Thursday, November 16, 2006


Vusi Mahlasela singing for Africa

I should have really mentioned it earlier, but have been running around so much of late, that there just wasn’t time – Putumayo presents Acoustic Africa, featuring South African own Vusi Mahlasela, Habib Koité from Mali and Dobet Gnahoré from the Ivory Coast.

This amazing tour through more than 40 cities in Europe, and North America since the end of September, and they have their final dates happening over the next few days:

11.16.06 Peekskill, NY Paramount Center for the Arts
11.17.06 Somerville, MA Somerville Theatre
11.18.06 Lebanon, NH Lebanon Opera House
11.19.06 Troy, NY Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

“Habib Koité’s reputation as a guitar player has become almost mythical, combining rock and classical techniques with Malian tunings that make the guitar sound like a kora or ngoni."
- New York Times

“Vusi Mahlasela was a voice during the revolution, a voice of hope, like a Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan of South Africa, and he still is.”
- Dave Matthews

“Wow! Dobet Gnahoré is one helluva talented artist. Powerful singing combined with a charismatic stage presence, original choreography, and a theatricality that reminded me of Marie Daulne of Zap Mama.”
- Sean Barlow, Afropop Worldwide

Wow. It must've been an amazing tour. What a pity that it is not going to feature anywhere in Africa. After all, it is about the continent… for Africa… by Africans… but no matter! At least the message is getting out there.

Remember that Vusi was an important voice of protest, and peace, at the end of Apartheid, and so has always continued to be a voice that is respected for its message; which was why he was invited to perform at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Koité is just such an amazing artist too. Lenny and I bought a couple of his albums a few months ago, and they have lived in our car.

Habib was very involved in Mali, where tribal conflicts had reached a peak just before the first democratic, multiparty elections in 1992. Koité’s extraordinary talent in bringing together divergent musical styles is evident in his songs, in which he lets us hearmultiple ethnic traditions of his country, and nurture the goal of a pan-Malian culture.

Ivorian Gnahoré, she was studying music and dance in the pan-African community of Ki-Yi in the Ivory Coast, where social conflict has led to the displacement of thousands in the last decade. Eventually, she migrated to France, where her artistic identity continues to evolve. Gnahoré’s songs, musically and lyrically diverse, evoke the struggle and hope of her country.

3 different styles, merging into one, bringing the message of hope and a positive future for Africa to audiences in the 'first' world. Much like the video I am showing today, of Vusi’s performance at the Johannesburg Live 8 event in 2005.

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rouvanne -
howz it your side?
i just saw the acoustic africa tour here in somerville on friday. wonderful show, especially as it combines the two places in africa i really know and love - mali and south africa.
would love to chat with you about some projects . . .
erich @ calabashmusic
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