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Behind the Scenes at Sauti Sol's New York Concert

We went backstage with East Africa's favorite pop-group, Sauti Sol and their openers Jojo Abot and Vanessa Mdee. Check out our photos.

Last month East Africa's favorite band, Sauti Sol, were crowned Africa's best group at the MTV Africa Awards in Johannesburg. Being long-time fans here at Okayafrica, we partnered with the band to bring them stateside. 


The result was that on Sunday night, the Kenyans sold out New York City's Highline Ballroom—kicking off a U.S. tour that is sure to win them some new American followers.

Sauti Sol are promoting their long-awaited third album, Live and Die In Afrika, which features hits like “Sura Yako,” “Nishike” and “Kuliko Jana,” and was one of our favorite releases of 2015.

We were backstage at the Highline Ballroom snapping pics of the boys and their openers, the New York-based Jojo Abot and the Tanzanian pop star Vanessa Mdee.

Check out the photos below.

Vanessa Mdee and Savara Mudigi

Jojo Abot

Savara Mudigi and Willis Austin Chimano, relaxing before the show.

Bien-Aime Baraza

Savara Mudigi and Polycarp Otieno

 

 

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Photo: Sachyn Mital for The Town Hall.

This Is What Fatoumata Diawara's NYC Concert Looked Like

In photos: the Malian singer performed a stunning show at The Town Hall.

Fatoumata Diawara played a mesmerizing show in New York City over the weekend.

The Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor had The Town Hall swaying to a selection of songs from her latest Grammy-nominated album, Fenfo, as well as other classic cuts.

Fatoumata was joined on the night by a four-piece backing band that followed her every word and guitar riff, as she showcased her special blend of traditional Malian music and striking Bambara vocal melodies with elements of modern rock, funk, R&B and afrobeat.

"I didn't want to sing in English or French because I wanted to respect my African heritage," Fatoumata has mentioned."But I wanted a modern sound because that's the world I live in. I'm a traditionalist, but I need to experiment, too. You can keep your roots and influences but communicate them in a different style."

Fatoumata's main message, one which she stated throughout the show, is one of hope for the future of Africa and of female empowerment. It's "about the world, peace, how Africa can be a better place, especially for women, because I am one, and I am a survivor," she says. "I want to encourage those who have lost hope."

Browse through pictures from her show at The Town Hall, which was opened by Guatemala's Gabby Moreno, below.

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Photo by Ngadi Smart.

Spotlight: Artist, Ngadi Smart, Captures Black Sensuality, Sexuality & Culture Through Striking Photography

In her new series, "Latitude," the Sierra Leonean artist explores the rich indigenous culture in Grand-Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire through the lens of fashion.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight the art of Ngadi Smart, a Sierra Leonean photographer visual artist and illustrator based between Côte d'Ivoire and London. View images from her latest series "Latitude," and read more about the inspirations behind her work. Keep up with Smart via her website and on Instagram.

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Photo: Hugo Glendinning & Gavin Rodgers.

The 10 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Rema, Niniola x Femi Kuti, Tony Allen, 2Baba, Olamide, Burna Boy, Fireboy DML and more

Here are the best tracks that came out of the buzzing Nigerian scene in February.

Follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 19 Best South African Songs of the Month

Featuring Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa, The Big Hash, Nduduzo Makhathini and more.

Our list of the best South African songs of the month includes new singles that dropped in October, alongside those that were highlighted by getting the music video treatment.

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