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Dobet Gnahoré Couleur Album

Dobet Gnahoré, one of Africa’s brightest stars releases her sixth full length album ‘Couleur’ on June 4.
The 2010 GRAMMY winner from the Ivory Coast delves into her country’s modern Afropop sounds with a fiery album that’s filled with danceable grooves, electronic beats and catchy melodic hooks soaking up the urban energy of a rising modern Africa.

Album of the Month – March 2021

The timely remastering of this album released 33 1/3 years ago is a celebration of a woman who has championed the Mbira and Shona Zimbabwean culture for more than 50 years. Chiweshe, now 74, is lovingly known as the ‘Queen of the mbira’.
The re-release by Piranha records has a title change – from Ambuya? Meaning grandmother? to Ambuya!
An affirmation that she is also the ‘grandmother of the mbira’

IBALI releases single ‘Revelation’ A trumpet call to the youth of Africa

IBALI is a renowned Cameroonian musician and songwriter who uses his music as a weapon for change. With a blend of Makossa, Jazz and Afrobeat; with shades of Fela Kuti, his latest single release ‘Revelation’ deplores the reality of bad leaders, poor health care, infrastructure and education across Africa. The poignant video of this release certainly adds weight to the cause – watch it here

Album of the month african music guide

Album of the Month – January 2021

Urban Village are a quartet who grew up in the township of Soweto at the tail end of apartheid. Creating a unique spin on South Africa’s multiple musical genres, ‘Udondolo’ explores traditional Maskandi, zulu guitar, and jazz whilst blending their own indie folk with soulful harmonies that pays homage to the culture and people of Soweto.

Stay home, get cosy and embrace the potent and seductive melodies of Urban Village; you just might forget about the big bad world out there for a while.

The 10 Best African Albums of 2020

For many, 2020 will be a year that we will want to forget, but from the 80 new African flavoured albums listed on Calabash! there were some truly memorable moments; from the inspiring stories behind the music to the joy of discovering a new artist, we are truly grateful for.

best african album 2020

Album of the Month – November 2020

STAR FEMININE BAND
Star Feminine Band are an extraordinary group from Natitingou, a remote town in the north of Benin.  The 7 members are aged between 10 and 17 years old, and the only all girl band in Benin.

Their sound is a garage rock style mix of afrobeat,congolese rumba and traditional Beninese rhythm dances. The girls’ harmonies may sound youthful but their songs are raising awareness about equality and empowerment for African women to a curious growing audience.

#SOULIDARITY – FOR AFRICAN MUSICIANS

Thousands of concerts have been cancelled worldwide due to COVID-19. Hundreds of musicians from the African continent have lost their main income from international concert tours. It is uncertain by when musicians will be able to travel and tour again. Please, join #SOULIDARITY and donate. With your contribution you directly support musicians from the African continent.

Ethiopian Records crowdfunding for Survival and Unity

Ethiopia Records, innovators of ther Ethiopiyawi electronic music scene has launched a fundraiser due to the COVID pandemic putting in jeopardy the future of the label and its staff based in Addis Ababa.

The fundraiser is for a 10 track double EP called Wel (ወል) with 2 videos and an array of works of art to be released in November 2020.
Supporters of the Wel project can receive various goodies including a pre-order copy of the EP to a private virtual tour and interactive music lessons

Orchestra Baobab 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of Africa’s greatest bands, Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab. To celebrate this remarkable milestone, the band has announced the issue of their landmark 2002 reunion album ‘Specialist In All Styles’ for the first time ever on vinyl, on September 25th.

BEST AFRICAN ALBUM

Oumou Sangaré | Acoustic Album | Out June 19 |

An acoustic version of the 2017 album ‘Mogoya’ will be released by Nø Førmat digitally on June 19, 2020, with physical formats available from August 28, 2020.

The album simply named ‘Acoustic’ is a totally unplugged ‘live’ studio recording with the same members who played with Oumou at the London EartH show in April 2019 that celebrated the 15th anniversary of her label Nø Førmat.

You can view the album trailer here.

Africadelic – International Africa Day

Africadelic the annual event in Amsterdam that celebrates International Africa day has organised a 12-hour live streaming event on 25 May
With over 15 confirmed artists so far including ONIPA, Blick Bassy, and Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, it promises to be an enthralling day of performances and lively debates. There is also 2 days of contemporary African cinema available on demand too.
NOT TO BE MISSED!
Full details of how to watch here

An African Music Safari

We are delighted to have been asked by Travel Africa Magazine to compile an ‘African music safari’ for their readers. It covers some of the continents amazing artists from Morocco to Zimbabwe. You can read the journey here.

Santrofi Alewa Album review

Santrofi – Alewa

Santrofi, are a collective of young emerging musicians from Accra, Ghana. The debut album ‘Alewa’ is a sumptuous mix of dance-guitar, funk, and silky harmonies. A Highlife extravaganza, that deserves to be heard and danced to – energetic, exuberant and refreshing.

Tipona by Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno album review

Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno – Tipona

There is much to admire in this unique album.
The Nyatiti – an eight-stringed lyre, originating from communities around the shores of Lake Victoria, Kenya.

A story of an African village boy transitioning to a man with all its anxieties.
The preserving of traditional Lüo sounds whilst interpreting them for the modern world.

Awale Jant Band – Yewoulen

With the unmistakable groove of West African soul music, Awalé intertwines Senegalese, Latin American, funk, jazz and influences from London, where they are now at home. Yewoulen is a call for leaders of the world and everyday people alike to Wake Up and work together for the sake of humanity.

Tamikrest Tamotait Album

Tamikrest return with a vivid, irrepressible rock and roll statement. Their most powerful album since 2013’s wildly acclaimed Chatma, Tamotaït finds the band not only turning up the volume, but also sharpening their ruminations on the state of the Sahara and the world beyond. Features acclaimed Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra and Japanese traditional musicians.

Extra Soul Perception

Extra Soul Perception (ESP.) are a creative collaboration that brings together innovative artists from the UK, Kenya and Uganda for a week-long writing camp in Nairobi. The result will be an audio-visual album, documentary and series of live events.
See album video teaser and live dates here

tamikrest tamotait new africa music

Tamikrest New Album and Tour

Tamikrest, the Tuareg (kel tamasheq) desert blues band from the Sahel region embark on a huge European tour and play in the UK at Rich Mix, London on Saturday 23rd May 2020.
Their latest album Tamotait meaning ‘hope for a positive change’ which reflects the turbulent political times in northern Mali and the surrounding area,  will be released on 27th March 2020.

Best African albums 2019

The 10 Best African Albums of 2019

It’s been an exceptionally busy year, we went to over 30 gigs, and in our New Music page, there are over 70 album releases listed.
With some absolutely sublime sounds from all over Africa and beyond, it was quite a task in deciding the top 10.

So here’s our pick of 2019.
Not listed in any particular preference – except for top spot.
A collection of artists that inspired, releases that enthralled and live performances that wowed us.
Thank you, Africa!

haymanot tesfa loosening the strings album review

Haymanot Tesfa – Loosening the Strings

Haymanot Tesfa is a singer and krar (traditional lyre) player from Ethiopia, now living in the UK.
Loosening the Strings is her solo debut album, and is a collection of Ethiopian traditional songs and her own arrangements all sung in the distinctive Amharic language.

Throughout the album, Haymanot’s fingers flow through the six-stringed krar with nimble dexterity. The unfaltering plucked soft tones provide a foundation for Haymanot’s powerful and captivating voice. Using only
the krar and a drum it’s a bold debut. Yet, it doesn’t need anything else, as it’s simply beautiful.

Fatoumata Diawara UK Tour

Fatoumata Diawara UK Tour 2020

Fatoumata Diawara announces UK tour dates for January and February 2020.

Hailed as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music, Fatoumata Diawara takes her artistry to fresh and thrilling heights on her new album FENFO.
NOT TO BE MISSED!
FULL DETAILS AND TICKETS

dance to the full moon invisible system album review

Dance to the Full Moon – Invisible System Album

The second release from Invisible System aka Dan Harper’s Malian project.

Dance to the Full Moon is the sequel to the instrumental Bamako Sessions album from 2018.

Delving deep into Mali’s traditional musical roots, griot, ngoni, kora, and Songhoy guitar are accentuated with the interfusion of dub, post-punk, techno, and R&B.

A more fulfilling album than its predecessor and with Dan Harper’s guidance and production finesse, has created a triumph of equilibrium.
Crisscrossing genres but keeping Mali at its heart and soul

London Afrobeat Collective Humans Review

London Afrobeat Collective – Humans

London Afrobeat Collective’s latest album release Humans, unleashes the full force of their funky energetic afrobeat.

Full of musical gutsiness, with the fervor of their exhilarating live performances, the LAC sound is evolving beyond the sphere of Afrobeat.

An album striving for social justice has never sounded this good

Egyptian Cultural Festival debuts in London

++This event has been cancelled++
A unique festival experience is coming to London this November, it will showcase a feast of talent through art, music, fashion, and food from Egypt, in a vibrant and fun-filled way.

The first ever Egyptian festival in Europe, the programme promises to be an extravaganza of discovery into contemporary Egypt and for the Egyptian community to come together and celebrate their culture and heritage.

The Egyptian Cultural Festival is on the 9th and 10th of November  

Rafiki Jazz #Up Close Tour

On tour, this coming Autumn are Rafiki Jazz.
A 9 piece global collective, spanning from Africa, India, the Middle East, South America and Europe.

Their ‘Closeup’ live shows are powerful and absorbing, capturing the imagination of distant lands, that reflect the band’s multiple faith, language and culture.

Rafiki Jazz will be playing songs from their latest album ‘Saraba Sufiyana’ (Mystic Utopia) available this October.
Expect beautiful voices, with the unity and diversity of modern world music, which journeys into migration, history and heritage.

KOKOKO! FONGOLA album review

KOKOKO! Fongola Album

If there was a TV series called ‘extreme homemade musical instruments’ KOKOKO! would be the hosts and Fongola would be the soundtrack.

Experimenting with engine parts to typewriters, the DR Congelese DIY’ers invent and build their own percussion and stringed instruments.

Flirting between, post-punk and electronic, the intoxicating and hypnotic grooves are blisteringly danceable.

KOKOKO! are currently on a world tour and are playing Fabric, London on November 28th

Faith Mussa – Kalilima Album

Known as the Malawian one-man band, Faith Mussa’s latest album is full of bright African guitars and soulful harmonies, whilst it slickly genre hops by blending modern beats and arrangements with traditional rhythms and instruments.
It’s an irresistibly catchy and classy production, with three years in the making and collaborating with various artists, it firms up Faith Mussa as a rising star on the international music scene.

Kanda Bongo Man – UK Tour

Kanda Bongo Man, the king of Soukous will perform with his seven-piece band around the UK during August, September and October.

Expect infectious fast-paced Congolese style dance music, with glorious sunshine guitar solos and moves to match.

Stolen Moments – Namibian Music History Untold (1950-80s)

To celebrate Namibia’s 30th year of Independence, SOAS Music is hosting a unique exhibition in the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London.
Chronicling the intimate stories, songs and experiences of those who shaped Namibian popular culture during some of the most repressive years of Apartheid rule.

A fascinating insight shown through video projection that revisits the dance styles of the 1950s-80s. Listening stations featuring Namibia’s music legends.
Interviews with musicians and contemporary witnesses.
An extensive collection of photographs, record covers and music memorabilia.

Kadialy Kouyate - Taling Dimalu- Beautiful Tales Album

Kadialy Kouyate -Taling Dimalu Beautiful Tales Album

It’s a massive privilege to have such a talent as Kadialy Kouyate based here in the UK.
The Senegalese kora virtuoso/singer hails from the line of Kouyate griots
and If you have ever seen him perform you will have been
bedazzled by the splendour of his kora mastery.
His latest repertoire is full of beautiful positive melodies, and you will feel your soul being gently nourished as the enchanting compositions unfold.

Isaac Birituro and The Rail Abandon – Kalba

Ghanaian Isaac Birituro’s masterful xylophone style is explored by UK’s singer-songwriter Sonny Johns.

Lively West African beats, folky guitar and jazzy brass hues, harmonized with the uplifting Kalba Birifore Choir.

Recorded in Isaac’s hometown Kalba – the album title, a church became a makeshift mobile studio.
An intriguing story of different worlds embracing, it captures a genuinely warm-hearted community spirit.

Maravillas de Mali Africa Mia new album

Maravillas de Mali – Africa Mia

In the 1960s, a group of Malian musicians travelled to Havana to study music.
The Maravillas de Mali band was formed and the groundbreaking
Afro-Cuban fusion style was born.
50 years on, Boncana Maïga the only remaining member has recaptured that revolutionary spirit by rejuvenating Africa Mia, the bands only album.
Featuring superstar Mory Kanté from Guinea.

BCUC The Healing best african album 2019

BCUC – The Healing

A magnitude of free jazz, spiritual rants, raps and chants delivered with rock ’n’ roll fervency.
The 7 piece band from Soweto, South Africa inspired by indigenous music conjure extended trance-like songs, radiating positive energy as it challenges musical formats and simultaneously the harsh realities of African life.

Kongi Dia Ntotila 360’° best album 2019

Kongo Dia Ntotila – 360°

Intrinsically deep-rooted with African dance sounds and styles, Kongo Dia Ntotila’s second release 360°is a profusion of adept musicianship.
Congolese guitar and energetic rhythms blend fluently with jazzy horns and bass lines inspired by the buoyant UK Jazz scene.
The listener is joyfully seesawed between Kinshasa and London.
It’s inventive, original and massively catchy. A feel-good fun ride from start to finish.

hama sankare niafunke best album 2019

Hama Sankaré – Niafunké

Desert blues at its finest, including dazzling reworks of songs legendary Ali Farka Toure also recorded.
A monumental Malian studio supergroup that encompasses traditional sounds, enriched by the verve of a new generation of musicians.

Progressive and compelling – essential listening.

Madalitso Band - Wasalala new african Album

Madalitso Band – Wasalala

What do you get when you mix a homemade one-string slide bass (Babatone), a cowskin foot drum, thumped with your heel whilst strumming a 4 string guitar and two harmonious voices? The joyful upbeat traditional folk music of The Madalitso Band from Malawi.

ifriquiya Laylet El Booree new african album

Ifriqiyya Electrique – Laylet El Booree

Fusing the rhythms and invocations of the ancient Saharan Banga ritual with an electrical storm of contemporary sonics, Ifriqiyya Electrique’s second album both grips and awakens. In Tunisian, Banga means “huge volume” and one cannot think of a more apt description of Laylet el Booree than that. Maximalist & relentless. Blood, sweat & trance.

Dobet Gnahoré UK tour in April 2019

Afro-pop sensation Dobet Gnahore returns in April with her beautiful voice and acrobatic dance stage show. The Grammy award winner will be performing her latest album Miziki. Friday, April 12th –  St George’s, Bristol.https://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk/event/dobet-gnahore/ Saturday, April 13th – Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham.https://ropetacklecentre.co.uk/events/african-night-fever-presents-dobet-gnahore/ Sunday, April 14th – The Gulbenkian, Canterbury.https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/dobet-gnahore/          

tartit the exile african album

Tartit – Amankor/The Exile

Formed in a refugee camp in the ’90s, the female-fronted band toured the Tuareg sound around the world. Their first album for more than a decade is nostalgic, with aspirations of peace and unity. Release Date: 25 January 2019Record label: Riverboat Records. Genre: Desert Blues, Folk Tuareg. Country: Mali.

Moulay Ahmed El Hassani – Atlas Electric

Moulay Ahmed Hassani – Atlas Electric. Hive Mind Records.   “Ahmed’s trademark – an awesome sounding psychedelic deep reverberating microtonal guitar!”   From the foot of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, singer, songwriter and musician Moulay Ahmed Hassani has self produced more than an incredible 50 albums over 30 years in his home studio in …

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African Artists are not welcomed as UK concerts cancelled because of visa issues

Desert Blues Bands Tamikrest and Terakraft refused entry to UK Three weeks ago I attended Africa on the Square festival. This free annual event is organised by the Mayor of London and this year featured musicians from Togo, The Gambia, Zambia, and the UK. There was also a fashion show, a parade and dancers celebrating …

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tamikrest-kidal

Tamikrest – Kidal

The 4th album from the one of the best desert blues bands around. Kidal, the title of the release is their ancestral town. The album is their voice to the world about the Nomadic Tuaregs and their struggle for freedom, love and peace.