OK, I think they need to come up with a better title, but the California-based team at Kanaga System Krush is putting together a musical documentary that looks amazing. Coming out sometime in 2014?
Music in Mali includes visual snippets from artists, including the Grammy nominated Bassekou Kouyate, Djeli Mady Tounkara, Grammy award winning Toumani Diabate, his brother Madou Sidiki Diabate, and many more. The film also features some the the last visual recordings of Legendary Malian musicians like Lobi Traoré, Zani Diabate, and Mangala Camara.
Among the iconic images to emerge from the “Arab Spring” was a YouTube video of a stylish young Tunisian woman singing a capella, surrounded by chanting demonstrators during the final weeks of President Ben Ali’s regime. The singer was Emel Mathlouthi and in the video she sings her signature song, “Kelmti Horra” (My Word is Free).
Local phenom Meklit Hadero has just released a live album called “The Nile Project,” and it is fantastic.
In January 2013, the Nile Project brought together 18 musicians from Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt to experiment with a collaborative creative process that would last 10 days. Each musician brought 2 songs. In the morning, we taught one another our respective musical languages. In the afternoon, we played musical chairs in duos, trios, and quartets. On the 5th day, we played our songs for one another. The puzzle was all there. Four days later, we had our first live performance at the Aswan Cultural Palace, and it rocked! Everything was recorded. After a few months in the mixing and mastering process, the Nile Project live album is here!
I am always on the lookout for live Ethiopian music in the Bay Area, which seems a relative rarity, despite the large community of Ethiopians living here. I’ve been hooked on the stuff since listening to the Ethiopiques albums over the last few years.
Get out and hear some music this month. A couple local favorites have upcoming gigs.
Baba Babá Ken Okulolo and the Afro-Groove Connexion play Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center in Berkeley this Saturday, December 8 at 9 pm. Really, is there a better place in the Bay Area to shake your booty?
We are throwing a house party to raise funds for The Dokotoro Project, to translate and publish the book “Where There Is No Doctor” in Bambara, a national language of Mali, West Africa. It is the world’s most widely used guidebook for community health, published by the Hesperian Foundation in Berkeley. We’re celebrating the completion of our first two chapters at a friend’s beautiful home in the Berkeley Hills. It also a fundraiser, as we need funds to keep paying our professional translators and editors in Mali.
We’ll be featuring a DJ playing African classics, and live music by Karamo Susso from The Gambia, master of the kora, a 21-stringed African harp. More surprises TBA! More details and RSVP below.
Join us to celebrate the completion of our first two chapters at a launch party hosted at a beautiful home in the Berkeley Hills. Fantastic bay views, crisp autumn air, great company, live kora music and delicious West African food and drinks.
Great young African/hip-hop artist coming to Bimbo’s 365 on November 16. Remember this song from the World Cup a couple of years ago?
His new album, “Country, God, or the Girl,” is K’NAAN’s first full-length work since his multi-platinum global smash single, “Wavin’ Flag.” After a remixed version of the song was selected as Coca-Cola’s theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign, the song reached #1 on iTunes in 18 countries around the world.
“Waving Flag’ made me more confident in how I approach music,” says K’NAAN. “No one believed that song could reach so many people or become such a phenomenon, which made me doubt myself a bit, because I really thought it could touch people. So now any reaction to a song of mine doesn’t bother me, because I think it’s more likely that people really do hear it the way I’m hearing it.”
The enormous success of the single opened up countless doors for K’NAAN, as reflected by the caliber and range of guests who appear on Country, God Or The Girl, from Nas on “Nothing to Lose” to Bono on “Bulletproof Pride,” plus appearances by Will.I.Am, Keith Richards, and B.O.B. But it was the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, which traveled to 86 countries, that the singer claims made the greatest impact on his music.