2012’s Celebrate Brooklyn season picked up some serious African steam this past Saturday with a phenomenal performance by the trans-Atlantic groove machine AfroCubism. AfroCubism, who released their debut album for Nonesuch records in 2010, represent the fusion of several of Mali’s foremost musicians (including kora master Tounami Diabate and guitar giant Djelimady Tounkara) with a party of equally talented Cubans, lead by the inimitable singer/guitarist Eliades Ochoa. As the story goes, a slightly modified version of this group was actually intended to be recorded in the mid 90’s; when the Malians failed to make it to Cuba, the producers scrambled to go ahead with solely Cuban musicians. The result was the Buena Vista Social club (and history). Luckily, the stars/visas have now aligned, and the music is available for all to hear.
The band played well, giving the audience a combination of Cuban tumbao tunes (augmented by a healthy helping of brassy boldness) with the traditional demonstrations of godlike Malian instrumental prowess. The concert, which took place at the Celebrate Brooklyn stage in Prospect Park, was well attended by an enthusiastic audience. If you couldn’t make it, or if you weren’t close to the stage with a high-powered camera, here are some photos for your visual delectation. Afropop was actually lucky enough to interview some of the Malian artists after the concert about the ongoing political crisis in their country. Stay tuned for that footage coming up soon!