July 4, 2011 § 2 Comments
To all Americans: Happy Independence Day! The weekend has been great already. I checked out two great concerts in the past few days. And they were all about the beat. First was Sahel, a Washington, DC-based African Diaspora group, playing at Bossa in Adams Morgan for Lunchbox Theory’s Afrobeat for ya Soul. Fronted by Jean Francis Varre, they ran through an infectious mix of music from virtually all over the globe: Samba, Salsa, Reggae, Mbalax, and Zouk. Stewart Bernard II killed that bass guitar; Tosin Aribisala, who has played with Femi Kuti, was amazing on the drums, and Didier Prossaird was all over the keyboards. From their website:
“Sahel is inspired by tradition and dedicated to the progress of music that moves the world.”
Anyone present at Bossa that Thursday night can testify to that! You can catch Sahel again at the Washington, DC Africa Day Festival July 16 at the Takoma Community Center.
It’s a shame that South African best pop export Freshlyground is not very well-known in the US, but on this their first ever American tour that may well change. By the time the show promoter introduced them, the crowd at the Black Cat on
U Street was already roaring their approval; lead singer Zolani Mahola and her crew wasted no time, launching into their popular song “Fire Is Low”, to the clapping accompaniment of the audience. Freshlyground’s die-hard fans were up front, singing along, but by the time the band got to their huge hit “Doo Be Doo,” they had everybody in the crowd waving their hands and chanting. Freshlyground continue their North American tour in Philadelphia, before doing other dates in Canada and California. Afrofusion hopes to have more for you from Freshlyground and Sahel later on, stay tuned! Other upcoming concerts of note: Kassav, pioneers of the zouk sound, will be in DC July 29 for a one-night only show (at the Crossroads), promoted by Kololo Entertainment, the same promoter responsible for Freshlyground’s DC show. Also at Crossroads, Beres Hammond and Wayne Wonder as part of their Cool Out Sundays Concert Series, August 7. See you there! More photos from the Freshlyground and Sahel shows below and on our gallery page. Bless…
- Guadeloupe’s International Zouk Festival (repeatingislands.com)
March 6, 2011 § 3 Comments
On the first anniversary of AFROCUBA, DJ Asho sat down with Afrofusion to talk about how he developed the idea for the event, and how far it has come since the first edition. On Thursday February 10 at Sutra Lounge in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, the event kicked off with a screening of the classic documentary Cuando Los Espiritus Bailan Mambo (When the Spirits Dance Mambo), by Marta Morena Vega. The night also included a live (and lively), very « Read the rest of this entry »
February 8, 2011 § 2 Comments
For Ariel Fernández Díaz, the promulgation of the Afro-Cuban aesthetic is not simply a glamorous enterprise. “It’s naive to me to analyze the present without reviewing the past,” he says in a recent interview. In throwing his monthly parties at Sutra Lounge in Washington, DC his goal is to celebrate the culture of Afro-Cubans “through music, documentary films, and personal interactions.” On Thursday February 10 DJ Asho, as Ariel is known, will host a special edition of AFROCUBA! to celebrate its 1st year anniversary in DC. It’s an integral part of his effort to make sure that the contributions of people of color and the oppressed in the history and culture of Cuba do not get dismissed or ignored. As such, Thursday’s edition « Read the rest of this entry »
November 2, 2010 § 2 Comments
Something to check out if you: 1. Live in the DC area, 2. Love Afrobeat music and, 3. Have always wanted to get your face painted: “Afrobeat 4 ya Soul,” presented by Lunchbox Theory every month! Last week, in honor of Nigerian Afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti‘s October birthday, it was a “Felabration” at Bossa Bistro in Adams Morgan. (I’m still mad I missed September’s event, because Ghanaian hip hop star Blitz the Ambassador reportedly rocked the joint at Liv Nightclub at 11th and U Street!)
October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Who in here remembers State of the Union? On U Street?” asked Lady Pcoq of the audience during an interlude where her group Lady Pcoq & the Plumes was performing at Bossa Bistro in Adams Morgan. I was among a few who raised their hands. Back in the late nineties while shooting a documentary film about poetry and spoken word in Washington, DC, I spent many an evening at joints like State, Kaffa House and Mangos.