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Bachata Takeover: From the Bronx to the World

While bachata may have originated in the Dominican Republic, its growth in popularity over the past 10 years is not rooted within the shores of the small Caribbean nation but in the outer boroughs of New York City. It was … Read more »

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Tweets »

Blog 50 Years of Nonesuch: Five Essential Albums
Contest Salif Keita Ticket Giveaway
Blog Meet the Africa Center this Saturday!
Blog Primer: Urban Bachata
Blog Toumani Diabaté Returns to NYC to Wish Nonesuch Records a Happy 50!
video “Now Having Money Is More Important…”: Malian Traditions on Video

Reviews »

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    Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako

    The central irony of Salif Keita’s early career is how a noble—a descendant of the Mande Empire’s founder Sunjata Keita, yet—could assume the profile of a griot, a musical orator of a distinctly lower social status. When Keita arrived on … Read more »

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    Jaiyede Afro ,

    Jaiyede Afro, the new album from Nigerian Afro-soul legend Orlando Julius and U.K. groove outfit the Heliocentrics, out now on Strut Records, has an intentionally retro sound. From simple, hard-hitting arrangements and musical performances that channel the loose, flowing grooves of OJ’s Afro … Read more »

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    Wired For Sound: Mozambique

    We don’t hear a lot of music from Mozambique. There have been some fine releases of classic marrabenta dance music, and a few roots-pop bands like Ghorwane, Eyuphuro and Mabulu all produced memorable CDs in their times. There’s a Rough … Read more »

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    Salvadora Robot

    In their latest adventure, Salvadora Robot, the Meridian Brothers’ signature skewed sound has evolved into a complex futuristic cosmos. Galaxies collide and merge in this overwhelming burst of rhythm and electronic-infused cumbia. Not that we would expect anything less. Masterminded by … Read more »

Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako

The central irony of Salif Keita’s early career is how a noble—a descendant of the Mande Empire’s founder Sunjata Keita, yet—could assume the profile of a griot, a musical orator of a distinctly lower social status. When Keita arrived on … Read more »

NYC Events »

  • Wed Sep 17

    Location: Barbes (Google Maps)

    Time: 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm

    In the 1960's and 1970's, the government of Guinea engaged in a campaign known as Authenticité. It was a drive to create a new musical movement that would be specifically Guinean, but would include the modern wonders that were the electric guitar, the electric bass and the drumset. Musicians were given instruments and orchestras were formed. Surprisingly, the results proved mesmerizing and a myriad new bands were born. Many of them would go on to have a profound and lasting impact on African music. Mamady Kouyate was one of those pioneers. He played in various bands - his own band, Les Ambassadeurs du Mandingue, being one of them - but is probably best known as the guitarist in the the classic Bembeya Jazz National. Kouyate, who now lives in NY, has reformed the Mandingo Ambassadors, updating the sound of his youth, but keeping it very close to the standard of Authenticité. The new All-Star band includ es Ismael Kouyate - vocals; Mamady Kourouma - guitar; Oran Etkin - tenor sax & clarinets; Sylvain Leroux - flute, tambin and alto sax; Andy Algire - drums; Nick Cudahy - bass and Mamady Kouyate - guitar. “dazzling vocal and guitar patterns over a rhythm section that is like a perfect system” Ben Ratliff, NY Times.

  • Thu Sep 18

    Location: David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, 61 W 62 St, New York, NY, United States (Google Maps)

    Time: 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm

    Founded in 1988 in Casablanca, Hoba Hoba Spirit draws its drive from the bold clack of qarqaba (double castanets) and rhythmic swagger of North Africa. Calling their signature sound “haiha music,” loosely translated as “wild partying music,” the group is equally inspired by indie rock, punk, and Gnawa, the Sufi music of Morocco brought to the country by slaves from Mali and other West African countries over many centuries. With high-energy delivery, heavy guitars, and droll plays on words (in at least three languages), this band is Morroc’n Roll—a hook-laden, thought-provoking party.

    This presentation by Hoba Hoba Spirit is part of Center Stage, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, with additional support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council. General management for Center Stage is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.

  • Thu Sep 18

    Location: SOB's, 204 Varick St, New York, NY, United States (Google Maps)

    Time: 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm

    Salif Keita’s career as a musician will always be colored by the fact that he is a member of the Royal Family of Mali. In 1970 he was invited to play in Rail Band, an orchestra supported in part by public money that played in the restaurant of the railway hotel in Bamako. In Rail Band he came into contact with Kante Manfila who had many of the same ideas as Keita concerning the blending of disparate styles. After three years Keita and Manfila moved on to the (then) second most prolific group in Mali, Les Ambassadeurs, that had a more modern repertoire. The group’s popularity soared and in 1978 Salif Keita was created “Minister for Music and Culture” by the president of neighboring Guinea. In gratitude, Salif Keita composed the song ‘Mandjou’, which was an enormous success. Keita and Manfila continued to develop their fusion music and create hypnotic sounds, one after the other, but in the 1980s Keita dissolved Les Ambassadeurs and set out on his solo career. Since then his meaningful influence has cropped up in many areas – from western pop and rock to Pink Floyd, among others.

    Salif Keita with Dj Henri
    7:00 PM doors / 8:00 PM show $50 General ADMISSION (age 21+)

  • Thu Sep 18

    Location: Barbès, 376 9th St, New York, NY, United States (Google Maps)

    Time: 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm

    For the past few years, the colombian pianist hasexplored ways of translating the Vallenato accordion repertoire to the piano. The result is an exciting journey into Colombian folklore, in the spirit of a true Parranda. Alejandro was born in Bogotá, heir to a long line of celebrated Colombian Vallenato musicians and son of Emiro Zuleta one of the most prolific vallenato songwriters of his generation.

  • Thu Sep 18

    Location: Zinc Bar, West 3rd Street, New York, NY, United States (Google Maps)

    Time: 11:59 pm to 2:00 am

    The essence of AfroCuban music is expressed in the Rumba: intoxicating polyrhythmic percussion, played on multiple drums, accompanied by call and response singing. Master percussionist Roman Diaz, the leader of the Abakuá society brought to Cuba from Calabar, West Africa, is regarded as a “living repository” of Cuba's folkoric music. As a member of the seminal Cuban rumba ensemble Yoruba Andabo, he continued the work of the legendary percussionist Pancho Quinto in creating a new definition of traditional Cuban rumba.

    Román Díaz left Cuba in 1999 to come to New York City. Since then he has been featured alongside Orlando “Puntilla” Rios in the critically acclaimed documentary Calle 54, and in ‘Dame La Mano’ the film that documents the life and times of Union City’s Esquina Habanera, the Grammy-nominated rumba ensemble Raíces Habanera and their followers.

    His mastery of the batá drum is present on countless recordings along with his rock solid groove on congas. He has always been sought after for his artistic sensibility, charisma and signature sound. As a producer, he has brought together some of the finest interpreters of Rumba from the island as documented on the CD, Wemilere. In the U.S., Diaz has collaborated with many musicians including the New Orleans jazz great Donald Harrison, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Paquito D’Rivera, Juan-Carlos Formell, Oriando “Puntilla” Rios and AfroHORN.