Afropop wishes to acknowledge the suffering of southern Africans in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in the aftermath of cyclone Freddy. This week's show we uncover the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation's (MBC) recorded goldmine of local music in the 1960s and '70s. Tapes were neglected and close to ruined when broadcaster Waliko Makhala raised the alarm. With help from the Norwegian embassy and Norwegian broadcaster Sigbjorn Nedland, digitization got underway. In this program, we sample the results guided by Waliko, Sigbjorn and Martin White, curator of AfricanPoems, a website dedicated to preserving poetry from around the continent. Listen to the show and check out the feature written and produced by Martin White.
In Celebration of Women´s Month Keturah: A New Voice From Malawi
This week's Afropop program focuses on Malawi, a country currently reeling from the wrath of tropical cyclone Freddy. Malawi has been scarce on the international music scene. The band called The Very Best, featuring Esau Mwamwaya, has been a welcome exception, most recently collaborating on Baaba Maal's 2023 album, Being. The archival recordings featured on our program Saving the Malawi Tapes offers a window into the country's rich musical past, and our 2021 podcast "The Rise of Hip-Hop in Malawi" fills in more recent developments in youth music.
This year, we're hearing from a new Malawian talent with a more organic sound. Keturah, now 27 years-old, came to the attention of the Jacaranda Foundation, a Malawian school for AIDS orphans and its cultural center, and she was instantly recognized as a unique talent. Fast forward to July, 2022, when Keturah found herself outside Malawi for the first time in her life, in California, working with members of the global music collective Playing for Change led by Mark Johnson. The first single, "Kwanumkwanu," drops today, and here's a video of the Playing for Change Band accompanying Keturah on the song in Mark Johnson's house!
Sylvain Leroux Visits L'ecole Fula Flute in Guinea
Sylvain Leroux is a New York-based musician and bandleader who plays multiple instruments but specializes in the Fula flute of Guinea. He's been traveling to that West African country to study literally for decades. But in 2013, he became involved in an ambitious local project, a school aimed at teaching young Guineans traditional music. L'ecole Fula Flute has lived a storied life, moving locations, recruiting talent and raising money, and it has turned out a number of talented musicians. In early 2023, Sylvain returned to continue his own research and work with the school, and to connect with old friends. Here's his report on the journey.
The Passing of Legendary Congolese Guitarist Lokassa Ya Mbongo
We are sad to report the death of the legendary Congolese guitarist Lokassa Ya Mbongo. After a star-studded career with Tabu Ley and Afrisa International, the Soukous Stars and other greats, he based himself in the United States and accompanied any number of Congolese luminaries on tour. This image was shot by Banning Eyre when the Soukous Stars played in Dakar, Senegal, in 1992 on a bill with Salif Keita. We send our deep condolences to Lokassa's family, friends, fellow musicians and fans.
Banning Eyre and The Toyin Falola Interviews
Please join Banning Eyre for a conversation this Sunday, March 19 via Zoom, Facebook and Youtube with the renowned Nigerian songwriter, music composer, and band leader, Olusegun Akinlolu (Beautiful Nubia). The following links are to join the conversation via Zoom or watch it on Facebook or YouTube this Sunday, March 19 at 5:00 P.M. Nigeria // 4:00 P.M. GMT // 11:00 A.M. Austin TX, CST. We will also stream it on Afropop´s Facebook page. See you there!
Events in New York
Tues., March 18, Doors: 7 p.m. Show time: 7:30 p.m. World Music Institute presents Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Masters of African Music Series Kaufmann Concert Hall, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. Tickets and Information
Sat., March 25, Doors: 7 p.m. Show time: 8 p.m. Amadou & Miriam (Le) Poisson Rouge 158 Bleecker Street 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