Friday, April 30, 2010

Giant Panda and The Superpowers Tonight at The Mercury Lounge

If you're in NYC and looking to catch two tight bands, check out Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and The Superpowers tonight at The Mercury Lounge. Giant Panda is a road-tested veteran crew of musicians who've made a name for themselves all over the country for their laid back but tight grooves. The Superpowers are an equally experienced group of musicians that are capable of kicking out some serious afrobeat jams. Definitely a show not to miss.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Africa Africa Africa Mixtape

If you've never heard of DJ Underdog, it's about time you have. He's known for inciting afro-influenced dance parties in the Metro-Atlantic region, contributing to a multi-cultural health conscious blog, as well as putting out legendary mixtapes. Africa Africa Africa, is his latest, and having heard it for the first time today, it doesn't disappoint.
<a href="">KARIZMA-SADE REALLY LOVES U by Lunchbox Theory</a>

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Afro-Dub Sessions @ Rose Live Music-This Saturday Night

If you can find your way to Brooklyn this Saturday night, you will forever regret not coming to this party. I'll be on the decks at Rose Live Music along with Brian Shimkovitz from Awesome Tapes From Africa, and resident SLF selectors DJ Linh, DJ Q Mastah, and DJ Lil' Tiger. NY's finest live Afro-Dub collective, Super Hi-Fi, will be hitting the stage. For lovers of African music, this is a night not to be missed.

Zozo Afrobeat Speaks out Against Mugabe

Zozo Afrobeat, a NY afrobeat ensemble led by Egypt 80 vet and Akoya frontman Kaleta, have released a new video calling out Robert Mugabe for his crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe. Zozo will be throwin down this Friday night at Zebulon in Williamsburg. Having seen Zozo several times, I can vouch for their ability to make people dance. Check the video:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Album Review: Madlib Medicine Show No. 3: Beat Konducta in Africa-Madlib

Madlib, one of the most distinctively inventive DJ-producers on the planet, has given African music fans a gift. Madlib Medicine Show No. 3: Beat Konducta in Africa, out March 23, 2010 on Stonesthrow Records, is a 44-track masterpiece that draws on a variety of African musical styles from different corners of the continent. Listening to this album is like watching a documentary about Africa in an acid dream.

Madlib uses his characteristically smooth production style to create a transformational soundscape. Almost every track on the album is under two minutes. The grooves are tight and catchy, but they change frequently and don’t always segue easily. Madlib uses the regular changes of pace to his advantage, however, incorporating a wide variety of samples and cuts. It’s almost as if he has musical ADD, changing styles and rhythms every two minutes and cramming as much into every track as possible.

The running commentary from a 1950’s documentary sounding voice sets the mood throughout the album. Madlib seeks to introduce people to the African continent and the diversity of sounds therein. He functions as a musical tour guide, exposing listeners to sounds and influences even avid African music fans will find enlightening.

Madlib has created something that is entirely new and original, yet pays homage to a plethora of established African musical styles. Some tracks are smooth and refined almost like mainstream hip-hop beats, while others are rough and ragged like putting on an old record you found in your uncle’s basement.

Whether you love African music, or simply respect the wizardry of Madlib, this album is totally worth exploring. It will broaden your horizons and make you re-examine conventional hip-hop beats at the same time. Hip-hop wouldn’t be possible without Africa, and Madlib exemplifies exactly how and why.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kora Afrobeat Remix Contest

Akwaaba, the fair trade record label doing the most to expose popular African musical styles from every corner of the continent, is throwing a remix contest. Jali Bakary Konteh, a Gambian Kora player, is releasing one of his tracks here. The best remix will be selected and released by Akwaaba. Try your hand at using the album as inspiration for your own creation.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vieux Farka Touré April US Tour

Vieux Farka Touré has evolved from a young talented African musician into an established star in the international music community. He's on the bill for the July World Cup Celebration Concert along with BLK JKS, Angelique Kidjo, Amadou and Mariam, Parlotones, South African legend Vusi Mahlasela, Tinariwen, The Black Eyed Peas, Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, and Shakira. He's touring the US this April playing fourteen dates in sixteen days. If you've never seen Vieux in concert before, definitely take advantage of the opportunity:

Check out the interview I did with Vieux in July of 2008

4/11/10 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt
4/12/10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Rex Theater
4/13/10 – Cleveland, OH - The Grog Shop
4/14/10 – Cleveland, OH – Case Western
4/15/10 – Chicago, IL – Martyrs
4/15/10 – Chicago, IL – Center For Inner City Studies
4/17/10 – St. Louis, MO - Billiken @ St Louis University
4/20/10 – Hattiesburg, MS – Thirsty Hippo
4/21/10 – Tallahassee, FL – Engine Room
4/22/10 – Athens, GA - New Earth Music Festival
4/23/10 – St. Petersburg (Tampa), FL – State Theater
4/24/10 – Miami, FL - Transatlantic Festival @ North Beach Bandshell
4/26/10 – Washington, DC – DC9
4/27/10 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge

2000 Got to Be Black

The Black Power! EP Part 2: 2000 Got to be Black from Yogstar on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Afrofunky Tomorrow Night

Brooklyn's Afrofunkiest Dance Party is going down tomorrow night at Cameo in Williamsburg. Hosts Zongo Junction are joined by The People's Champions, The Drumadics, and DJ Offbeat this month. $5 before 10pm, $7 after. If you're in BK and looking for some Afrofunky flavor, you'll be sure to find it here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Album Review: Seahorse and The Storyteller-Michael Leonhart and the Avramina 7

Seahorse and The Storyteller, the new album from Micheal Leonhart and Avramina 7 out April 20, 2010 on Truth and Soul Records, is far and away one of the most interesting albums I’ve heard in a long time. The impressive musicianship, the tight rhythms, and the diverse instrumentation all make this album extremely unique.

Michael Leonhart is a veteran musician who has performed with an impressive roster of musicians from A Tribe Called Quest to Yoko Ono. At age 17, he became the youngest person to win a Grammy in the award’s history. His work as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger has gained him various accolades and awards since.

On Seahorse and The Storyteller, Michael Leonhart has recruited an all-star roster of musicians, mostly veterans of the Brooklyn-Daptone scene including Luke O’Malley, Binky Griptite, Tommy Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss, Nick Movshon, Stuart Bogie, Dave Guy, and Mike Williams. If you’re a fan of bands like Budos Band, Antibalas, The Dap-Kings, Superhuman Happiness, or any of the other musicians responsible for the tight funky sound emanating out of Brooklyn these days, I guarantee you will dig this album.

From start to finish, this is a concept album. The lyrics are abstract, and the mood is other-worldly. A wide array of influences and sounds are combined to foster a trademark energy and vibe. While on the road with Steely Dan in 2005, Leonhart came up with the idea to record a concept record that would meld the styles of Bollywood funk scores, 60's psychedelic rock, and the mythical storytelling of artists like the Beatles and Donovan. Seahorse and The Storyteller is a modern kaleidoscope opera that in the words of Leonhart, "tells the story of two mythical creatures who meet, fall in love and begin piecing together the mysteries of each other’s past."

Listening to this album is like riding in a time-travelling space ship bouncing from Bollywood to Abbey Road to Brooklyn. While the lyrics might freak you out a bit, the funky grooves and tight horns will definitely make you dance. This is an album definitely worth checking out. It gives new meaning to the word unique.