August 16, 2011 § 3 Comments
When I think of Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde I invariably
think of Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel and Amilcar Cabral. Phrases like A luta continua, and the heat of the revolutionary struggles in Portuguese controlled Africa come to mind. But on a late July night at the Bohemian Caverns in Washington, DC the cool, jazzy sounds of Loide’s music turned them into places of love and longing as she transported us back to where her roots lie. Loide was born in France with both Mozambican and Guinea-Bissau heritage, and then raised in California. That rich, diverse background filters through her music; she sings in Portuguese and English with influences ranging from Sarah Vaughn and Miriam Makeba, to Sade and Cesaria Evora. On that night in July it « Read the rest of this entry »
December 28, 2010 § 3 Comments
Roots reggae band Morgan Heritage is the latest in a long list of artists from the Diaspora to play concerts in Africa this year, and for reggae fans in Sierra Leone their performance will cap a 2010 that’s been quite a treat! First it was Akon’s concert earlier in the year. Then superstar Jimmy Cliff shuttled in to do the ECOWAS Peace Pageant; he had barely said “see ya” when Beenie Man hit the stage as part of his own multi-nation tour. And now it seems that fans could not even wait for Morgan Heritage’s scheduled main event at the National Stadium on December 28; a special request was made of them to perform a private show at the « Read the rest of this entry »
December 21, 2010 § 5 Comments
It was an exciting fusion of African fashion and music Saturday night December 18, as BCBG Productions put on a great show for the African Diaspora at their 5th Anniversary party. It all went down at Cafe Asia in downtown Washington, DC, featuring hot young design duo Côté Minou and Zouk recording artist Kaysha. Côté Minou kicked off the party with 12 models showing off part of their winter collection, then Kaysha took the stage performing a few songs from his latest album “Works of Art,” as well as his popular hits like “On Dit Quoi.” Maryanne Mokoko and Stephanie Mouapi, the ladies behind Côté Minou, have « Read the rest of this entry »
December 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
By the time young pop singer Di’Ja opened the set with a new song “Private Show,” from her upcoming album, the crowd was ready to get down. The show that was billed as a DC Diaspora Thanksgiving event lived up to its Diaspora name simply by virtue of the performing lineup. Di’Ja has Sierra Leonean, Nigerian and Lebanese ancestry, Levelz is from Nigeria, and US-born Phil Ade is from Nigerian and Grenadian stock. But even though Di’Ja amply warmed up the masses with her catchy pop « Read the rest of this entry »
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.
October 16, 2010 § 11 Comments
I know who to go to for lessons in time management: David Vandy, the host of the international radio show “African Beat” on the Voice of America. David is also a playwright, theater actor and director, and somehow finds time to host and MC various events in the DC area. On Sunday October 17, his Sierra Theatre Productions will perform a play he wrote and is directing – “The Long Awaited Return-The Beginning” – at the Anacostia Museum in Southeast Washington, DC.
October 7, 2010 § 2 Comments
It was a wee bit nippy last night as patrons huddled next to each other in the long line outside Crossroads Nightclub and Restaurant. But just as I suspected, most of them were probably die-hard fans of Gyptian, the Jamaican reggae artist who was scheduled to perform live there in a couple of hours. The show was a special treat to the regular crowd of Crossroads’ “Liquid Wednesdays” staple, but tonight, Gyptian pulled out much more than just the college base. Read More
September 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
Promised to bring you a quick preview of what AFROfusion TV was up to at Zanzibar on the Waterfront in Washington, DC when Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars came into town on tour… You can check it out below! Thanks to super concert and artist promoter Raymond “Juju” Paris for facilitating it all! We arrived just as they were getting ready to do their soundcheck. Their tour manager Alex was gracious enough to allow our cameras extensive access. And Reuben and his bandmates were patient enough to sit down with us for a chit-chat – even though they were hungry as heck (they had been promised some good rice and cassava leaves by Juju.) We will have much more on the concert, including some of what we spoke about with Diamond Saj, who opened the show. AFROfusion host Khadia has already revealed more photos from the night in a previous post. Stay tuned, it’s all coming soon…
- Slideshow: Surprising beauty amidst struggle in Sierra Leone (thegrio.com)
- Sierra Leone native now excels in Bronx (nypost.com)
September 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
Honestly I didn’t know much about the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars before Wednesday when I was told that I would be interviewing them. But after preparing for their interview I was very excited to meet all of them. They truly exceeded my expectations, I had a lot of fun backstage with them! They are truly inspiring, they have come a long way. They are proof that you must never give up and you must SMILE, through all circumstances. I think their success is attributed to how humble they are!! If you are not familiar with them you should take a chance to read a little about their history. They have been on Oprah and MTV.
It was also a pleasant surprise to get the opportunity to interview and meet Diamond Saj who I had heard all about from the youth while in Sierra Leone. I hope through the pictures you can get a small sense of how much fun we all had. If you have an opportunity to go and watch any of them make sure to take it! They were very impressive on stage! I couldn’t help but dance! I have become a fan of both the SLRAS and Diamond Saj (previously known as Daddy Saj).
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….
- Tribute to a Reggae Legend (wholefoodsmarket.com)
- Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars – 2010 Tour Dates (brooklynvegan.com)