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Three New African Albums You Need To Hear

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 7, 2017 06:04pm | Post a Comment

by Michael Henning

Here is a special spotlight on three excellent new African albums that were recently released. Each of them is available at all three of Amoeba Music's stores and on Amoeba.com.

Tony Allen, The SourceTony Allen - The Source (Blue Note)

Tony Allen was the drummer and musical director for Fela Kuti's Africa '70 from 1969-1979, a decade that saw the prolific ensemble release an almost unbelievable 32 albums, including all of their strongest material. He is responsible for inventing the signature Afrobeat rhythm and sound, and contributed his unique brand of propulsive percussion to masterpieces such as Shakara, Roforofo Fight, Zombie, He Miss Road, Up Side Down,Yellow Fever, Kalakuta Show, No Agreement, Opposite People, along with several others. Very little live footage exists of Tony Allen leading Fela'a group, but this 1978 performance from Germany is a high-quality glimpse at what a formidable live band they were at the height of their powers.

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Akounak: Purple Rain in the Sahara at Oakland's Starline Social Club, September 9

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 21, 2017 05:42pm | Post a Comment

Akounak: Purple Rain, Mdou Moctar

The MATATU performance series presents Akounak: Purple Rain in the Sahara on Saturday, Akounak: Purple Rain, Mdou MoctarSeptember 9th at 7:30pm at Oakland's Starline Social Club. Nigerien musician Mdou Moctar and his band perform following a screening of his film Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, also known as the Tuareg Purple Rain! A director's talk follows with filmmaker Chris Kirkley, plus the La Pelanga dance party!

In the somewhat crowded scene of Tuareg guitarists, Mdou Moctar stands apart from his peers. One of the few original singer/songwriters willing to experiment and push the boundaries of the genre, his unconventional styles have won him accolades both in Niger and abroad.

Mdou Moctar hails from Abalak, in the Azawagh desert of Niger. He taught himself the guitar at a young age on a homemade instrument. Inspired by returning Ishumar, Mdou traveled the road to Libya where he traveled and worked odd jobs. As chance had, he would meet some of the now famous guitarists and further his musical studies. He returned home with a guitar and a dream.

Rising to the status as local celebrity, in 2008 he traveled to Nigeria to record his first album Anar – a psychedelic electronic album of Tuareg guitar, which became an instant success throughout the mp3 networks of West Africa. “Tahoultine,” one of the standout tracks, was later featured on the compilation Music from Saharan Cellphones.

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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. 

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