Tag Archives: Gigs

University of Gnawa ft. Aziz Sahmaoui make London debut

23 Nov

“The musicianship was spare, tight and ruthlessly effective” … “In Gnawa ceremonies, the adepts are moved to dance their troubles away as they whirl to the rising power of the music. At WOMAD, the audience responded in similar though untutored fashion, transported, albeit for a few minutes, to another realm.” http://www.theartsdesk.com

University of Gnawa ft. Aziz Sahmaoui

Out Now
General Pattern

“There’s not only passion aplenty but a lifetime of curiosity and learning on this debut album. The erudite Sahmaoui has mixed together his own Gnawa culture, his passion for all things rootsy and west African, his love of jazz and a penchant for the gutsy pile-driving rhythms that were ONB’s (Orchestre National de Barbès) signature, into an intelligent coherent whole.” Songlines ****
Daily Telegraph
FT ****
“… a thrilling debut.”  The Observer
Album of the Week The Independent
“Warmly recommended”. fRoots
“The album is an intoxicating affair, visceral and groove-centric yet also nuanced and multilayered.” Allaboutjazz.com
Echoes ****

The debut album, University of Gnawa ft. Aziz Sahmaoui, was produced by Martin Meissonnier, a man of impeccable taste who has previously shared his talents with the likes of   Don Cherry, Khaled, Manu Dibango, King Sunny Ade, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Seun Kuti.

The main man, multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist, Aziz Sahmaoui, featured on the first two albums from Orchestre National de Barbès as well as alongside the undeniably great Joe Zawinul in his Zawinul Syndicate for 6 years (Zawinul’s previous includes a stint with Miles Davis recording In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew; and as a founder member of Weather Report). NB the University of Gnawa’s version of Weather Report’s “Black Market”.

Aziz grew up in Marrakesh at the centre of the cultural melting pot provided by the multifarious tribes of Morocco. There he absorbed the traditional music and emerging sounds from the new Moroccan scene: Nass el Ghiwane, amaziria music, chaabi and especially the music of the healing Gnawa masters.

With several African musicians in the band, Sahmaoui is taking Gnawa music back to its roots in Guinea or Ghana although most of the band are from Senegal most notably guitarist Hervé Samb, Alioune Wade – long-standing bass player for Ismaël Lo, and Cheikh Diallo on keyboards and kora.

University of Gnawa is a great CD as well as a stunning live experience.

University of Gnawa ft. Aziz Sahmaoui
December 6th
Kemia Bar
Momo Restaurant 25 Heddon Street,
London W1B 4BH
Doors at 9.00
on stage at 9.30
Free admission

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – Update

26 Oct

New single + Live show now at 229 on 4th November + Yaaba Funk in support. Talk at SOAS on 1st November

‘If Seun and Egypt 80 are performing near you, just get yourself in there’
Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio 1)

After the acclaimed release of his latest album ‘From Africa with Fury: Rise’ (Because Music) and his rave appearances at the Royal Festival Hall and on BBC 2’s Later with Jools Holland earlier this year, Seun Anikulapo Kuti returns to the UK for two live appearances in November.

Seun Anikulapo Kuti will be appearing with his fourteen-piece band, Egypt 80, on the following dates:

Thursday 3 November
The Kazimier
4-5 Wolstenholme Square
Liverpool, L1 4JJ

Friday 4 November
Great Portland Street
London, W1
Doors 7pm
Tickets: £22.50 https://agmp.ticketabc.com/events/seun-kuti-egypt-80/

The youngest son of legendary Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, leads his father’s former band Egypt 80 and effortlessly makes live again the most original incarnation of Afrobeat. Seun began playing saxophone at age 8 and started as a backup singer for his father in Egypt 80 at age 9. He took over the band at age 15 after his father’s death. Since then, Seun has continued his father’s political and social message while adding his own perspective. “I want to make Afrobeat for my generation,” he says. “Instead of ‘get up and fight,’ it’s going to be ‘get up and think.’”

His latest album “From Africa With Fury: Rise”* which came out this April was produced by Brian Eno, John Reynolds, and Kuti, with additional production by Godwin Logie. The critically acclaimed album captures Seun and Egypt 80’s extraordinary power, fraught with the scorching rhythms and kinetic funk energy that has earned the band worldwide acclaim as one of today’s most incendiary live acts.

The success of Seun’s recent activity in the UK resulted in a MOBO nomination for ‘Best African Act’. Seun Kuti will release the blistering ‘Rise’, his first single from the album, on the 7th November. The package features a remix of the track by the US DJ and rapper, Swizz Beatz.

On ‘Rise’, perhaps the album’s most unequivocal battle cry, Kuti impels listeners to fight “the petroleum companies” that “use our oil to destroy our land,” “the diamond companies” that “use our brothers as slaves for the stone,” and “companies like “Monsanto and Halliburton” which “use their food to make my people hungry.” But where Fela’s work often featured an explicit call to revolution, Seun’s goal is subtler.  He sees his role as that of an educator, speaking truth to power in order to provoke awareness and debate throughout his beloved homeland.

“In Africa today, most people are struggling in silence,” Seun says.  “The systematic oppression of the people has made them blinded to their reality.  Everybody’s just thinking about survival.  Nobody wants to stand up for anything, everybody just wants to tow the line.  So I’m trying to make people think about these things that they are forgetting.  I want to inspire people to want things to change.”

Formed in 2006 by a group of long time friends – drummers, DJs and musicians – Yaaba Funk play an original and contemporary mix of Ghanaian Hi-Life, Afrobeat and low-down dirty funk. Yaaba Funk bring a Brixton vibe to their performance and are influenced by the greats of West Africa such as Fela Kuti and Alhaji K. Frimpong as well as the US funk of George Clinton and the punky energy of UK acts such as the Specials. Their self-produced debut album ‘Afrobeast’ was released in May 2010 through influential British record label Sterns.

“It’s a long time since I have been so excited by a band and had high expectations…the spirit, the dynamics, the whole concept, you HAVE to dance to that!” (DJ Edu BBC 1 Xtra)

Seun Kuti talk at SOAS

Tuesday 1st November, 5-6pm
Room G2, The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, Thornhaugh Street, WC1H OXG
Seun Kuti, in conversation with Prof. Stephen Chan and Dr. Lucy Duran, at The School of Oriental and African Studies.
This event has been organised by SOAS Radio and The Centre for African Studies at SOAS with Because Music.

Please contact gerry@glpr.co.uk for details.

*“From Africa With Fury: Rise” reviews:
“This is what Afrobeat is all about – and it’s the album Fela’s fans have been waiting for since his sad death in 1997.” Record Collector *****
Uncut ****
Echoes *****
Evening Standard ****
Daily Telegraph ****
DJ 8.0
Hot Press ****
Jazzwise ****
Mojo ****
Songlines ****
The Times ****
The Guardian ****
The List ****