In this episode producers Lollise Mbi and Morgan Greenstreet take us to Botswana to hear the diverse and fruitful local scene that includes traditional choirs, hip-hop and kwaito, r&b and jazz, and even heavy metal. While the biggest star in the country, Franco, packs stadiums with his Congolese-derived Setswana kwassa kwassa, Vee Mampeezy, Charma Gal and a host of aspiring stars champion a distinctly local fusion called house kwassa: a mix of rumba guitars, house beats and kwaito vocals. In this program we hear from Kabelo Mogwe of the popular cultural troupe Culture Spears; hip-hop star Jujuboy; the metal band Skinflint; Afro soul singer Mpho Sebina, and reformed house kwassa badboy Mingo Touch. We also head to a midnight recording session with young producer Zolasko and singer Naisi Boy and learn the insides of the Botswana music video industry with videographer Jack Bohloko.
"The Africa Festival builds bridges and brings us closer to African cultures," Würzburg Mayor Christian Schuchardt told Deutsche Welle News in 2019. "In turbulent political times such as these, this is more important than ever." Ron Deutsch shares details of the four-day festival that took place May 26-29 along Germany's Main River in a large park within the city and stretched the length of four or five blocks. This year the focus of the festival was "Strong Women in African Music." Of the 16 bands that performed, 13 were led by women, including Angolan Lucia de Carvalho, Senegalese-French chanteuse Awa Ly, Béninoise star Fafa Ruffino, Zanzibarian Siti Amina Omar [all of the above will be featured in interviews on the website shortly], as well as Angelique Kidjo, Nkulee Dube (daughter of reggae legend Lucky Dube), Cape Verdean diva Lura and Cameroonian Valérie Ekoumé. Check it out!
The thrust of this year's Africa Festival in Würzburg, Germany was "Strong Women in African Music," and they truly delivered a line-up of superb and diverse performers to prove their claim. One such performer who had the difficult job to play ahead of the ever-strong Angelique Kidjo was Awa Ly. Ly was born and raised in Paris, France of Senegalese parents. She moved to Rome, Italy just over 20 years ago to do a six-month internship to further her studies in international business, but wound up staying. Encouraged by friends, Ly began going to open-mic jam sessions which eventually led to her meeting Italian musician/producer Massimo Giangrande, who produced her first album, Modulated, in 2009, and continued their musical collaboration for many years after. Ly also toured the world, singing with Italian singer/songwriter Pino Daniele in 2013, then releasing a self-titled EP, in 2014 which she made through a crowd-funding effort. Ron Deutsch briefly talked with Ly after her set.
Events Around New York
Fri., June 17, 7-10 p.m. Screening: SUMMER OF SOUL (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) / "Say Their Names" with Poet Gold, Suprina & Sounds of Heritage DJ Boogie B Marcus Garvey Park, New York, NY Tickets and Information
Thurs., June 18, 11 p.m. Sun., June 19, 4 p.m. Reggae Fest NYC Dancehall vs. Soca at HK Hall Stage 48, NYC Tickets and Information
Afropop Staff: Sean Barlow, Executive Producer Banning Eyre, Senior Editor Michael Jones, Chief Audio Engineer (jonesaudio.com) Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe, Director of New Media and Operations CC Smith, Editor at Large