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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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Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis: Phoenix, AZ, June 18, 2013

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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 ...

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Bassekou Kouyate / Tamikrest / Sidi Toure: London, January 26, 2013

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Bassekou Kouyate / Tamikrest / Sidi ToureBarbicanLondonJanuary 26, 2013Ten days earlier, the vibe at this Malian package show--billed as Sahara Soul--would likely have been jumpy rather than joyful. The northern half of Mali seemed secure in the hands of Islamist invaders, who were intent on destroying the region's indigenous music and culture and poised to move south and take the Malian capital, Bamako.But, on January 26, 2013, the mood onstage at the Barbican was unmistakably celebratory. Following intervention by the French military, the Islamists had been driven north and a combined French and ...



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