When Minnesotans were dealing with the polar-vortex-induced -50F wind chills, a friend sent this me this text message. “U escaped the coldest day in the history of Africans in America”.
We’re on the second chapter of the polar vortex and it’s still cold in Minnesota – not as dangerously cold – but it is still cold. However, it is also sizzling in Minnesota – with HOT African-heart-warming music. Over the next few weeks stages in Minnesota will be graced by top-notch, award-winning African musicians. Oh You Should Be So Lucky Minnesota! Here’s the rundown:
- Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi – The legendary Zimbabwean guitarist/vocalist/songwriter is one of the most powerful creative forces to emerge in the Afro-pop scene in the last three decades. “Tuku” has won multiple awards and was last year inducted in the Afropop Hall of fame. From Star Tribune Big Gigs: “A veteran of 60-plus albums, and an occasional feature film star,Oliver Mtukudzi brings the music of Zimbabwe to the world. Known simply as “Tuku,” he’s a revered singer, a distinctive acoustic guitarist and longtime leader of the folksy groove band the Black Spirits.” Two shows tonight! Jan 21st Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant.
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Malian Ngoni master, Bassekou Kouyate, returns with his Grammy-nominated band Ngoni Ba in support of his new album “Jama Ko“. The album, which was recorded in Bamako just as civil unrest was unfolding in Mali. The album has been declared by many african music critics as ‘The Album of the Year (2013)’. Sat Jan 25th Cedar Cultural Center.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – This Multi-Grammy-Award winning South African male choral group has been wowing audiences all over the world. The group has recorded over 50 albums which have received gold and/or platinum disc certification. Need I say more? Hurry and get your tickets! Sun Feb 9th The Ordway.
Maria De Barros – Senegalese-born, Cape Verdean chanteuse Maria De Barros is famed for keeping audiences on their feet during her entire show. De Barros who is very loved at home was crowned 2005 Cape Verdian Artist of the year and was the 2008 recipient of the Cultural Certificate of Merit by Cape Verde’s Ministry of Culture. Her most recent album, ‘Morabeza‘ keeps alive the wonderful legacy bestowed upon her by her godmother, legendary “barefoot diva”, Cesaria Evora. As if this won’t be a great enough show, how is an introduction by Naomi Tutu for icing on the cake? Wed Feb 19th, The Ordway.
- Habib Koite – Malian guitarist Habib Koite is by far one of my favorite musicians. He not only makes great music, but also has a great personality as well! From The Cedar’s website: Called “Mali’s biggest pop star” by Rolling Stone (in an infamous article in which Bonnie Raitt compared Habib to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn), Habib has also received raves from widely read publications such as People, Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times. In order to accompany his mother’s singing, he taught himself to play guitar. His shows are always a great delight and not to be missed. Tue Feb 25th, Cedar Cultural Center.
The shows at The Ordway are part of a great initiative, Taking Our Place Centerstage: The African Diaspora in Harmony. There’s a really good line up of shows and events for this series as well as a 50% discount for purchasing the African Diaspora Package.