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Podcast Special!

This summer, Afropop launched a new and improved podcast, making your favorite world-spanning radio show available in a whole new way. To celebrate, we’ve put together a show featuring some of our favorite moments from the podcast. Previously available only … Read more »

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Blog Intern at Afropop!
Blog GodWonder: Dominican Rasterinha and “A Divina” preview
Blog Dancehall’s King Yellowman: Five Classic Tracks
Blog Field Report: Highlights From the 2014 Gwoka Festival in Guadeloupe
interview Heavy Baile: An Interview with Leo Justi
Blog Four Essential Baaba Maal Tracks

Reviews »

  • WFS_Mozambique
    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 »

  • artworks-000077249829-rcyg3j-t500x500
    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 »

  • Siria-Mestre-Cupijo-e-Seu-Ritmo-Artwork

    Slavery was legal in Brazil for almost 400 years. From the early 1500s until the practice was abolished there in 1888, some 4.5 million African men and women were shipped across the Atlantic to Portuguese settlements in the Amazon, where … Read more »

  • Benyoro_KairaBa_web
    New Music From Mande America: “Benyoro” and “The Great Peace” ,

    The U.S. continues to produce bands composed of West Africans and Americans performing electric music at ever mounting levels of proficiency and musicality. Two particularly impressive examples—Benyoro out of New York City, and Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba out of … Read more »

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 »

NYC Events »

  • Fri Aug 29

    Location: Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY, United States (Google Maps)

    Time: 11:30 pm to 12:30 am

    Doors: 11:30 pm / Show: 11:30 pm

  • Fri Aug 29

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

    Time: 11:59 pm to 3:00 am

    11:00PM doors / 12:00 & 2:00AM show
    $30 General Admission (age 21+)

  • Sat Aug 30

    Location: DROM, 85 Avenue A, New York, NY, United States (Google Maps)

    Time: 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm

    On Saturday, August 30th, Samba New York! will once again be bringing NYC's only regular samba school event to DROM during Brazil weekend in New York. As opposed to a show, the "Samba Party" is more of a communal gathering, where Brazilian music enthusiasts share their love of samba drumming, dance, and culture—a kind of NYC take on the mega samba school rehearsals that precede Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian dance master Danielle Lima provides a lesson before leading the crowd in a series of fun and exciting samba routines, set to the powerful rhythms of Samba New York's live Bateria (Drum Section), under the leadership of Director, Philip Galinsky.

    Praised by Brazil's Estado de São Paulo newspaper as "the most famous and active 'school of samba' in New York City," Samba New York! has brought the richness and exhilaration of Rio's samba traditions to some of the most prestigious venues, events, and media platforms in NYC and beyond—including Central Park SummerStage, the WITNESS Gala hosted by Peter Gabriel, ESPN's 2014 Upfront at the Minskoff Theatre, TV Globo's O Jornal Nacional, and the Dr. Oz Show. Having grown up immersed in Rio's samba world, Danielle Lima is one of NYC's foremost Brazilian dancers and founder of the Brasileirando Dance Group.

  • Sat Aug 30

    Location: Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY, United States (Google Maps)

    Time: 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm

    One love. It’s much more than a song. For Rastafarians, it’s a creed. And for reggae musician Taj Weekes it’s the way to live his life. He and his band Adowa will bring their inviting, open sound cities around the U.S. this autumn.

    Weekes will be performing music from his upcoming album Love Herb Reggae, but for the silver-voiced reggae master from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, it’s about much more than music. “I've heard a lot about homophobic rastas,’” recalls Taj Weekes. “I realized other people make that assumption about all reggae musicians. But I would rather see two men loving each other than a man beating a woman. That is what One Love means to me. You cannot define love so easily for other people.”

    At the same time, Weekes challenges popular conceptions about Herb. “Herb means everything healthy,” says Weekes. “Herb is tea and sage and parsley. Hemp is an herb with no THC. Herb is sustainability and vitality. Herb is not about GMOs or dropping out on drugs. It’s engaging in a healthy life and it tasting good.”

    With band members coming from all over the Caribbean, from Jamaica to Dominica and Barbados to St. Lucia, it’s a pan-Caribbean sound, all of them growing up listening to different native music and bringing their experience to the mix. Music has been a vital part of Weekes’s life since he was a child. Back then, he and his three older brothers would line up at night in their St. Lucia home.

    “We’d sing to my parents, the ‘70s music that was on the radio. Then my Dad would sing to us. But I never realized that this was what I was going to do with my life.”

    That came later, after his brothers became Rastafarians and Weekes followed in their footsteps, learning about the philosophy.

    “There was a reverence to it, talking about love. All I saw and heard was love with them, even when they were being brutalized by the government and the people. They taught me about I and I: the I of the spirit and the I of the body.”

    It’s the idea that informed his life ever since. For Weekes that means spreading the message of love in his music.

    “In the last 10 years a new breed of reggae has come along that’s moved away from the idea of non-judgmental love. They deride people who love a different gender or person. We’ve been preaching One Love forever, yet there are too many people pointing fingers. One love welcomes and unites. It doesn’t dictate or divide. I love everyone, but for too long I was silent about it. Everyone’s welcome at my table. Who am I to define love? We don’t need to be good for God’s sake, we need to be good for goodness’ sake.”

    Love and reggae are two strong pillars for Weekes. The third is herb. But not only the marijuana so often associated with Rastas.

    “We’ve gone past that,” Weekes insists. “That’s just a sensational story. When I grew up with them, the Rastas used fresh herbs in everything, in tea, in meals. All kinds of herbs. Hemp, and parsley and sage, thyme… everything that will make you better. I work with a hemp business, Good Seed Hemp. We’re doing something good for the planet – hemp used to be a huge crop. Now people think it’s bad but it’s not. It has so many uses. And with the hemp movement, we are finding sustainable ways to make things that do not destroy the land or our bodies.”

    Love, Herb and Reggae. It’s a good way to live. But the message needs to be passed on, and that’s what Weekes does. His children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), a US-based not-for--profit organization is dedicated to improving the lives of Caribbean children through sports, health and enrichment programs works to raise awareness of the often desperate conditions in the Caribbean. Last November Weekes was named as a UNICEF Champion for Children to advocate for the rights of children and raise awareness of a wide range of issues such as health, education, equal protection against physical and sexual violence. He also talks regularly in schools.

    “I speak about how reggae means more than music, but I speak even more about the concept of love. I am my brother’s keeper. It’s my responsibility, everyone’s responsibility, to love others as you love yourself. Sometimes simplicity can be the most complicated way.”

    But on stage, music is his message. Weekes sees himself as a singer-songwriter, but knows that his subject matter – the gospel of love and living in harmony – isn’t typical of reggae these days. The conscious lyrics are a reminder of the message reggae used to contain, even if his lush sound is completely Weekes’s own.

    “When I started out I just wanted to put a poem over a riddim. Now I’ve found my voice. I want to be true to the art form I’ve chosen, whatever comes from it.”

    And there might be a least one surprise during Weekes’s SXSW showcase. He’s considering playing an acoustic version of a song he’s composed for his upcoming album. But whatever happens, it will be an event, because, to him, ‘reggae’ is a verb.

    “It’s a doing word. A love word. A helping word. A standing up for your rights word. That’s how I understand reggae and Rastafari. It’s uplifting people so they see things in a different way.”

  • Sat Aug 30

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

    Time: 8:30 pm to 11:00 pm

    6:30PM doors / 8:30PM & 10:00PM show
    $10 in advance - $15.00 day of show (age 21+)

    Marcos Lessa is a semifinalist of The Voice Brazil 2013. This 22 year old from Ceará had Carlinhos Brown as his coach throughout the season. Marcos began his trajectory in music playing tribute shows in his native Fortaleza. “I started my career honoring the music of Ceará, singing Belchior, Fagner, Ednardo. Now, I want to the representative of Brazilian music everywhere around the globe.” Marcos Lessa’s passion for Brazilian music, especially Samba, is evident in his performances; “Practicing my profession brings me extreme joy. Music is what I love most in my life. I live to sing and I sing for a living.”

    Marcos Lessa performs his debut NYC show at SOB’s on Saturday August 30th 2014. He will be joined on stage by a group of first call New York based Brazilian music session players: Marcos Vigio, Itaiguara Brandão, Eliano Braz and guests. Not to be missed.