Events

An Evening With Philip Glass and Gambian Kora Master Foday Musa Suso

Internationally renowned composer Philip Glass and master kora player Foday Musa Suso's dramatic and style-shifting NYC concert.

Internationally renowned composer Philip Glass and master kora player Foday Musa Suso have been performing and collaborating for the better part of the last three decades.


Their most recent appearance, which was hosted at Brooklyn’s newly opened performance arts space National Sawdust and co-produced by the World Music Institute, included percussionist Asher Delerme and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler for a four-piece ensemble.

Their 90-minute set included selections from Glass and Suso’s famous collaborative album, The Screens. Originally commissioned as accompaniment for a play by Jean Genet about Algeria’s independence from France, this unconventional pairing was inspired by the playwright’s desire to contain both African and European traditions.

As with each revisitation of the duo’s 1992 LP, Glass and Suso updated the original composition of tracks like “The Mad Caidi’s Court,” “Night On The Balcony” and “The Orchard,” accommodating for their lack of players with a tightly arranged rework. A similar approach was taken from songs performed from their score work on Godfrey Reggio’s 1988 art house documentary, Powaqqatsi.

The evening reached its peak during the ensemble’s performance of Philip Glass’ Orion, a remarkable album featuring an international cast of collaborators (including Ravi Shankar, Wu Man, Ashley MacIsaac and Suso).

Between ensemble arrangements were a few captivating, wholly arresting solo sets. The first was from Jeffrey Zeigler performing Philip Glass’ solo cello composition, “Orbit.” Later in the set, Foday Musa Suso shared two original songs (“Kenyalon,” “Cloud Walk”) from his catalogue of solo material.

These songs featured a dramatic shift in the style which Suso performed the kora, a massive, 21-string harp-like instrument invented by his ancestral grandfather almost four centuries ago. Tuned in a customary West African mode, these exciting solo kora songs were more intense and much less inhibited than formal arrangements by the full ensemble.

Philip Glass and Foday Musa Soso closed the night with a stunning reprise of their opening number, “The Mad Caidi’s Court.”

Philip Glass, Foday Musa Suso, Asher Delerme and Jeffrey Zeigler. Photography by Jill Steinberg,

Set List

1. “The Mad Caidi’s Court”

2. “Shadow Dance”

3. “Rosegarden”

4. “Night On The Balcony”

5. “Orion”

6. “Orbit”

7. “Spring Waterfall”

8. “The Orchard”

9. “Kenyalon”

10. “Cloud Walk”

11. “Voices Of Octaves”

12. “The Mad Caidi’s Court (reprise)”

"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

Video: Looking at the Roots of IsiPantsula Culture Through Some of Its Leading Voices

This new video shows us why South African Pantsula is much more than just a dance move.

Pantsula is more than just a dance, it's a cultural movement and it's being revived through enthusiastic South African youth.

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In Photos: Migos' Culture Tour in Johannesburg

ATL trio Migos' Culture Tour had two South African stops–in Durban on Friday and Johannesburg on Saturday.

We attended the Joburg leg of the tour, and the group didn't disappoint, although the event itself was unacceptably disorganized. South African rappers Riky Rick and Nasty C gave great performances, especially the latter.

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