Celebrating African Hip Hop at the Kennedy Center

July 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Maimouna Youssef performs with her band at the Kennedy Center

At the Kennedy Center July 12, it was an evening that music site Okayafrica called a celebration of hip hop’s new African renaissance. As part of the 10th Anniversary of the Hip Hop Theatre Festival, the show started with a “warm up” dance class led by Zimbabwean dancer Rujeko Zumbutshena (Fela!) to prep the audience for the rest of the night. She guided a fairly sizable group through hip-hop and African dance moves. Local rap star Tabi Bonney was the host of the show, and introduced Baltimore native Maimouna Youssef, an amazing grammy-nominated singer, MC and poet. Youssef got the crowd on its feet, taking them through an energetic mix of African infused hip hop and soul,

Tabi Bonney hosted the show

including a funkified Miriam Makeba cover. Tabi Bonney – himself of Togolese origin – then performed a few tracks of his own, with his imaginative music videos playing on the large screen behind him. Rounding out the diasporic experience: New York-based Sierra Leone hip hop group Bajah + the DryEye Crew, clad in green, white and blue variations of their country’s national colors. Fans can catch Maimouna Youssef in Atlanta July 30 at Spelman College together with Farafina Kan. Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are about to play some dates in the UK, including a WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) appearance. Check out a quick featurette from CNN on Bajah, courtesy of Okayafrica. Stay tuned to Afrofusion for more on Tabi Bonney, Maimouna Youssef and Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew! Bless…

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