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Mdou Moctar: Tuareg Acid Western Film & Desert Blues Performance, May 24

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 10, 2018 08:38pm | Post a Comment

Zerzura

The MATATU performance series presents Mdou Moctar: Tuareg Acid Western Film & Desert Blues Performance on Thursday, May 24 at 7:30pm at Oakland's Starline Social Club. The night pairs Zerzura, a feature-length film shot in the Sahara desert starring an entirely African cast, followed by a live performance featuring Nigerien musician Mdou Moctar and the film's star Ahmoudou Madassane. Tickets are available now HERE!

Zerzura is a folktale transposed into an acid western, a collaborative achievement - written and developed with a Tuareg cast, and shot in and around Agadez, Niger. Once an important stop for trans-Saharan camel caravans, it has today reestablished itself as a hub of movement, but for different reasons. Migrants from all over the continent pause here on their trek North, bound for mythic cities in Europe. Tales of riches in the desert abound, and men sell their houses for gold detectors. Young Tuareg leave home to seek their fortune in the fractured Libyan state. As people leave, their stories return, becoming wildly exaggerated versions of truth.

Taking its cues from the ethno-fiction proposed by Jean Rouch, Zerzura mixes folktales with documentary to explore Saharan dreams and imagination. The film was developed and written collaboratively on site with a local team. The images were shot over the subsequent two weeks with a cast of non-actors in improvised performances. Stylistically, Zerzura exists between cultures, an attempt at transcultural cinema. Narrated throughout with improvised instrumental guitar from protagonist Ahmoudou Madassane, the score sets the tone for a fever dream of a journey.

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Ten Great World Music Reissues & Previously Unreleased Archival Gems of 2017

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 20, 2017 05:10pm | Post a Comment

By Michael Henning

Baba Zulu

10. Baba Zula - XX (Glitterbeat)

Excellent compilation of psychedelic bellydance dub jams from Turkey. If you need more reasons to check this out despite reading that description, then perhaps the fact that Mad Professor produced some of this record will help convince you to investigate. Comes as a 2-CD set (2nd disc is of dub versions) or with the material from the first CD spread out over a nice 2-LP set, plus a CD of the dub versions. Truly innovative global fusion of the highest order, these folks should be way more popular than they are here in the USA, and here's your chance to help remedy that.
The Photographs of Charles Duvelle

9. Charles Duvelle & Hisham Mayet - The Photgraphs of Charles Duvelle - Disques OCORA and Collection PROPHET (Sublime Frequencies)

Ten Great New International Music Releases from 2017

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 19, 2017 07:15pm | Post a Comment

By Michael Henning

Tony Allen, The Source

10. Tony Allen - The Source (Blue Note)

Now 77 years old, Allen still plays with the vigor of someone 50 years younger, managing to sound both extremely tight and also suitably loose on this new record. He doesn't miss a beat, carrying the eclectic array of compositions with his fantastically funky rhythms. On top of that, he somehow manages to make his extraordinary playing sound effortless, like he is barely trying. The tunes themselves range from Afrobeat stompers to more laid back, jazzy grooves.

 

antibalas, where the gods are in peace

9. Antibalas - Where The Gods Are In Peace (Daptone)

Brooklyn's now legendary Antibalas are probably the best known and most successful of the modern crop of Afrobeat bands, and for good reason. They've been at it for almost 20 years now, and have released six excellent studio albums along the way. Their new one, on the always reliable Daptone label, is another high mark for them, with some of their most impassioned playing yet, and their politically and socially conscious lyrics resound even more in these troubling times.

 

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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