts.”
No two nights are ever the same. While they programmed all kinds of music, they took chances with Eastern European music. There was Greek music. There was Turkish music. Meeting Serdar and Mehmet’s goals, Drom shined a light on the immigrant communities, their culture, and music.
Serdar is the Owner and Director who overlooks every part of the venue. From the interior design to the kitchen, which he’s turned around in recent years. Now, the food’s quality is equal to the entertainment. An accomplished photographer, Serdar’s photography hangs on the club’s wall of fame, displayed as patrons enter the club. A trained graphic artist, he designed the club logo and all other design elements used by the club to present shows.
While Serdar still likes to book bands, Programming Director Mehmet handles most of the bookings, working with artists, agents and their management. The two were recognized with the globalFEST Impact Award last year for their intercultural work. Mehmet is internationally recognized as an award-winning music curator, festival producer and tour promoter. He also now teaches at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School Music conservatory. Still, Drom and booking music remains a passion.
“I get a thrill discovering these bands, introducing them to our audience, our community and beyond,” says Mehmet. “We wanted the club to be a discovery platform, a showcase for emerging talent. A place for artists who are making noise.”
They also have a reputation for presenting then yet-to-be-discovered local and jazz-based artists like Robert Glasper, Snarky Puppy and Gregory Porter before they moved to large rooms. Jazz royalty like Chico Hamilton, Al De Meola, Jimmy Cobb, and Sun Ra Orchestra played Drom. Emerging Brooklyn pop singer Sammy Rae played a sold out show just before the pandemic.
The room also attracts major stars looking for a more intimate setting. This includes J. Cole when he was already playing arenas and the legendary Gloria Gaynor. Hip hop stars like ?uestlove, Afrika Bambaataa, Q-tip of A Tribe Called Quest come here to spin records..
Regrettably some venues have not come back post-pandemic shut down because they didn’t see a way to move forward, but Drom is not one of those places. Never has been. “We realized that people cannot live without music,” says Serdar. “The fire and the passion are still there, 15 years later and counting.”