Posts filed under ‘African music’
Join Malagasy-American Singer Razia Said and Madagascar’s Biggest and Brightest Stars in a Musical Effort to Save the African Rainforest: July 19th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
How can you manage to contribute to an all-important global effort to save the rainforests of the world and enjoy fabulous world music and dance at the same time? By partaking of Razia Said‘sWake Up Madagascar Tour of course! Now a US citizen, although originally from Madagascar herself, Said has long been concerned over the damage done to the rainforests of her native homeland by the illegal deforestation activities of the logging industry. Proceeds from her upcoming concert will go towards local and global efforts to end this senseless destruction of one of our planets most precious natural resources.
Coming off the heels of a highly successful similar event of last year, this year’s tour features the same star-studded line up of musicians and dancers, including in addition to Said, Madagascar natives Jaojoby, Charles Kely, and the Saramba. The music genre of the evening will be salegy, a native form of pop considered to be most representative of Malagasy culture. And, as it just so happens, none other than Jaojoby, himself, is one of the forefathers of the style. Based on African folk genres of the sub Sahara, it gradually piqued the interest of the general population of Madagascar, most notably through a heavy incorporation of electric guitar beginning in the 1950s which gave it a distinct funk-like character. Salegy is uplifting in mood, vibrant in character, and teeming with energy. Both poly rhythmic and poly harmonic in over-all structure, it is most often performed in the key of A minor, and features, in addition to electric guitar and bass, accordion, and a percussion section typically comprised of drum set, djembe, and shakers.
This is definitely party music folks! So, if you’re in the audience, expect to be called on upon to participate. Salegy features periodic episodes of call and response interchanges between the members of the band and the audience in the form of repeated vocal phrases and hand clapping patterns. The dance that traditionally accompanies this genre emphasizes hip movements and will be amply demonstrated by dancers on stage the night of the concert. So get ready to sing out loud, clap those hands and swing those hips at the Wake Up Madagascar Afropop concert gone dance party. Sounds like a great time for a great cause to me.
Singer/composer Razia Said has most definitely joined the ranks as one of America’s rising world music stars. National Geographic predicted that her recording “Zebu Nation” (2010) would rank among the year’s top 12 in the world music category even before it actually came out. Read more about her accomplishments as well as those of other members of her amazing tour at these links: Razia Said / Jaojoby / Charles Kely / Saramba.
When: Thursday, July 19th @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (Somerville)
More Info: 617-776-2004 OR 617-800-9720
Relive Afro-Pop’s Golden Age of the 70’s with the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Contonou: Also appearing, African Hip Hop Sensations SMOD: July 20th, Friday @ 9:00 p.m.
Afrobeat funk was all the rage throughout the continent during the era of the 70s. This highly energized form of dance music soon made its way overseas, receiving a warm reception in Europe and beyond. Well, now this once highly popular genre of world music is making a huge comeback across the globe and what better way to experience it other than at the hands of Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Contonou. Not only are they considered to be their homeland’s top music ensemble of all time, but major critics, such as the New York Times, have dubbed them one of the world’s premier funk bands. Although heavily influenced by the late great James Brown, the band has developed a version of Afro funk that is distinctly all their own, infusing it with elements of psychedelic rock, native folk rhythms, Latin genres such as the Brazilian samba, jazz, soul, and voodoo music. The voodoo music makes its mystical presence known in the form of ritualistic chants and rhythm patterns pounded out on a large drum. And don’t let the band member’s age fool you for one minute! They are filled with just as much vibrant energy as ever. To them, African music’s era of the 70s is only just yesterday.
Appearing with OPC, will be SMOD, a popular Malian hip hop band. “African” hip hop that is. Determined to do much more than just copy the original American form of the genre, the group has brought traditional African vocals and rhythmic motifs as well as tons of renewed energy to the mix. They see their version of hip hop as a vehicle through which they can effectively express their views on the impoverished state of their native continent and the governments’ refusal to ease the hardship of their citizens. The group’s leader, DJ Sam, just happens to be the son of none other than the legendary Amadou and Miriam of current international fame. Faithfully honing their craft in practice sessions located on the rooftop of this famous duo’s home, this vocal trio has been rising steadily in popularity, serving as the opening band for such well-known world music names as Salif Keita, Manu Chao, and of course Amadou and Miriam as well as a number of other stars. In fact, none other than super star Manu Chao himself is the producer of SMOD’s latest cd release.
So, come on out to the Brighton Music Hall and catch some of African music’s top acts. How can you possibly go wrong with a ticket that brings you two world renown bands for the price of one?
When: July 20th, Friday @ 9:00 p.m.
Where: Brighton Music Hall (Allston)
More Info: 617-876-4225
Help West African Drumming Star Moussa Traore & Friends Build a New School for the Children of Mali @ the African Rhythms Benenfit Show: March 24th, Saturday @ 7:30 p.m.
Listen to Moussa Traore.
This highly successful annual benefit concert, which features the music and dance of West Africa and the African diaspora, is in its 11th year and still going strong. West African-style music and dance performances showcasing the traditional cultures of Mali, Guinea, and Senegal will be featured. In addition more modern styles of semi-African performance art which involve a blending of various diverse genres will also be highlighted in variations of hip-hop, break dancing, jazz and other forms of Afro-fusion. This years featured performer will be none other than internationally acclaimed djembe artist Moussa Traore, a well-seasoned performer of 30+ years who is currently considered one of the best Malian drummers in the world. He will be leading a drum troupe composed of some of the areas most talented musicians. In addition, there will be a number of local dance groups also performing including, the Teriya Dance Company, Troupe Teranga, the Hip-Hop Mamas, Dance ‘n Feet, and students from the Movement Center (Acton) and the Harvard Academy of Dance who will add a little variety to the cultural mix with some Latin dance moves. All of the proceeds of this event will go to benefit the “Build a School in Africa Project”. This highly dedicated group of volunteers have managed to complete a total of 9 buildings thus far for the benefit of Africa’s impoverished youth.
Moussa Traore’s rise to fame in his homeland of Mali in West Africa started early on when, at the age of 17, he was selected as the permanent representative from his region to lead the local drum troupe into national competition every year. Under his skillful guidance, they manged to win each and every time! After 12 years of rigorous study in the art of djembe playing, he earned himself the distinguished title of Master Drummer and continued to build on his already illustrious national career, excelling as a performer, teacher, recording artist, and musical director. He has since gained an international reputation as well, not only as a djembe virtuoso, but a leading authority on Malian music. In 1994, he was invited to teach and perform as a part of Brown Univerisity’s “African Dance and Music Program”. Now a resident of New England, he continues to perform extensively with his own drumming troupe Timinandi and with other artists, as well, while recording a few CDs along the way. He also teaches classes and conducts workshops throughout the US.
To attend the African Rhythms Benefit Show is a multi-faceted experience to be sure. First and foremost you get to enjoy the world-class performance of Moussa Traore and his ensemble. In addition, you get a taste of what’s happening performance-wise on the local world music scene, including student dance activities who knows, you might be motivated to tryout some of these classes for yourself. Then of course, there’s always the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to the well-being of others on this planet who are less fortunate and in need of a helping hand!
When: March 24th, Saturday @ 7:30 p.m.
Where: Cronin Auditorium (Bromfield School – Harvard, MA)
Tickets: $15.00 (Adults), $5.00 (Students), Free (Children under 4)
More Info: 978-433-2384 OR firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover Nimbaya! Guinea’s Sensational First and Only All-Female Drum and Dance Troupe: February 12th, Sunday @ 3:00 p.m.
Nimbaya is Guinea’s world renowned all-female drum and dance troupe. Formed in 1998 as the Amazones Women Master Drummers of Guinea, they made their bold and daring mark on West African culture by being the first feminine players of the djembe, a role reserved solely for the masculine members of this society since ancient times. Actually, it was none other than artistic director Mamoudou Conde, leader of the country’s most honorable and already well established male drumming ensemble “Les Percussions de Guinea”, who felt strongly that a break in tradition was long overdue. Not afraid to rock the boat, he trained these highly skilled female performing artists to be at the absolute top of their game and presented them to the rest of the world only to see his and their courage soundly rewarded with the acceptance and appreciation of countless numbers of international fans.
The members of Nimbaya have become the truest of world ambassadors, promoting the beauty of their culture with the utmost passion and enthusiasm while at the same time courageously speaking out against those aspects of it that are not so “beautiful” in a dedicated effort to bring about positive change. Not to be overshadowed in any way by their male performance associates, these women perform their own original, highly unique and somewhat modernized version of traditional Guinean performing arts which has proven most effective with audiences of all ages. Their mesmerizing music and dance routines are centered around strong and powerful drum beats which serve as an accompaniment to a series of highly stimulating and often times extremely rapid dance movements.
Nevertheless however, Nimbaya also has an all important social message to convey to the rest of the world. Sadly, women in much of Africa are burdened by a society that refuses to accept them as other than the lowliest of citizens, destined to live a life of struggle and poverty. Recruited solely from such pitiful social ranks, each and every member of this troupe has managed to better their life via an opportunity to develop individual talents into useful skills, an option they would like to see become available to all African women, eventually. The ladies of Nimbaya are staunchly determined to get this worldwide message of hardship and hope across through the heartfelt, personalized stories they tell with great passion through their music and dance.
For over a decade, this highly talented group of feminine African artists has shared and continues to share their performance art and its important social message on a global scale in so many ways. (Career details) Wherever they appear, they are enthusiastically embraced by their audiences. Come to Nimbaya’s performance at Sanders Theatre and you’ll see why.
When: February 12th, Sunday @ 3:00 p.m.
Where: Sanders Theatre (Harvard Square)
Tickets: $22.00 and $28.00
More Info: 617-876-4275
Yet another year has come to a close and yet another installment of the Boston Music Awards is complete. This special ceremony, now in its 24th year, honors one of the most coveted local recognitions among New England’s very top musicians and members of the music trade industry. Nominees and winners are determined by a hand selected academy of over 150 local music aficionados along with the voting general public. So, the International Artist of the Year Award goes to “drum roll” … Mamadou Diop, a world fusion artist well-known for his incredible African drumming technique and rhythm guitar artistry, for which he has developed a reputation as one of the best in the world. A professional performer for over 30 years, Diop is the epitome of multiculturalism, having been named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Art of Living Foundation and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He firmly believes that all aspects of ones daily existence should be centered around a variety of world cultures rather than any single one, no matter what one’s original ethnic origin may be, as each and every one brings its own special value to the over-all quality of life. Undoubtedly, this philosophy ultimately translates into the trademark style of Diop and his band MAMADOU.
MAMADOU’s over-all sound is most heavily characterized by driving Senegalese and other African rhythmic motifs accented melodically by the electric guitar. Added to this basic musical foundation are elements of a number of other diverse styles including high-life, juju, rumba, samba, salsa, and reggae. Aside from leading the band, Diop, originally from Senegal, is also responsible for the group’s original compositions. What he has managed to bring us with the creation of MAMADOU is an extraordinarily popular diversified world fusion ensemble with universal crowd appeal that memorizes audiences with its highly potent rhythms just begging one and all to move their feet and clap their hands in exhilaration.
There were five bands nominated in the international category this year. The other four nominees were Zili Misik (past winner), Debo Band (past winner), Dub Apocalypse (past winner), and Bloco AfroBrazil (past nominee). There were also other world music artists who actually won awards in additional categories including: The Dropkick Murphys (Best Artist of the Year & Best Live Artist of the Year), David Wax Museum (Song of the Year), Esperanza Spalding (Jazz Artist of the Year). Way to go world music artists! Keep the music alive. By the way, it’s also a pretty good bet that you will find some other names of interest in this regard amongst the nominees, if you care to take a peek.
Catch Some “Desert Blues” at Its Very Best as Malian Superstar Vieux Farka Toure Comes to Boston: August 24th, Wednesday @ 9:00 p.m.
Vieux Farka Toure is all the rage in his homeland of Mali and is fast becoming so on the world music scene in the international arena, as well. Hailed by many as the “North African Jimi Hendrix” Toure is currently considered to be a true leader amongst his contemporaries, both as an accomplished Afropop blues guitarist and composer, in fact, so much so that he is set to quite possibly become a virtual legend at his craft. His predominant style is actually a combination of what is known as Desert blues and rock’n roll. The magic formula behind his successful brand of Afropop relies heavily upon a steadfastness to his native Malian music roots as well as an affinity for innovative fusion techniques involving American blues elements and other contemporary African musical touches. It is with great excitement that he collaborates with the highly acclaimed alternative rock guitarist Dave Matthews on his latest release entitled The Secret. What’s more, listeners will once again be treated to the legendary sounds of the great late Ali Farka Toure (Vieux’s father, of course) throughout the recording. Toure claims that this album successfully showcases the progressiveness of his style, as the result of an especially concentrated effort on his part to really “dig deep” into the heart of firmly entrenched Malian roots music traditions while continuing to push the more modernized genre of Afropop forward.
Even though Vieux Farka Toure had already been a rising star on the Afropop scene, it was his performance in front of the mega crowd in attendance at the 2010 World Cup soccer event that really sent his career soaring. Having had the grand fortune of exposure so early on to his father Ali’s blues style, Vieux quickly developed a strong basis from which to develop his very own unique version of blue’s Afropop. He also trained under the tutelage of the great Toumani Diabate, another strong influence, as a percussionist before turning to the guitar. Toure prides himself in being a world music diplomat of sorts, not only by successfully infusing Western music elements into his African-based sound in an effort to unite diverse cultures artistically, but also as a participant in world relief projects, such as the 2010 25th anniversary re-make of the landmark recording “We Are The World”.
This concert in Boston will feature Toure on vocals and guitar along with Mamadou Sidibe on bass, and percussionist Tim Kelper. Also appearing in addition to the trio will be Outspoken and Bongo Love bringing their own special version of spoken-word poetry and Afropop from Zimbabwe to audiences as a part of their “Speak ZimLove Tour”. So, if you’re looking for an evening of fantastic Afropop, just head on out to the Brighton Music Hall on the 24th of August.
When: August 24th, Wednesday @ 9:00 p..m.
Doors open 1 hour before the concert
Where: Brighton Music Hall
Tickets: $20.00 (Online – In advance)
More Info: 617-876-4274 OR 617-779-0140
Take a Trip to Africa and Dance Your Heart Out with Some of Boston’s Best Local African Bands: Every Thursday Evening (8:00 p.m. – Midnight)
Anytime you are in the mood to move and groove to the sweet sounds of Africa, you can just head on over to the Cantab Lounge in Central Square each and every Thursday evening for AfroFunk Night. And what a party this promises to be! You will be treated not only to one, but up to 3 live bands representing music from various regions from all over the continent, without ever having to leave Boston! Furthermore, since the performance roster varies from week to week, you’ll come to know lots ‘n lots of great local talent. What a great way to sample Boston’s local African music scene and have a fun-filled time doing it too, dancing up a storm! Here’s a partial list of some of the event’s past performers:
Helder Tsinine & Kina Zori – Fusion of traditional and contemporary African genres
Galen Willett & Wildlife – Afropop
Tulikuta – Afropop, with emphasis on the music of Senegal, Cameroon, and South Africa
Forces of Nature – Afropop, featuring original compositions by Galen Willett based on styles of North and West Africa
Members of Zili Misik – Global fusion jam-style, featuring music of the African Diaspora
Tarun Balani Collective – African genres blended with jazz
Agbekor Drum and Dance Society – Percussive music of the indigenous Dogomba and Ewe tribes of West Africa
Uyanga – African-American soul music with a new twist
I must say that even though this establishment is definitely not upscale in any way, shape, or form, the regulars seem to enjoy the place regardless, and consider it a fun, informal place to hang out and enjoy the dance floor. And you can do the same, each and every Thursday evening at The Cantab Lounge to some of Boston’s best local African beats.
When: Thursday evenings (8:00 p.m. – Midnight)
Where: The Cantab Lounge (Downstairs @ Club Bohemia)
Admission: $5.00 – $8.00
More Info: 617-354-2685