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.

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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