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 »

Rage Against the Nigerian Machine

September 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

There was a moment of silence held in his memory at the Crossroads Nightclub in Maryland, I remember, on the day it was announced that Fela had passed away. I remembered all I had heard about his struggles with the Nigerian Government, his imprisonment, the music, and of course, the revolutionary lyrics.

Zombie Album Cover

His song “Zombie” (1976) makes a mockery of the Nigerian military and police. Fela’s volatile relationship with the Nigerian authorities came to a head in 1977 when his Kalakuta Republic was stormed by soldiers and burned to the ground. Fela’s mother was thrown from a window by soldiers and she went into coma from which she never recovered, dying about eight weeks later. (His song “Sorrow, Tears and Blood” is about that horrendous experience.) Many thought the music he pioneered – Afrobeat – would fade out. Well, Afrobeat lovers, rejoice! Brand new reissues of Fela’s music have been released this past week by Knitting Factory Records. They have announced a Digital Package with immediate downloads of 11 of his releases between 1976 and 1980. Called the Zombie Batch, it is the third reissue so far of their periodic releases of the Nigerian musician’s work. I found this out on Boing Boing, (with Alt Sounds and Lime Wire Blog also reporting it) and the blog includes a free download of the classic Fela hit after which the reissue is named – Zombie. You can check out the Fela page on Knitting Factory Records here to buy the digital downloads. There is also a CD + Digital Download Package, and a Deluxe Package. Titles on the set include the aforementioned “Zombie,” “Sorrow Tears and Blood,” “Music of Many Colors” (with Roy Ayers), and “Shuffering and Shmiling.” The next group of reissues are scheduled for later this year. Bless…

Refugee Mash Up

September 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

I haven’t met that many celebrities that are singers/recording artists, but I can say for certain that I’ve never met a more down-to-earth group of artists like the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars. To promote their new album (CD, I guess, if you were born after the ’80s) Rise & Shine, they have embarked on a multi-city US tour, which brought them back to DC and the Zanzibar Nightclub on Friday 10th September. Maybe it’s because they are so in love with what they do, but they spare little time to reflect on their international status as one of Africa’s premier musical ambassadors. “How do you know my name?” Reuben Koroma, the lead songwriter, asked me this in genuine surprise when I dropped in on their sound check session. Maturity might have something to do with it, too. Black Nature is the youngest member of that group (and probably the only one with two earrings), but he comes off as grounded and dedicated to his craft as his older band mates. They put a heavy emphasis on playing live instruments, something many artists from Sierra Leone are just not doing. And that’s why they sounded so good later on that night as they got down to serious jamming, a session which included songs from their previous album like Soda Soap and Living Like a Refugee. You can find more photos from that night on the gallery page. And, of course, AFROfusion TV will bring you a preview clip from the show – coming soon! Bless….

Afrofusion

August 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Welcome, cool people!! In the Afrofusion Lounge, here’s what you’re going to find: The latest info on tours by the hottest African and West Indian musicians. The most current trends in African fashion, from the most progressive designers on the continent and in the Diaspora. Cutting edge developments in art from Africa’s most promising and established artists. The most intriguing cultural and social trends amongst Africans in the Diaspora and on the Continent. Exciting news in the world of African and Caribbean sports and entertainment. All this will also be part of Afro Fusion TV, a new web television series whose episodes will be streamed on this blog. So stay tuned, we’re going to roll it all out… soon!

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