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April at CIIS Public Programs & Performances: Karsh Kale, Fatoumata Diawara & Tinariwen

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 10, 2014 05:48pm | Post a Comment

April is going to be a stellar month for world music as CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music bring you three great shows! Start spring off right with Karsh Kale: Classical Science Fiction on April 11th and follow it up with the Mali Weekend Festival, which features Fatoumata Diawara on April 18th and Tinariwen on April 19th at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

Karsh Kale is known as a pioneer in the world of global fusion. His career has gone through many karsh kaleavatars over the past 15 years as he jumps between being a world renowned tabla player, drummer, DJ/ remix artist, vocalist and multi instrumentalist, film composer, as well as a band leader all with equal ease. He has produced five solo albums of which his most recent, CINEMA,  won the best fusion album award in India at the GIMA (Global Indian Music Awards) in 2012 and debuted at #1 on the Itunes World Music charts. Karsh Kale has also developed a reputation as a genre-bending collaborator, which has led him to work with some of the most renowned artists from around the globe including his musical hero Zakir Hussain, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Herbie Hancock, Sting, Anoushka Shankar, Lenny Kravitz, DJ Spooky, and many many others. He was recently invited to perform at the White House and was introduced by President Obama himself. Find out more about Karsh Kale: Classical Science Fiction on April 11th HERE and get tickets HERE!

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CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music Present Habib Koite

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 15, 2014 07:25pm | Post a Comment

CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present one of Africa's most popular and habib koiterecognized musicians, Habib Koite, on Saturday, February 1st at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

Koite has gained a strong fan base by integrating the rock and folk sounds of the Western world without watering down his cherished Malian roots. Called "Mali's biggest pop star" by Rolling Stone (in an article in which Bonnie Raitt compared Habib to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn), Koite has also received raves from People, Entertainment Weekly, and the New York Times.

Habib Koite was born in 1958 in Thies, a Senegalese town situated on the railway line connecting Dakar to Niger, where his father worked on constructing the tracks. He descends from a line of griots, traditional African troubadours. Koite grew up surrounded by seventeen brothers and sisters, and developed his unique guitar style accompanying his griot mother. He inherited his passion for music from his paternal grandfather, who played the kamele n'goni, a traditional four-stringed instrument associated with hunters from the Wassolou region of Mali.

Koite takes some unique approaches to playing the guitar. He tunes his instrument to the pentatonic scale and plays on open strings as on a kamale n'goni. At other times Koite plays music that sounds closer to the blues or flamenco. His singing style is restrained and intimate with varying cadenced rhythms and melodies. Koite is unique because he brings together different styles, creating a new pan-Malian approach that reflects his open-minded interest in all types of music.

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People Power in the Maghreb - Celebrating the Culture of the Maghreb and the Possible Awakening of Democracy

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 15, 2011 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Map of Maghreb
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Maghreb

The term Maghreb comes from Arabic المغرب العربي (meaning "place of sunset") and, as a foreign term is disliked by some of the region's indigenous Berbers, many who prefer "Tamazgha." However, as "Maghreb" is much more widely used internationally, I'm using it here, without meaning to offend. On the same note, many Berbers also don't like the term "Berber," as it comes from the Greek bárbaros or "barbarian." Many prefer a variant of "Imazighen" but no one term is agreed upon by the the Tuareg, Moors, and other Berber people so, similarly, I'll use "Berber" in this entry for the sake of familiarity.


Berber family

 

In the Maghreb, press freedom is almost nonexistent. Mauritania, which enjoys the highest Press Freedom rating, comes in at 95 out of 178 according to Reporters sans frontières. State-sanctioned coverage of political unrest in the region is usually restricted to demonstrations against Israeli apartheid or the occupation's supporters. But recently, a wave of protests against Maghrebi's own corrupt governments threatens to bring progressive political change to the region, one of the least democratic on Earth. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Mauritania is also the most democratic state in the region, scoring 3.86 on a scale of 1 to 10 (115th out of 167 countries). By comparison, the United States scores 8.18 and ranks 17th. 

Out of Africa - Austro-Melanesian History, Culture and Music

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 1, 2010 12:00pm | Post a Comment
Once upon a time, one or two hundred thousand years ago or so, anatomically human beings appeared on the scene in Africa. About 60,000 years ago, there may have been as many as 5,000 people living on the planet. A number, possibly around 150, decided to cross the Red Sea... following the lead of their cousins, Homo erectus, who'd decided to look for new real estate some 2 million years earlier.

Homo Erectus
Homo Erectus couple
 

The humans traveled along the Arabian coast and, once arriving in South Asia, decided to settle down for a while. Over thousands of years, physical differences would develop in humans that spread from this population; lighter skin allowed for the absorption of Vitamin D3 as people moved into less sunny climes. Nowadays we usually call these descendants Asians and white people. But the people that moved on through Southeast Asia to Australia don't have a name nearly as recognized. To my ears, Australoid sounds so clunky... does the "oid" suffix ever sound good? Some of the more widely used terms in their respective cultures include the vague "black," "negrito" and "aborigine." I'm going to stick with Austro-Melanesian (or Australo-Melanesian) for now... If that catches on, maybe future generations will shorten it to AMs, Ausmels or something catchier. But for now, I'd merely like to focus on both the diversity and solidarity of these various peoples.

South(ern) Africa's Indigenous People and their Culture Presented in Music and Film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2010 12:16pm | Post a Comment

bushmen babies in botswana

Dusty Bushmen toddlers

I'm not a big spectator of sports (or player of them, for that matter) but it seems that events like The World Cup and The Olympics are often used to spotlight various aspects of the host country's culture. I did read one such article about South Africa in National Geographic but I haven't seen anything during the current cup about tSan Bushman womanhe indigenous population. OK, so maybe there aren't any bushmen on the pitch or in the stands but... well, I don't care... I started the blog entry a while ago and I'm just trying to make it relevant whilst South Africa's on our collective minds -- especially since Bafana Bafana appear to be on their way out of the cup (except as hosts) unless something miraculous happens.

 

A BIT ABOUT TERMINOLOGY

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