Saturday, April 2, 2022

From Nashville to Nairobi: Country Music in Kenya

Howdy, TheBlackList!

From Nashville to Nairobi:
A History of Country Music in Kenya

In this episode, we trace the history of country music in Kenya, dating back to the 1920s and '30s when local populations first heard Jimmie Rodgers on early country-western 78 records, to the current day, where the clubs of Nairobi are filled with rising stars bringing their own unique sounds to country music. Hear their takes on the hits of Don Williams, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and more. Tune in for an interview and performance from Kenyan country singer Steve Rogers, radio and tv presenters Catherine Ndonye and David Kimitho, music historian Elijah Wald, and Olvido Records founder Gordon Ashworth.

Produced by Brandi Howell.



If you like African guitar work, bright melodies and fleet, complicated percussion, have we got a recommendation for you. Antologia Vol. 1 is the tantalizingly titled new compilation of tunes from África Negra, one of the widest-traveling and biggest bands--both in terms of popularity and number of members—from São Tome and Príncipe. Hear it here, read the review and "STP" will never mean "Stone Temple Pilots" to you again.

What does it take to lure listeners out of their comfort zone to experience the musical sensibility of another culture? Obviously there's no one answer, but perhaps the biggest obstacle is language. So one solution is to simply sideline vocals and develop a predominantly instrumental aesthetic. Two American bands have taken that approach and ran with it, creating largely instrumental repertoires that combine African and oriental music traditions with original composition, arranging and a unifying jazz sensibility. Club D'Elf out of Boston draws, among other things, on Morocco's Gnawa music of healing and trance. The Afro-Zen Allstars of Richmond, VA, finds its deepest well of inspiration in Ethio jazz. Both groups have excellent new albums that Banning Eyre is here to review 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

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!

Sun., April 3
Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber at Carnegie Hall
Afro-futurism outfit founded by the Village Voice's Greg Tate,
a recently departed icon in the famed Carnegie Hall. 

April 5-6
Weedie Braimah and the Hands of Time
at The Blue Note
With sets at 8 and 10:30 pm and special guest Oteil Burbridge

Thurs., April 7
Les Filles De Illighadad at Symphony Space
The last time these Nigeriennes were in town,
it turned into a whole live album, so don't miss this!

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Afropop Staff:
Sean Barlow, Executive Producer
Banning Eyre, Senior Editor
Michael Jones, Chief Audio Engineer (
Ben Richmond, Director of New Media and Operations
CC Smith, Editor at Large
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