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 »

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 »

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 »

DC Artists Wayna and Wes Felton hold CD Release Show, hosted by Asheru

November 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Promoted by DJ Munch’s Hedrush, Grammy-nominated Ethiopian born artist Wayna and another DC local Wes Felton are both celebrating their new album releases at the U Street Music Hall on Sunday November 10. Hosted by longtime DC hip hop artist Asheru (Unspoken Heard, Boondocks intro), the show is sure to bring out the creme de la creme of the DC indie soul and hip hop scenes. Wayna’s

Wayna (courtesy Wayna's Facebook page)

Wayna (courtesy Wayna’s Facebook page)

new release, “The Expats,” has been described as “brilliant” by none other than the Washington Post; she got the Grammy nod for her cover of the Minnie Riperton classic “Loving You,” back in 2009. “Imagine the Future” is Wes Felton’s new effort, produced by Kenny Allen, another local artist. Asheru himself is about to drop his new full length release, “Sleepless in Soweto.” Sounds like its going to be a great Veterans Day weekend in the District of Columbia. If you’re going be in DC, don’t miss this fantastic offering. Bless…

Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers Crossed Tour” Hits DC

September 29, 2013 § 2 Comments

Reggae Icon Jimmy Cliff in his element at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Reggae Icon Jimmy Cliff in his element at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Jimmy Cliff kicked off the show on the nyabinghi drum

Jimmy Cliff kicked off the show on the nyabinghi drum

Who knew that Wonderful World, Beautiful People was inspired by a trip Jimmy Cliff made to Brazil? Or that Cat Stevens, who wrote the original Wild World, actually helped produce Jimmy Cliff’s version, which went on to become a top ten UK hit? These are some of the gems that have come from the grammy-winning rock and roll hall of fame inductee as he winds up his “Many Rivers Crossed Tour,” playing mostly classic hits and telling the stories behind them. At the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC, the 65 year-old Jimmy Cliff’s energy was truly on show, from the first nyabinghi drum beat to the last strum of his Schecter Electric guitar. He left the stage four times, only to be cajoled back by chants of “Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!” The tour coincides with the 40th Anniversary of the US release of The Harder They Come, the movie in which he played the lead role of Ivan, a “rude boy” and aspiring singer. Apart from the title track, Cliff also contributed three « Read the rest of this entry »

Blitz the Ambassador’s Afropolitan Dreams Block Party

May 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

Blitz the Ambassador goes airborne during his performance in Brooklyn, NY

Blitz the Ambassador goes airborne during his performance in Brooklyn, NY

What could beat a free block party in Brooklyn, New York thrown by Blitz the Ambassador and featuring French duo Les Nubians, with a film screening of the Sundance hit Restless City, a picnic, and a live DJ on a May weekend afternoon? Not much else, we figured; tack on a chance to nab an interview with Blitz, and off we went! Boy was it worth it. The Ghanaian born hip hop artist has been called the future of African music, and together with his live band he KILLED it at Fulton Park last Saturday May 4th. His brand of music is infused with Afrobeat and highlife influences, and his live performance in itself is just sheer irrepressible energy. The rest of his band seemed like they were ready to rip off the suits they « Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Hugh Masekela on Songs of Migration and Heritage Restoration

October 25, 2012 § 2 Comments

Hugh Masekela and Sibongile Khumalo (Photos courtesy Kennedy Center)

Listening to Hugh Masekela speak on art, music and politics would make you think he is the eternal pessimist. But that would be only when it comes to politics. The 73 year-old trumpeter, composer and singer recently performed Songs of Migration at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC together with Sibongile Khumalo and a cast of singers, dancers and musicians. He took a moment to sit down with Kwame Fitzjohn from The African World on MHz to rap about his new show, politics, mines in South Africa, and what he optimistically calls “Heritage Restoration.” Songs of Migration, produced by Sibojama Theatre and directed by James Ngcobo, is Masekela’s tribute to late 19th century migrants from all over Africa heading to work in Johannesburg’s mines. Backed by a five-piece band, it is an effervescent display of song, dance « Read the rest of this entry »

A Ziggy Marley Love Fest at Washington, DC’s Howard Theatre

June 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ziggy Marley performs at the newly renovated historic Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Ziggy Marley, the eldest son of reggae icon Bob Marley, is on a Wild and Free Tour through the USA and Canada. And on Wednesday June 13, the five-time Grammy Award winner lit up the stage at Washington, DC’s historic Howard Theatre with a mix of songs from his own repertoire and a sprinkling of his father’s classics. The tour takes the name of his latest studio album, which was released last June, and features guest appearances from the late Heavy D and Ziggy’s own son Daniel. Media were given a three-song limit of time to shoot photos and video; I arrived late but managed to squeeze off a few shots « Read the rest of this entry »

Loide: Cool Notes From an Afrolusophone Chanteuse

August 16, 2011 § 3 Comments

Loide belts out Afrolusophone jazz at Bohemian Caverns

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 »

Shattering The Silence: Benefit for the 1st World Summit of African Descendants

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

At the start of the year, the United Nations pronounced 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. In recognition of the resilience and power of African Descendants all over the world, the US International Coordinating Committee for the 1st World Summit of African Descendants is holding a benefit concert Friday July 15 at Bloombars in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC. This concert aims to raise funds for those who cannot afford the cost of travel to La Ceiba, Honduras where the summit will be held from August 18-21 2011. Some of the artists performing will be DC Casineros, a duo from African diaspora group Sahel, DC Mambo, and Vicky Leyva. Afro-Cuban painter Lazaro Batista will also showcase his art. Bloombars is at 3222 11th Street NW. The show starts at 9:00pm. Check out a quick preview above featuring DC Mambo, Lazaro Batista and Adrian Valdivia from DC Casineros. For more information check out the summit website here. Bless…

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