The January 9th fire in the Bronx killed 17 people and displaced hundreds of building residents. Nearly all of the victims were of Gambian or West African descent, a community that had coalesced in the high-rise building, as a Jan. 12 New York Times story outlined. They are Afropop's neighbors and part of our community and their living situations are now even more tenuous—staying with relatives or in hotels while the fate of their homes is being decided. If you have the resources and feel so moved, the Mayor's office is running a relief fund to raise money to support victims of the event.
Drew Gonsalves is the Trinidad-born, Toronto-based leader of the calypso band Kobo Town. You could consider them a revival band, because they play the music in the live, swinging, pre-soca style. But that's not the whole story. Gonsalves is a fine composer with a stinging wit and deep insights into the human experience—a key element in classic calypso. Afropop's Banning Eyre reached Gonsalves by Zoom to talk about his life and Kobo Town's new album, Carnival of the Ghosts.
Afrofuturists rejoice: Marshall Allen, the 97-year-old bandleader of the Sun Ra Arkestra, made an album of classic Sun Ra tunes, among others, in a small ensemble, led by Tyler Mitchell, the Arkestra's bassist back in the mid '80s. The first song is out now.
Afropop Worldwide has just received the globalFEST Impact Award. "This award goes to an organization that has earned respect and praise from the global music community for their outstanding commitment to the field. This year's recipient is Afropop Worldwide (Sean Barlow, Georges Collinet, and Banning Eyre). Afropop debuted on public radio in 1988. Thirty-four years later, the core team is still at it, having survived wars, recessions, political upheavals and a pandemic, continuing to aid, advise, and mentor artists, producers, writers, filmmakers, presenters, and colleagues in countless endeavors supporting and promoting global music," globalFest announced.
Speaking of globalFEST....
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