Bombino Drops 1st Single off New Album “Deran” and plays Zebulon LA on July 17!


by Tom Nguyen

Tuareg guitarist and singer-songwriter Bombino from Agadez, Niger just announced his next album Deran, being released May 18, 2018, and you can listen to the new addictive track “Tehigren” and pre-order the album below.

The song is a fusion of Tuareg rock and reggae, which he likes to call “Tuareggae”: the first half in a slower reggae drum and bass, and then it finishes with his frenetic, blistering and masterful guitar riffs. According to a JamBase interview, Bombino says “The song is about my own struggle with being on the road all the time, away from my home. It is a nostalgic song, remembering the beauty of my home.”

The album was recorded in Casablanca, Morocco, and he has also announced summer tour dates in support of the new album. Bombino will perform at Zebulon LA on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018, and tickets go on sale Friday, March 9th. Be sure to get yours, because Zebulon LA has been booking incredible artists of the African diaspora and the show will sell out fast!

Weekly Highlights: Mbongwana Star, Ibeyi, Bombino, Imarhan

DSC00432
by Tom Nguyen

It has been an incredible April month for LA fans of music from Africa and its diaspora, as many new bands performed for the first time here, as well as returning favorites. After I saw Songhoy Blues (read my previous review), I was looking forward to seeing Mbongwana Star from the DRC, a new band with former members of Staff Benda Bilili.

good2

A lot of Staff Benda Bilili fans like myself were saddened to hear of the band’s acrimonious breakup but according to a Guardian interview, Yakala “Coco” Ngambali and Nsituvuidi “Theo” Nzonza have not wasted any time dwelling on it, as they take their music to a whole other level with Mbongwana Star. The music is raucous, energetic and full of the infectious soukous dance rhythms Congolese music is known for. Add to that the hard-charging electric guitar riffs and drums, and you have a combustible, unstoppable dance party! Here’s a taste of what went down at The Roxy:

good1

Continue Reading →

Weekly Highlights: Daymé Arocena, Quantic and Songhoy Blues

IMG_6955
by Tom Nguyen

TOO MANY superlatives to describe Daymé Arocena, the talented Cuban singer and composer who graced us with her presence last Monday, March 28 at CFAER: Incredible, charismatic, glowing, powerful, humorous, magnetic. I had chills during so much of her set and I definitely wasn’t alone…everyone in the room was enthralled by her.

Daymé let us know she was playing a different set than her usual…much more rumba faithful to the documentary Havana Cultura Rumba Sessions: La Clave, the very thorough documentary on the history and current state of rumba music and dance in Havana, that was screened before the show. With clave in hand and an excellent band backing her, including LA’s beloved Lazaro Galarraga on congas, she took us on a soaring journey of Afro Cuban rumba and jazz with her powerful voice.

Daymé Arocena is not just a traditional Afro-Cuban singer. She does so much experimentation…her rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s Cry Me A River with just clave and congas accenting her voice was such an eccentric and unique Afro-Cuban take on a soulful classic. In fact, she told us she was trying new compositions that very night. So bold, so confident! She always humored us between songs and got playful towards the end of her set with a very funky Don’t Unplug My Body. Thanks to Docta Sez for capturing some of her greatness!

Continue Reading →