Yemi Alade: A Mama Africa for the Millennial Generation

August 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

Yemi Alade put on a party of a show at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Fans had started screaming for Nigeria’s music superstar Yemi Alade long before she came onstage at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC, as they endured an extra-long opening set with a multitude of dancers, rappers and singers. When she finally burst onto the stage with her dancers, electrifying the crowd with two of her hit songs “Tangerine” and “Tumbum,” one could not help but conclude that we were witnessing the evolution of a bonafide African music legend. No matter who’s top of the bill, you can always expect a party when an African musician puts on a concert, and Yemi Alade did not disappoint. She engaged the crowd in raucous call and response chants to her songs, and invited several guests onto the stage to participate in a mini dance-off. The 28-year-old singer and songwriter describes her music as “afropolitan,” or “Afro-highlife, a meld of Afrobeat, R&B, pop, and highlife.” Before her DC show, Yemi Alade sat down with « Read the rest of this entry »

Powerful Tribute to Diaspora Women at The AfroLatino Festival NYC 2017

July 15, 2017 § 3 Comments

Amara La Negra performs at the AfroLatino Festival NYC July 8

It was a powerful tribute to Diaspora women at the 5th edition of the AfroLatino Festival NYC, and it couldn’t have been done at a more important time, as they have essentially been the backbone – as well as at the forefront – of the struggle for basic human rights and justice. At a time when the very existence of AfroLatinos and other Afrodescendientes is still questioned, spaces and events like this two-day festival are vital to the survival and evolution of Diaspora and Afrolatino communities. The festivities started at the historic Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem, with a AfroLatin Talks symposium and a Liberación Film Festival. Afro-Peruvian singer/songwriter Susanna Baca received « Read the rest of this entry »

Protoje talks Reggae with Afrofusion TV

June 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

Protoje performs at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

A couple of years ago when Prince made that statement at the Grammys, “Like books and  Black Lives, albums still matter,” he might as well have been making reference to reggae star Protoje, whose 2015 album Ancient Future is definitely one of the best reggae albums from Jamaica in quite some time. In a world of mixtapes and leaked tracks, Protoje has led a new wave of reggae artists who are creating some really innovative and inspirational music, with Protoje and his Indiggnation Collective, already putting out three and half albums since 2011. In what is really a growing but tight community of creative artists, the movement dubbed reggae revival by author and activist Dutty Bookman has led to some stellar collaborations between musicians like Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah 9, Chronixx, and others. One of the most popular – “Who Knows,” by Protoje featuring Chronixx appears on Ancient Future; the song has become a staple at « Read the rest of this entry »

Reggae Forever: Etana talks to Afrofusion TV

June 15, 2017 § Leave a comment

 

Etana belts out a song during her live performance at the Hamilton DC

Reggae singer and songwriter Etana swung through Washington, DC on June 11th to perform live at the Hamilton DC, and graciously made time to chat with us at Afrofusion TV. As she prepares to release her fifth studio album, the Jamaican singer born Shauna McKenzie is on a whirlwind road show dubbed the “Reggae Forever Tour,” taking her inspirational and uplifting songs to the masses worldwide. As is the case with a number of artists associated with the movement, Etana is a bit wary of the “reggae revival” label, and gave a very measured and thoughtful response in our interview.

Etana performs at the Hamilton DC on her “Reggae Forever” tour.

« Read the rest of this entry »

The 4/20 Chronixx “Chronology” Show

April 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

Chronixx at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD

The first single off his soon-to-be released debut album Chronology, “Likes,” has Chronixx warning us about the superficiality of social media hype. But, it’s evident that the most prominent artist at the forefront of the reggae revival has also made very smart use of social media to steadily grow his worldwide fan base. That – together with his critically acclaimed EP Dread and Terrible, the announcement of his Chronology tour, and his February appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show – has made his new disc one of the most eagerly anticipated reggae debut albums. We first heard of Chronixx back when we interviewed the man who coined the term “reggae revival,” author, culture activist and DJ Dutty Bookman. Naturally, seeing Chronixx and his band

Chronixx goes airborne during his performance in Silver Spring, MD

Zincfence Redemption live in concert on April 20 was a must, and although we were not able to interview the artist this time, we can share some photos and a (cell phone) video clip from his show. Fellow Jamaican artist Kelissa, who is also « Read the rest of this entry »

Bodoma Garifuna at the Afro-Latino Festival NYC 2015

July 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

Bodoma Garifuna perform their traditional Garifuna music and dance at the the Afro-Latino Festival NYC

Bodoma Garifuna performs their traditional Garifuna music and dance at the the Afro-Latino Festival NYC

It was the first time the Afro-Latino Festival NYC 2015 had been held over a three-day period, but it was just as well, because Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn were all a part of a joyous coming together of Latin Americans celebrating the diversity of Afrodescendente culture. Afrofusion TV made it to Brooklyn on the last day of the festival to capture some scenes for our upcoming segment on Afro-Latino identity, and we were pleased to find a group from Honduras called Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band on the billing. Our interest in the Garifuna goes beyond what we need for our African Diaspora series, though. I’ve always been interested in learning more about Garifuna, a group descended from West and Central Africans, Island Carib, and Arawak peoples that live mostly in the Central American coastal areas of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua. Diaspora Garifuna communities can « Read the rest of this entry »

A Bunny Mack Retrospective: Sierra Leone’s Music Icon

July 15, 2015 § 2 Comments

"Let Me Love You" single cover

“Let Me Love You” single cover

Let’s just be honest: “Let Me Love You (My Sweetie)” by Bunny Mack has one of the funkiest bass lines ever laid down on a dance track. Composed by Bunny Mack (producer Akie Deen shares writing credits on the song as well), it was a continuation of a style of music he had developed with Deen, where he fused disco with calypso, African and funk grooves. “Let Me Love You (My Sweetie)” became one of the biggest African releases; it made the British pop charts in early 1980, reaching Number 76, and cracked the top 10 dance chart there, where it stayed for about 4 weeks. With its slamming bass line and infectious chorus, the melodic tune became a dance classic throughout the African diaspora, generating in the process a certain confusion about who sang it and which country it originated from. Play it for virtually anyone from the African diaspora, and the odds are that they have either partied to it, or played it themselves if they are DJs. When an African American friend asked me excitedly a few years back if I had heard “this new African song” as she put it, and sang “Let Me Love You,” I had to patiently inform her it’s old, but it’s a classic, and that’s why it seems new.

Bunny Mack with Akie Deen (Photo credit:Sewa News)

Bunny Mack with Sierra Leonean music producer Akie Deen

It has been a few decades now, but I do remember well when Bunny Mack was interviewed by a radio show host back in either late ’79 or early ’80s Sierra Leone. This was fascinating to me because I had never really considered Sierra Leone music in terms of solo artists. We had a bunch of semi-successful bands with decent hits, like Afro National, Sabanoh 75 and Supercombo, and each had solid musicians that were very talented in their own right. But the last really « Read the rest of this entry »

Donisha Prendergast on the Occupy Pinnacle Movement

May 30, 2014 § 4 Comments

Donisha Prendergast speaks at a screening of the documentary "RasTa: A Soul's Journey" at the Roots Public Charter School

Donisha Prendergast speaks after a screening of the documentary “RasTa: A Soul’s Journey” at the Roots Public Charter School

At the Roots Public Charter School in Northwest Washington, DC late last month, Donisha Prendergast was talking passionately about a growing movement in Jamaica that has become central to her activism efforts. The occasion was really a screening of the film, RasTa: A Soul’s Journey, in which she seeks out the truth about the history of Rastafarians and their influence throughout the world. But amidst the colorful red, gold and green hats and scarves, and the Ethiopian and Jamaican foods on display at Roots, was an awareness that something serious is happening that needs the attention of all conscious people. And so Donisha, who happens to be the granddaughter of Rita and Bob Marley, spent a chunk of time talking about what is going on in Pinnacle; indeed, she has become one of the faces of the Occupy Pinnacle movement, an effort to reclaim hundreds of acres of land in the hills of « Read the rest of this entry »

Decoding The Expats : Wayna’s Interview with Afrofusion TV

March 27, 2014 § Leave a comment


I don’t know if it matters that Ethiopian American singer/songwriter Wayna‘s sophomore album Higher Ground is high on a list of top 25 most slept-on soul albums of the last decade. After all it’s common knowledge that to hear really good soul music, hip hop, or R&B you have to hunt for it. Mercifully we didn’t

Wayna performs at U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC, Nov. 2013

Wayna performs at U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC, Nov. 2013

have to go searching for The Expats, her third and latest album; we had a delicious preview two days before its release at a U Street Music Hall show last November, where the Grammy nominated singer joined two other DC based artists Wes Felton and Asheru for a “Triple Threat” performance promoted by Munch’s Hedrush Music. Fusing her soul sound with elements of afrobeat, alt rock, reggae, indian music, and hip hop, Wayna does with The Expats what she deals with day-to-day – navigating that « Read the rest of this entry »

Dutty Bookman on the Reggae Revival Movement

December 9, 2013 § 12 Comments


Since returning from one of the world’s largest reggae festivals – the Rototom – in Spain this past August, Jamaican author and cultural activist Dutty Bookman has been more encouraged to spread the vibes of the new reggae revival. He was invited to speak at the “Reggae University” there about the new consciousness in reggae music, the return to the message of Rastafari and Pan Africanism, and to the live, organic sound  that has been the hallmark of roots reggae. There was so much to cover when Dutty sat down with Afrofusion TV to talk about his passion for the Reggae Revival. His book Tried and True: Revelations of a Rebellious Youth,  published in 2011, was kind of the springboard for his involvement in the « Read the rest of this entry »

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