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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dobet Gnahoré: Na Drê

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The oral tradition of the griots can be traced back to the 13th century in the vast West African Mande Empire of Mali, which included what is now the Ivory Coast. They are an essential cultural trait of the region, heralded as messengers of praise and visionaries of the future. Dobet Gnahoré, a native of the Ivory Coast, is a descendant of the griots and daughter of a master percussionist. She was trained and immersed in artistic rituals from an early age, and her singing symbolizes her life in Africa. Gnahoré composed all the lyrics, for Na Drê , presenting ...

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South Africa at the South Bank

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The Dedication Orchestra and Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya The South Bank Centre London Jazz Festival November 15, 2014 The London Jazz Festival is now in its twenty-second year. It's a vast, sprawling event and its venues criss-cross a city that never quite seems to end, whilst its musical styles span the globe from the USA to Australia and from South Africa to Norway. Saturday 15th November saw South Africa in two distinctly different guises at the South Bank Centre. I've been coming here since 1969 and, for me, its position on the ...

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Abdullah Ibrahim at Zankel Hall

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Theron Shaw: Gumbo Caribe

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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 ...

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Fatoumata Diawara at Nourse Theater

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim: Mukashi (Once upon a time)

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abdullah Ibrahim: African Piano

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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 ...



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