A chance to rewitness a musical celebration of the Black President
On May 17, the venue 229 in central London played host to a gathering of top musicians in celebration of the Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer, Fela Kuti, prior to a new ten CD set release (May 20) by Knitting Factory Records as part of their complete reissue series of the Black President’s music.
The packed out show drew together artists who knew Fela Kuti and worked with him as musicians. Backed by Dele Sosimi and the Afrobeat Orchestra, the likes of Ginger Baker and Tony Allen paid tribute to the father of Afrobeat, performing interpretations of his songs to a sold-out audience. There was also a younger generation of artists such as Keziah Jones, Shingai Shoniwa (The Noisettes) and Afrikan Boy.
The entire event was filmed, and every weekday Okayafrica, the official Fela Kuti YouTube channel, and Vimeo have been releasing new videos from the evening. Highlights include Shingai Shoniwa performing ‘Lady’ and the first stage reunion in decades of drumming aficionados Ginger Baker and Tony Allen.
Now that you’ve read all about the music featured in the latest issue of Songlines, don’t forget you can also watch and listen to it on our YouTube playlist, which we compile every issue for your viewing pleasure. You can find the full playlist here.
Here are a few of its highlights:
Andy Morgan speaks to Etran Finatawa in the current issue about the political troubles in the Sahel region, and the band’s decision to record their latest album in a tent in the desert.
We find out how the Dutch village Hertme creates such a beautiful and intimate setting for its festival of African music.
In this issue Tim Cumming talks to the Frisian fado star about language, motherhood and her new album.
Mick Jagger’s playlist
The Rolling Stones’ frontman picks five tracks which are included in this issue’s compilation CD.
East London plays host to an exciting showcase of African talent this month
This June during Refugee Week (June 16-23), Celebrating Sanctuary and dynamic London-based promoters Focus Organization have given visitors a special opportunity to enjoy some of Africa’s most exciting music at London’s Rich Mix on June 21.
Africa Special! will celebrate the contributions of African communities to the capital, featuring performances from two of London’s most prized African acts – Harare and Diabel Cissokho, as well as a DJ set from self proclaimed king of British Afro-eccentrics AJ Holmes.
Harare, formed by ex-Bhundu Boys member Kudaushe Matimba, have been crowned as one of London’s most compelling Zimbabwean dance bands. They will be rousing the audience with a blend of styles, ranging from jit jive to traditional hypnotic mbira rhythms. Senegalese Diabel is now well established in the UK following a long successful stint as Baaba Maal’s kora player, and performances at Glastonbury and WOMAD.
Africa Special! is sure to serve as a symbolic reminder to all of the effect African culture has had on our society.
Date: Friday June 21 (7pm – 1am)
Venue: Rich Mix
Tickets: £5 Adv, £7 OTD Available Here
Music documentary follows the hunt for a very special violin
Persimpatia (In Sympathy), an independent world music documentary, follows the search for four unusual violins, crafted by the late Catalan luthier Richard Margarit. These special violins have at least 16 additional strings – sympathetic strings – which vibrate alongside the violin’s primary strings.
Margarit’s legacy now lives on only through the four remaining violinists who play this instrument; L Subramaniam (India), Paul Giger (Switzerland), Zoltán Lantos (Hungary) and Ernesto Briceño (Venezuela). Persimpatia looks to both celebrate and immortalise this legacy.
The filmmakers have been using crowdfunding in order to make sure the documentary is seen, and tell this little-known story. You can donate to the project on Verkami.
For more detailed information, a trailer, photos and a playlist, visit Persimpatia’s website.