Thomas Mapfumo is one of the greatest African musicians of our time. On the continent, and especially in Zimbabwe, he is comparable to Fela Kuti and Bob Marley. Yet he is mostly unknown in the United States except among a dedicated group of world music lovers. Banning Eyre, a long time correspondent for Afropop Worldwide, aims to change that with his new book and companion album.
Eyre tells the story of the Zimbabwean singer, composer, and bandleader with attention to historical detail, sophisticated understanding of his musical milieu, and unabashed reverence for the man tempered with clear-eyed reality. This is no hagiography as Eyre narrates Mapfumo’s life in the context of Zimbabwe’s pre and post revolutionary history and exposes the contradictions and personal foibles of the man.
I saw Mapfumo three times—twice in 1991 when he performed at the Jazz Fest in April and then again in mid May at Tipitina’s. I wrote a preview before his show at the House of Blues in 2000, which appeared in the Louisiana Weekly. Here’s an excerpt of that column: “Mapfumo is known in his native country as the Lion of Zimbabwe. His music, known as chimurenga, was a critical component of that country’s quest for independence and self-rule. Chimurenga literally means ‘liberation war.’
Everybody’s favorite funky soul band—or is it soulful funk band?—just finished putting the last touches on their new record Into The Deep which comes out on July 17, 2015. But before they put it out into the world, they wanted to make it available to fans of the band before it is available to the public.
Pre-ordering gets you instant access to one of the brand new tracks, “Right On,” as well as exclusive updates and additional content. Check out one of the new tracks after the jump.
The group is also adding some very cool limited-edition items and experiences that fans have been clamoring for including turntable mats, signed vinyl and CDs, drum heads, meet and greets, lessons, and more.
We are proud to announce the release of Charm, the third recording from saxophonist John Ellis’ eclectic, eccentric, and utterly charming band Double-Wide. While the rest of the album is due out on September 18, 2015, we are giving our readers an exclusive listen to the first song on the new album.
Double-Wide is anchored as always by sousaphonist Matt Perrine and drummer Jason Marsalis, who lend the band its buoyant New Orleans groove. Gary Versace is on organ, piano, and accordion, and trombonist Alan Ferber completes the line-up. This unusual quintet bridges Ellis’ two homes, capturing the celebratory spirit of New Orleans and the urban grit of New York City.
The song we are premiering, “Booker,” is a tip of the musical cap to a New Orleans iconoclast, James Booker—the man who Dr. John memorably called “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.”
After over two weeks on the road out west with their prog rock/art pop/jazz group Hildegard, Sasha Masakowski and Cliff Hines discovered every touring musician’s nightmare was a daytime reality. The band’s van was broken into in San Francisco and 20+ pieces of musical equipment were stolen.
Friday night, musical friends, fans, and family will get together at the Howlin’ Wolf to “Pack the Van” with new gear and raise money to replace some of the rare vintage equipment and custom pedals that were lost to the thieves.
The Howlin’ Wolf and Live For Live Nola (a recently developed off-shoot of national music syndicate Live For Live Music) will host the benefit which features Space and Harmony, a side project featuring members of the Revivalists and Naughty Professor, plus an All Star Super Jam featuring Cliff Hines, Paul Thibodaux, and Max Moran as well as members of the Revivalists, Earphunk, Gravity A, Naughty Professor, and a host of others.
The virtuoso seven-string guitarist reunites with drummer Previte and trombonist Fowlkes on Let the Bells Ring On, which Hunter is releasing on his own Charlie Hunter Music label.
Though a generation older than Hunter, both Fowlkes and Previte have a deep bond with the eclectic guitarist.
Fowlkes appeared on Hunter’s 2003 quintet album, Right Now Move and Hunter and Previte have toured and recorded together in various all-star aggregations. The two sidemen were both essential participants in the vaunted downtown scene in 1970s era New York City.
The acclaimed singer/songwriter out of Nashville will grace the stage of the Canal Street fine listening establishment on Saturday night. He will be appearing in a duo setting with the multi-instrumentalist Sergio Webb.
Olney released his latest studio recording, When the Deal Goes Down, last year. His music cuts a large swath across a variety of roots music styles. His lyrics are equally expansive, mixing comedic touches with starkness all hewed to his trademark sense of dramatic flair.
Olney is a native of Rhode Island who has followed his muse since the early 1970s when he settled in Nashville. Earlier in his career he recorded albums which were distributed by Rounder Records. His songs have been recorded by the likes of Emmy Lou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.
Guitarist, songwriter, and bandleader Marc Stone is throwing a major bash this Thursday night at D.B.A. beginning at 10 PM. Expect to see his all-star band plus special guests Mike Dillon, the Honeypots, Benny Turner, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and John Mooney.
The new album is his Louisiana Red Hot Records debut. The surging label now has a true powerhouse roster that also includes the New Orleans Suspects, the Honey Island Swamp Band, Ivan Neville, and Dumpstaphunk.
Stone is known for his dedicated approach to assembling one-of-a-kind, all-star shows, and he’s going all out to celebrate his new album.
“New Orleans is the first and last real music town in America. You can go out every night of the week, or even multiple times a day, and hear truly good music that is also local music.” That was one of the many reasons Bay area rapper Lyrics Born decided that he wanted to make an album steeped heavily in New Orleans music.
One of the latest artists to find inspiration in the sounds and sites of the Crescent City, his new album Real People, recorded locally at Galactic Studios, taps into the funky sound you hear bumping from cars and clubs all around town. “I was really inspired by the whole vibe here and I wanted to make a record that had that earthy, soulful feel,” he explained.
Ben Ellman and Robert Mercurio of Galactic produced the album and a myriad of New Orleans hard hitters make cameos in a way that is a bit reminiscent of a Lundi Gras Galactic show. “Ellman and Mercurio introduced me to this tight group of musicians they hang out with and from there it just kind of snowballed. I’ve got David Shaw (The Revivalists), Trombone Shorty, Corey Henry (Galactic), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the record,” he said.
Trumpeter, vocalist, and songwriter Shamarr Allen has released the latest project with this band, the Underdawgs, as a mixtape which is available for streaming or as a free download.
The twelve tracks feature all of the hallmarks of Allen’s sound. Though known throughout the early part of his career as a brass band trumpeter, including a tenure with the Rebirth Brass Band, he has developed into a formidable bandleader, rapper, and songwriter.
The Underdawgs’ music walks the line between various genres and comes across as a funky rock band with tinges of hip hop, reggae, and jazz. There are elements of soul and R&B as well. He even sings in a falsetto on “Got Me Like.” “Jazz Resuscitation (Dub Step)” and “Blue Orleans” have some really strong trumpet work.
This is NOLA is not just an event, it’s a concept. Emerging from a lack of centralized support for the contemporary arts and the cocktail and culinary scenes in New Orleans, the party’s founder Reeves Price sought to highlight all the facets of the emerging, progressive culture in the city. It returns to the Joy Theater Friday night, 5/22.
“Our local heritage and the people who built it are what make New Orleans unlike any other city in the world and cherished unlike any other city in the world. As we continue to grow as America’s boutique city, we are attracting new people, new tastes, and new trends. They are not changing the local culture, they are complimenting it, and This Is NOLA is their speakerbox,” Price said.
Friday’s music line up does not disappoint in that regard and runs the gamut in terms of genres while featuring some of the city’s most interesting young artists.