Saturday, March 26, 2022

Afropop News and Happenings: Abidjan A New Musical El Dorado, Rokia Koné, Afrobeats Billboard Chart and more

G'day, TheBlackList!

Abidjan: A New Musical El Dorado

In the '70s and '80s Ivory Coast's capital Abidjan was a major musical hub in West Africa. After a series of political crises, Abidjan is back. The zouglou sound of the 1990s and the coupé decalé rage that followed are being reinvented in the era of Afrobeats and African hip-hop. The group Magic System is now invited to play major events in France—including president Macron's election victory party! The group's front man Asalfo has launched an annual music festival in Abidjan, FEMUA. On this program, we attend the festival and hear the sounds and stories of Abidjan's cultural and commercial renaissance.

Produced by Elodie Maillot and Alejandro Van Zandt-Escobar.

All photos courtesy of Elodie Maillot.



It's not r&b--you can certainly be more specific than calling it pop—Billboard is going to sidestep any of those questions about how to classify Afrobeats for American audiences by launching an American chart that tracks the 50 hottest Afrobeats songs in the country on March 29. The chart is a collaboration with the Afro Nation Festival, currently going on in Puerto Rico.

Vieux Farka Touré is back with a new single from his upcoming album. It's rootsier than VFT's recent outings, perhaps because the "Hendrix of the Sahara" returned to his home studio in Bamako to record the upcoming album Les Racines, the title of which translates to "the roots." Anyway, check out this new tune, which features the guitar work of Amadou and Mariam's Amadou Bagayoko.

Speaking of Mali, Rokia Koné gained international attention as a contributor to the genre-bending Les Amazones d'Afrique and now she is stepping into the limelight with Irish producer Jacknife Lee, best known for his work with U2, Taylor Swift, REM and even Neil Diamond. The resulting album, Bamanan, projects a unique, modern sheen, less experimental and more tied to familiar Malian styles than Les Amazones, but nevertheless a bold departure from established formulas. Check out Banning's full write-up on this week's "Fresh Eyre."

AND, we're on the lookout for a new director of new media and operationssee if it's right for you, spread the word or send those applications in to Sean and Banning


Shows Around New York

March 24-27
Samba jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Drizzy's Club
Drummer Duduka da Fonseca (of Trio da Paz), pianist Helio Alves, and vocalist Maucha Adnet are all experts in this music, each of them recognized internationally for expanding the worlds of jazz and Latin music. Two sets a night at 7:30 and 9:30.

Sun., March 27
- Mbira music of Zimbabwe, with an East Village twist.
An afternoon of African music, magical elixers and trancey vibes. Sunday 3/27 4-6 p.m. at Hekate, 167 Ave B (between 10th & 11th Streets).

Thurs., March 31
Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita at Roulette
Cuban piano virtuoso Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora (21-string harp lute) master Seckou Keita, whose collaborations brilliantly embrace jazz, Latin and African influences, celebrate the release of their second album, SUBA. 

Fri., April 1 and Sat., April 2
Ata Kak at Market Hotel and (le) Poisson Rouge (respectively)
Feels like we've been waiting forever for this singular pop talent to perform here--keep an eye out for a certain former Afropopper singing on stage too!

Sat., April 2
Club D'Elf at DROM
The global fusionists are down from Boston to celebrate the release of their new album, You Never Know.
I've heard it; it grooves.

Baile do Brasil at Nublu
Featuring some of Brazil's hottest DJs and singer/songwriter Luciane Dom; popping off at 10 p.m.,it may finally be time for an old-fashioned double bill in the old East Vil!

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Afropop Staff:
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Ben Richmond, Director of New Media and Operations
CC Smith, Editor at Large
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