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Exclusive: Chico Mann's 'Magical Thinking' Playlist

Stream a playlist of Antibalas member Chico Mann's afrobeat and Cuban gem inspirations for his new album "Magical Thinking"


Antibalas guitarist/singer Marcos García aka Chico Mann is readying the release of his upcoming full-length Magical Thinking, out April 14 via Soundway Records. As a palate whetter of sorts, Chico's compiled a video playlist of some sounds that inspired the new record. Stream it below and read about the influence of each tune from the man himself.

These tracks represent many different, though not all, aspects of my musical psyche as Chico Mann. They represent a variety of musical traditions and employ devices that I refer to all the time in my process [like] the use of the clave, harmony, call and response, polyrhythm, emotional motivations and cadence.

Most importantly though, I feel some kind of resonance with these songs because of the context in which I grew up; as the child of Cuban exiles who grew up in a suburb of New York in the 1980's. The more I think about it, these songs just barely scratch the surface of what inspired Magical Thinking, but they paint a really good picture of where I'm coming from.

TRACKLIST

Strafe "Set It Off"

So Jersey...hard to imagine growing up in the tri-state area and not having heard this song.

Stevie B "Diamond Girl"

Another Jersey classic...Classic Freestyle

Slave "Touch of Love"

Irresistible melody, groove. Makes me feel like a little kid.

Evelyn Champagne King "Love Come Down"

Reminds me of being a little kid when my cousins would be getting ready to go out clubbing. This song made such a deep impression on my psyche. So many Chico Mann musical devices come from this track.

Bonny Cepeda y Orquesta "Me Tiene Chivo"

My dad put out this record in 1982. Bonny and his brother, Richie, were regular guests at our house. One of my favorite tunes as a kid. Came back to it many decades later when I was imagining what El Merengue del Futuro (Merengue of the Future) could sound like with drum machines and synths in deep space.

Fela Kuti "Gba Mi Leti Ki N'dolowo (Slap Me Make I Get Money)"

One of my favorite Fela tunes; Tony Allen kills this rhythm. We cover this song in Antibalas.

Fela Kuti "I No Get Eye for Back"

Tough, tough, tough..."demo biring cutlass!"

Arsenio Rodriguez "El Divorcio"

First heard this song in my early twenties; took on a fresh meaning when I got divorced in 2012.

Celia Cruz y La Sonora Matancera "La Sopa en Botella"

Bola de Nieve "Drume Negrita"

Cuban parents threaten their kids with "pau-pau" if they misbehave. Can't say how many times I faced the dreaded threat of "pau-pau!" Bola de Nieve is so loving and tender in this song, I can only strive to reach this level of immediacy and emotional authenticity. This song gets me every time.

Bola de Nieve "Señor, Por Que"

These songs resonate with me on a deeply emotional and spiritual level. The only Cuba I really know is a mythical place built of stories, memories, nostalgia, and longing. My cousin, Cristina García, does a really good job of describing the feeling of being culturally displaced in her book, Dreaming in Cuban.

I have never actually been displaced, thankfully, but the feeling among Cubans in the US is palpable and is transmitted across generations. For better or worse, its part of my context as well, and probably why I feel so drawn emotionally to Celia, Arsenio, and Bola de Nieve. In reality though, the music speaks for itself. They're three of my favorite giants of Cuban music.

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Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at Christies.com. And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery


The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019


1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."


Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957


Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:

Galleries

31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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Listen to Sibusile Xaba‘s New Jazz Single 'Umdali'

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