Abdullah Ibrahim Zankel Hall Ubuntu: Music And Arts Of South Africa New York, NY October 17, 2014 Ubuntu. It's one little six-letter word that carries a world of meaning within its frame. The term itself, roughly translated to mean I am because you are," took root as a philosophy for black youth liberation in the '40s and '50s, but over time, ubuntu has taken on a life beyond a specific movement. It's a word that, while broad in scope, has clear implications tied to its use in South African history and culture: it's ...read more
Theron Shaw is well known in local music circles as the go-to man for guitar support ranging from jazz to calypso. His two previous releases signalled a willingness to engage with native cultural mores and tackle Caribbean Jazz not only as a way to tropicalise" harmonically complex original music, but as a way to validate and valorise calypsoes, ethnic music and folk songs in a surprisingly new context. With his third release on CD, Gumbo Caribe, Shaw almost exclusively utilises the talents of a cadre of Boston-based Berklee College of Music faculty and alumni to expand the thematic influences beyond ...read more
Fatoumata Diawara Nourse Theater Mali Fest San Francisco, CA April 18, 2014 A buzz was in the air among those assembled at San Francisco's Nourse Theater for the first night of Mali Fest, a set of two concerts which featured two distinct acts. This initial evening headlined the multitalented singer, songwriter, musician and actress Fatoumata Diawara. Born in the Ivory Coast but raised in Mali (where her family belongs to the royal caste), Diawara plays guitar, sings, acts in films and resides in France. A vocalist who has toured with the legendary Malian singer ...read more
Japan and South Africa were never so close. The acclaimed pianist and flautist Abdullah Ibrahim fused the Asian zen calmness with stories and inspiration from his native homeland in his latest album Mukashi. Mukashi translates in Japanese as Once upon a time" is a very appropriate title considering Ibrahim's impressive storytelling skills, as well as the visual evocations of the record. Krotoa" is one of the most interesting tracks of the album and it is split in three. Krotoa is the name of a 17th Century Cape Town young girl from the tribe of the Khoikhoi ...read more
Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett are widely thought to have represented ECM Records' initial solo piano forays with Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1 & 2 (1971/1972) and Facing You (1972), respectively, but a lesser-known recording from 1969, unreleased until 1973 on ECM's sister label, JAPO, could be considered its true first. Originally released under Dollar Brand's birth surname as the South African pianist had yet to convert to Islam and become Abdullah Ibrahim, African Piano's reissue as part of ECM's Re:solutions series is now attributed to Ibrahim on the cover, though the liner notes inside remain--somewhat confusingly for those not in ...read more
Meet Landry:Landry moved to northern California in 2013 and recorded his first album, The Bayou--a musical marriage between American Jazz and African Soul. The album is a collection of songs that explore themes of triumph and sorrow. The vocal delivery is vulnerable and emotional. The emotion was inspired by years of inner struggles living in the closet as a gay man. Landry chose The Bayou experience as a gateway to finally be authentic with himself and the rest of the world. Inspired by the peace he found while recording the album, Landry went on to dedicate The Bayou ...read more
Hugh Masekela and Larry WillisMusical Instrument MuseumPhoenix, AZJune 18, 2013A duo concert by flugelhorn master Hugh Masekela and pianist Larry Willis was billed as a salute to The Great American Songbook, but the performance offered as much storytelling as music. Masekela's endearing persona emerged as he related jazz history and his own life path, eliciting gentle laughter from the audience, many of whom may have known of him only from his 1960s pop-jazz hits Up, Up and Away" and Grazing in the Grass."The 74-year-old South African and the 70-year-old American had met as ...read more
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