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Raw and Earthy!
Chatting with Nigerian music icon and star Queen Salawa Abeni the other day, the subject of the forthcoming London African Music Festival came up in our conversation.
Now in it's eleventh year, the promoters Joyful Noise have been working hard at making this annual event a must for genuine lovers of music who are not taken in by populist hype. They seek out, promote and present artists who never seem to be programmed by some festivals in spite of their true talent and relevance.
Pop, R&B, Soul, Jazz and Gospel music wouldn't be what they are today, without the infusion of African rhythm and sounds into those genres. It's no secret that most of the successful musicians and artists who are idolised in the world today, owe their success to the infusion of elements from traditional African music.
It wasn't strange in the 1970s, to see music scholars and musicians from North America and Western Europe visiting African towns and villages with reel to reel tape recorders, memorialising their visits to these places by recording traditional drummers and ceremonies in some of the remotest parts of the African continent. In a lot of cases, the vibes somehow found their way into some hit records, making some of them, virtually millionaires.
It is also true that many young African artists today, have adopted western instruments and styles into their repertoire, creating their own particular hybrid and unique sounds. Some others have stuck to the traditional, preferring to remain true to the original sound, becoming ambassadors of the culture and music of Africa. This I suppose, is inevitable in a world that has truly in every sense of the word, become a global village.
The 11th. London African Music Festival will begin on Friday, 13th September at all the top London venues. Places like Camden's Jazz Cafe, Vortex Jazz Club, Richmix, The Forge, Cargo, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre etc., and will continue every day, until Sunday 22nd September 2013. the festival will showcase modern, traditional and middle of the road acts in all those venues. A true picture of the raw and earthy sounds of Africa.
The impressive roster of talent this year, when they hit the stage, will wow the audience and punters are guaranteed a great time. The best drummers in the world, are Africans; When their hands and sticks hit the skins, only dead souls, fail to dance. Those who attend this year will probably salivate for more of the same and will probably end up in front of the queue, next year.
For full details of the programming, click on the festival or promoter's links above.
Hope to see you all there.
Remember to bring your dancing shoes!