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(Photo Courtesy of Awesome Tapes From Africa)

Antoinette Konan, Vanguard of Ivorian Music, Gets a Comeback

The singer and percussionist is getting a reissue via Awesome Tapes from Africa.

Prepare your ears and ready the dance floor for the return of the "Queen of the Ahoko." Awesome Tapes from Africa (ATFA) is reissuing the queen Antoinette Konan's eponymous 1986 album in the coming weeks. For music aficionados, crate diggers and those new to Konan's music alike—this is excellent news.


This album burst across the international scene in the late '80s as what the label calls "a veritable UFO of instrumental force and contemporary pop sensibility landing in a boiling pot of diverse, creative characters inhabiting Abidjan, Ivory Coast." Perhaps this is why Brian Shimkovitz of ATFA says Konan's album is "highly original and powerful music that I've been obsessed with for a long time." Shimkovitz claims that Konan approached traditional and regional folk music of the Baoule in a way that brought it into a modern, synthesized and electronic world. She has a way of taking something well-established and making it exciting.

You can hear this all over the album. For instance, one of the star players in Konan's music is the ahoko, a wooden percussion instrument that looks simple with only three pieces (see album art). When Konan pairs it with a bit of psychedelic bass and a hypnotic melody, however, the instrument grows to sizes it never knew before. The other star player in her music is her voice—so bold and crystal clear that it makes any listener lean in. And audiences have been leaning in for decades. Konan is essentially a household name in Ivory Coast, but her prowess and mark on African music has yet to reach new international generations in the way it did when Antoinette Konan was first released.

Shimkovitz hopes to change that with this reissue and digital release. As he tells OkayAfrica:

"Most people in America don't know about the music scene and crucial history of Ivorian music, it's so important and influential across Africa and beyond. I hope this reissue introduces some more people to how much different music is happening in Abidjan and Ivory Coast, it's overwhelmingly vast. This is just one example of how indigenous music mixes with more club-oriented sounds there and if you look around there are enormous numbers of singers, producers, djs and dancers doing insanely creative stuff in Ivory Coast."

The reissue of Antoinette Konan will be released on November 15. You can preorder the album here.

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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'

Sibusile Xaba's single 'Umdali' featuring Naftali and Fakazile Nkosi comes ahead of Brownswood Recording's highly-anticipated contemporary jazz compilation album 'Indaba Is'.