Recent Posts in world music
March 5, 2014
Omar Souleyman at BV-CMJ 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Syrian pop singer Omar Souleyman, who recently put out a Four Tet-produced album and whose live shows are always a party, will return to North America this June to play Bonnaroo, NXNE, and Brooklyn's just-announced Northside Festival. His Northside show happens on June 13 at Glasslands. Tickets for that show are on sale now, or you can try to get in with your Northside badge.
All Omar Souleyman dates are listed, with a video, below...
February 20, 2014
This album celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the making of our first album Living Like a Refugee. Since that first album we've lived a life that once seemed unimaginable; we have toured the world, released more albums, and shared our music with thousands upon thousands of friends and fans. But while we keep rolling we never forget our roots. So this is our musical libation - an offering - to celebrate the blessings that our music has brought to us, to pay respect to the spirits of the musical brothers we have lost along the way, and to pay tribute to Mama Salone - the country whose culture, traditions, and rhythms infuse our music and fill our souls with pride.Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars (literally a band of refugees from Sierra Lone) will release their fourth album, Libation, on March 18 via Cumbancha. It was produced by Chris Velan who also did the band's debut, and mixed by Iestyn Polson, who's worked with David Bowie, Patti Smith and others. You can listen to two of its tracks, "Gbaenyama" and "Rich But Poor," along with a sampler of the whole album, below.
The band will also be going on a tour in April and May which brings them to NYC on April 5 at Apollo Theater. That show is part of the second edition of AFRICA NOW!, "the weekend festival spotlighting today's African music scene." Also playing is Mali's Fatoumata Diawara and Senegal's Les Frères Guissé. Tickets are on sale now. More details on the weekend's events here.
All dates are listed, along with those streams, below...
January 9, 2014
by Andrew Sacher
"The first half of us made it to NYC. Waiting for the rest!!! Loving the weather ;-)" - KiT
There are plenty of bands that have tried to do the "traditional music remixed with electronica" thing and truthfully, many of them kind of suck. But KiT pulls it off extremely well, with a zero-cheese approach and an electronic sound that manages to be organic, raw and heavy all at once. The band's most recent single is "Jackhammer," featuring a bubbling beat with Dutch house synths, baile funk-influenced drum fills and dancehall vocals, and it could easily become the global bass hit of the summer. [MTV Iggy]KiT (aka Kuenta i Tambú) hail from Curaçao and the mix the traditional Caribbean music style Tambu with modern day electronic styles resulting in what they call "tambutronic." Their recent single "Jackhammer" does this in a super fun way, and like the review quoted above opines, does so "with a zero-cheese approach." Watch its video below.
KiT are in NYC this week to play globalFEST at Webster Hall on Sunday (1/12) with a ton of different performers from around the world (sold out), but you can catch part of the group much sooner than that. They'll DJ with live vocals in Brooklyn at Baby's All Right TONIGHT (1/9) with Cookies and Tropic of Pisces. Show starts at 9 and they go on around midnight.
UPDATE: Check out a picture from the Baby's All Right show!
December 17, 2013
Tinariwen at Austin Psych Fest 2013 (more by Tim Griffin)
Malian band Tinariwen have announced that they'll release a new album, Emmaar, on February 11 via ANTI-, who also released their last album, 2011's Tassili. Like Tassili, which featured contributions from Nels Cline, members of TV on the Radio, and others, Emmaar will feature popular-music guests including Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Zwan), Saul Williams and others. It's being produced by Vance Powell, who often works with Jack White. You can watch a video for "Toumast Tincha" off the upcoming album, below.
Following the album's release, Tinariwen will head out on a US tour that brings them to SXSW for their first time and NYC for two shows at Brooklyn Bowl on 3/23 & 3/24. Tickets for those shows are not on sale yet, but you can check Ticketfly for updates.
All dates are listed, along with the video, below...
December 9, 2013
Blog-turned label Awesome Tapes From Africa had a top-drawer 2013, releasing Penny Penny's legendary 1994 South African deep house album Shaka Bundu, plus the muggy grooves of Dur-Dur Band's 1985 Volume 5 LP. Standout by a league, though, was this enchanting one-man-band collection from 1985. Anyone who's fallen for Mulatu Astaqué's languid Ethio-jazz simply has to hear this, stet. Using multi-tracked electric piano, accordion and analogue synth, [Hailu] Mergia makes serpentine Ethiopian jazz, but trades in the usual folk instruments for big fat beefy synth leads. Comfort food, prime for scoffing.The above quote is from FACT's 50 best reissues of 2013, where Ethiopian one-man-band Hailu Mergia came in at #5 for his 1985 album Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument, which Awesome Tapes From Africa reissued earlier this year. Pitchfork gave the reissue a 7.4 and called it "not quite like anything else you've ever heard." Hailu recently spoke to Aquarium Drunkard about the recording process:
AD: But Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument is a different sort of album. You did everything yourself, a home-studio type project?You can stream a track from the album, "Shilela," below, and the album is available to purchase in vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
Hailu Mergia: Yeah, that's right. So what I did was I chose the old songs with accordion, and I put accordion as a lead. Then I put a Rhodes piano, an electric Rhodes piano. Fender. And then I put a Moog synthesizer and a drum machine. The drum machine was like, at that time in 1980's like a kind of new fashion. And then the rest, old fashioned. So what I did, for remainder of my life, accordion was like a really important instrument in my life before I changed to organ. So people, usually they love accordion sound, and when the organ came to Ethiopia, all of a sudden, the accordion sound was missed by everybody. So when I brought in this new mix of these different instruments, the sound is good, the sound is modern and old fashioned. The melodies are very nice melodies, so because of this, everybody had some kind of.... nostalgia.
Hailu Mergia will be coming to NYC this month to play a show at Baby's All Right on December 19 with his band Low Mentality and openers Highlife. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Song stream below...
November 1, 2013
Abigail Washburn in Central Park in 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
NYC's annual world music festival globalFEST (not to be confused with Central Park's Global Citizen Festival) returns in 2014 at Webster Hall on January 12. Performers include (descriptions via globalFEST's site):
* Afropolitan rumba rapper Baloji (Congo/Belgium)Some of these artists will be making their NY debuts at this show, and though The Wu-Force (Abigail Washburn, Kai Welch, and Wu Fei) is one of those artists, it's certainly not the first time in NY for Abigail Washburn, who has played NYC multiple times, once with Kai Welch. For this new trio, Abigail & co. make what they're calling "Kungfu-Appalachian-Indie-Folk-Rock." You can stream some demos for the new band below.
* Technicolor Bollywood big-band pop band The Bombay Royale (India/Australia)
* Infectious Jamaican single-string guitarist Brushy One String (Jamaica)
* Soulful A cappella gospel trio Como Mamas (Mississippi)
* Subversive Ukrainian punk-folk band DakhaBrakha (Ukraine)
* Blazing Gypsy brass legends Fanfare Ciocarlia (Romania)
* North African Gnawa trance master Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco/NY)
* Dutch-Antillean global bass dance beats group KiT (Kuenta i Tambu) (Curacao/Netherlands)
* Mauritanian Desert soul singer Noura Mint Seymali (Mauritania)
* Mambo mexicano and indie cumbia group Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta (Arizona)
* Appalachian-Chinese avant-folk group The Wu-Force (feat. Abigail Washburn, Kai Welch, and Wu Fei)
* Post modern Parisian pop via Beirut underground artist Yasmine Hamdan (Beirut/Paris)
Tickets to globalFEST 2014 go on sale today (11/1) at noon.
Song streams below...
October 22, 2013
If Fela Kuti was a child of James Brown, fellow Nigerian William Onyeabor is something like the next-generation musical offspring of Parliament-Funkadelic. His songs are extended call-and-response disco-funk jams driven by the space-age sound of synthesizers and drum machines -- very new tools when Onyeabor was recording in the late '70s and '80s, especially in Africa. After years of existing mainly as secret grail passed between electronic music DJs and other crate diggers, Onyeabor's handful of studio LPs have been licensed and boiled down to a killer compilation by Luaka Bop, the tastemaking world music label started by David Byrne.The above text is quoted from NPR, where you can head now for a full album stream of Who Is William Onyeabor?, the compilation of Nigerian cult-funk singer William Onyeabor's music which comes out on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label next week (10/29). The Guardian also just did a feature video on him, and mentioned that Four Tet, Caribou, and Damon Albarn are all fans.
So who IS William Onyeabor? Part of the album's conceit is that even the compilers don't fully know. The liner notes, by veteran British journalist Vivien Goldman, note that Onyeabor is a crowned chief in his hometown village of Enugu, Eastern Nigeria, where he lives in "a hidden palace in the woods" and is a booster of the local Christian music scene. But he essentially left his own music career in the '80s, in the wake of the recordings collected here, presumably when he became a born-again Christian.
Luaka Bop will be teaming up with OkayAfrica to celebrate with the release with some parties worldwide, including one in Brooklyn happening on Saturday (10/26) at Buka Nigerian Restaurant (945 Fulton St), plus an afterparty down the block at Doris (1088 Fulton St). There will be DJ sets from Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Lizzi Bougatsos (Gang Gang Dance), and Tim Koh (Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti). RSVP for all parties is open now. The full list of parties and the flyer are below.
All William Onyeabor party dates are listed, along with trailer videos for the album and parties, plus the flyer, below...
October 17, 2013
by Andrew Sacher
Omar Souleyman @ Le Poisson Rouge - 10/16/13 (via @linyeezy)
Syrian pop singer Omar Souleyman is in NYC for CMJ for this week, and he just played the NPR showcase at Le Poisson Rouge last night (10/16), which also featured sets from rapper Pusha T, indie pop band Cults, and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest). Did you go to the show? How was it? For those who weren't in attendance, NPR streamed the whole thing live, and they'll be hosting an archive of the full show soon, so stay tuned for that.
Omar Souleyman's only other CMJ show is the BrooklynVegan day party on Friday (10/18) (happening a venue to be announced VERY soon) with The Head and the Heart (acoustic), Speedy Ortiz, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Hookworms, Eagulls, and Kirin J Callinan. The party runs from noon to 6 PM and Omar's on at 4:15. It's totally FREE (no badge, no RSVP), and we hope to see you there! More info here. Right after CMJ, Omar begins a European tour (Pitchfork Paris included), and all dates on that tour are listed below.
The tour and his CMJ appearances are in support of his new album, Wenu Wenu, which comes out next week (10/22) via Domino affiliate Ribbon Music. The record was produced entirely by electronic wizard Four Tet (who also just dropped his own album), who gives it a sharper edge than some of Omar's earlier work but without changing his sound or Westernizing it. You can stream the full album at NPR.
All dates are listed, along with a stream of the album's title track and a live video, below...
September 10, 2013
As mentioned, legendary Malian blues artist Sidi Toure is going on a tour this fall, which already includes one NYC date happening on October 5 at BAM Cafe, but now he's added a sooner NYC show to his schedule. This one is happening at Highline Ballroom on September 27. Tickets to that show are on sale now. Updated dates, most of which are with Cedric Watson, are listed below.
Toure is touring in anticipation of his new record, Alafia, due out on Thrill Jockey next week (9/17). You can stream his latest single, "Ay Hora," along with the updated list of tour dates and a video, below...
August 30, 2013
by Andrew Sacher
SIdi Toure is the legendary blues singer/guitarist from Mali who has been making music in his home country for decades and finally began gaining worldwide recognition in recent years. His newest album, Alafia, will be released by Thrill Jockey Records on September 17, and its first single "Ay Hora" is out now. Whether or not "Malian blues" is a phrase that often enters your vocabulary, this is good stuff and you should check it out below.
Sidi will be touring North America around the time of the new album's release, and that tour brings him to NYC for a show on October 5 at BAM Cafe. No ticket info for that show are the moment.
All dates are listed, along with the song stream and LP tracklist, below...