Nobel Prize Winner, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, makes the role of women like Funmilayo clear when he states, “I have always insisted that American or European feminism has little to teach most other societies —- here is proof [For Women and The Nation: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti] in this portrait of a remarkable woman in remarkable times, brought vividly to life in a work that explores the often neglected crevices of history.”
Fela Remembers Being Introduced To His Excellency Kwame Nkrumah By His Mother
There are many who see Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti as not only the mother of Fela Ransome-Kuti and the Afrobeat Musical Movement but also as the mother of the modern African women’s resistance movements in the 20th century. Scholarship on the crucial roles played by women in their independence movements and in anti-colonial movements in Africa is still underexplored. What do we know about the relationship of a Nigerian leader like Mme. Ransome-Kuti…
Ongoing for three years now, AfroDreamFest is an annual touring concert that celebrates and promotes neo afro-fusion artists/genres of music from the African continent in the diaspora to commemorate African Liberation Day. (May 25) . Previous ones were held in Atlanta and Houston and it is coming to NYC this year. For more about Afrodreamfest see – www.afrodreamfest.com
As the convener, I wanted to see a platform for afro-indie artists in the diaspora who make meaningful good music to come together and share a stage, it has been a journey and an ongoing one as the event continues to brand itself in the afro~diaspora traveling across select cities across America. As years go by, the hope is to have interested sponsors push it to a wider reach on a bigger stage with larger audiences who appreciate the afro fusion music these talented artists are putting out. Performing in New York on May 22 at world music venues Meridian 23 on Friday May 22 and on Saturday May 23 at Silvana respectively are Brooklyn based Afrobeat band ‘Laolu and The Afromysterics’, myself, Afrosoul/folk/acoustic music ‘Tosinger’, AfroRnB artist ‘Ogasilachi‘ , Afro Jazz Artist ‘Eli Fola’ and from Nigeria, Ayanbinrin- Africa’s foremost female Talking Drummer and a guest artist from Nigeria, afrosoul artist Aduke. Tickets are available online at $10 and will be $15 at the door. Doors open at 7.30pm and show starts 8pm till 11ish on both days. See you there if you are in New York, great way to spend the memorial day weekend holiday and enjoy/support good music. ~https://afrodreamfestnyc2015.eventbrite.com ~
Here’s a glimpse of what you will experience live.
Nigeria’s international musician, Bisade Ologunde popularly known as Lagbaja embarked on a month-long tour of the United States of America. The tour will see Lagbaja and his 8 piece Motherland band perform at 15 different cities. It ends on May 17, 2015 at Washington DC.
I will be opening for him in Atlanta on May 10 at the popular concert space – The Variety Playhouse. Click here for more info
Atlanta based, eclectic afrosoulful artist, Tosinger. opens for legendary afrobeat/afrojazz artist from Nigeria – Lagbaja on May 10 at 7pm at the Variety Playhouse, Atlanta
Windstorm Productions Proudly Presents
The first question that is often asked when Lágbájá is encountered is, “Why the mask?” Basically, Lágbájá’s mask is used as an icon of man’s facelessness.
Lágbájá is a Yoruba word that means somebody, nobody, anybody or everybody. It perfectly depicts the anonymity of the so called “common man”. The mask and the name symbolize the faceless, the voiceless in the society, particularly in Africa. Once you see Lágbájá’s mask you are reminded of your own facelessness. This symbolism is so powerful that Lágbájá’s mask has popularized the use of the mask concept by other artistes both in Nigeria and beyond.
Though the concept was developed long before that, his first album (entitled Lágbájá) was released to National acclaim in 1993. Over the years and more albums later, the music continues to fascinate with its unique focus on a core of African drums. His music is a product of various influences ranging from traditional Yoruba music to Jazz. Often the music is purely instrumental- an interplay between traditional Yoruba percussions, drums, chants, and western instruments, especially the saxophone. When there are lyrics, they are primarily sung in Yoruba, English or a blend of the two as is colloquially spoken in Yoruba cities. Many of his songs dwell on serious social issues, while others simply entertain. Some are dance inducing while others pass serious messages in humourous ways.
One thing that links all the songs together is his use of traditional African drums. Traditional Yoruba drums are the most prominent. Four families of these drums are employed in creating different grooves and moods. The dundun/gangan family is the most prominent and at times up to five drummers combine all the various components to create the polyrhythms. The bata ensemble is led by two musicians who alternate between soft high toned driving rhythms with their omele bata, and thunderous loud talk with their mum drum- iya ilu. The general percussionist leads the sakara ensemble. The fourth family, used as the backbone of the groove is the ogido, a derivative of the ancient gbedu. The ensemble of drummers constitute the larger part of the band. Vocalists and western instrumentalists make up the rest. Lágbájá’s groovy fusion has been refered to as afrojazz, afrobeat, higherlife and afropop until now that he himself has christened the music AFRICANO, alluding mostly to the central role of African drums and grooves in his music.