Music

You Need to Hear This Live Show From Les Amazones D'Afrique

A concert dedicated to all women across the world suffering from violence.

Last year we premiered the "Dombolo" music video by Les Amazones D'Afrique—the first-ever all-female West African supergroup—and wrote about their stunning debut effort, République Amazone. The record's fourteen tracks featured twelve incredibly talented musicians and displayed an ambitious depth of substance and style.

Although sung primarily in Bambara, its politicized message of female empowerment resonates in a profound way. Since the album's critically acclaimed release on Real World Records, the music has made its way to elite global spaces like The Philharmonie de Paris and Barack Obama's iPhone.


Les Amazones D'Afrique performed at Le Guess Who Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands last November, and now we're excited to premiere a full recording of the set, provided by Le Guess Who, courtesy of Marc Broer. The nine-person band assembled for the Netherlands gig did not include some of Les Amazones' more legendary members like Angelique Kidjo and Mariam Doumbia, but their set still replicated the dynamic female energy of the group's recorded debut.

The eight-track set contains extended renditions of album highlights "Nebao," "Dansa Soyari," and "Doona" alongside beautiful unreleased tracks "Kanakasi" and "Ani Sogoma" and a stunning cover of the 400 year-old Sudanese folk song "Garaba Mama." This is an ecstatic, high-octane live album that opts for a more analogue, blues rock sound over the electronic beats and high fidelity studio production of République Amazone.

The Guess Who Festival set included Mamani Keita, Rokia Koné, and Kandia Kouyate on lead vocals, with Pamela Badjogo and Aminata Dante on backing vocals. The band also featured Llorens Barcelo on keys, Liam Farell on bass and guitar, Mamadou Diakite on guitar and Joseph Palmer on drums.

Before opening the set, Rokia took a moment to dedicate the performance to all the women of the world. Her presence onstage is magnetic and inspiring; she speaks to the audience throughout, giving them life and love with encouraging words and enthralling vocals. When Rokia's solo verse finally arrives during set opener "Desert Storm," her voice soars unmatched and cascades down with dazzling riffs of brilliant, bluesy soul.

The set's most exhilarating track comes later, though, as a group vocal effort during the sauntering blues-funk jubilee of "Nebao." It's got an irresistible hook, accentuated by frenetic desert rock riffs, and a joyous call-and-response chorus between the vocalists. Between the rough-edged blues arrangements and the powerful, expertly recorded vocals of our leading ladies, "Nabao" captures a special kind of magic not yet summoned by Les Amazones D'Afrique's studio material.

Bobi Wine Set to Return Home to Uganda

Uganda authorities have already warned against welcoming rallies for the musician.

Bobi Wine is making his way home to Uganda after spending just over two weeks in the United States seeking medical treatment for injuries he sustained after being tortured while in military custody, he says.

The opposition lawmaker, who is currently out on bail following an alleged attack on President Yoweri Museveni's motorcade, shared the news on Twitter with a photo of himself at the airport this morning. "Headed Home," he wrote as a caption.

READ: "I'm Proud to Be Persecuted For the Truth:" Bobi Wine on the Fight for Freedom in Uganda

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News Brief

The Trailer for Faraday Okoro's Tribeca Film 'Nigerian Prince' Is Here

The film is due to hit U.S. theaters October 19.

The trailer for Nigerian filmmaker Faraday Okoro's debut feature Nigerian Prince is here, Shadow and Act reports.

We're a month away from the film landing in U.S. theaters and On-Demand since the film got acquired by Vertical Entertainment.

Revisit the synopsis below.

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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