Afropop worldwide is your source for music and stories from the African planet. We explore the the world through sound, from the ancient past to the cutting edge present, combining music, history, and culture. Distributed by PRI.
Changüí is a little understood, loose and lively, community-based music of eastern Cuba. In this program we sample recordings from the 2021 box set Changüí: The Sound of Guantánamo, and hear from Gianluca Tramontana, the man who made the recordings. Rooted in Afro-Haitian music, pan-Caribbean styles, Spanish poetic traditions and more, Changüí emerged in the mid 19th century in plantations, not unlike the blues. We also hear from musician and scholar Ben Lapidus, author of the only English language book on Changüí, and we update the story with Changüí fusions into jazz, salsa and hip-hop. Prepare to dance! Produced by Banning Eyre.
The Mighty Orchestra Baobab
Fifty years ago, the president of Senegal’s nephew was putting together a band for his new, upscale Dakar nightclub, and he recruited a handful of musicians who are still together today. Bringing together elements from their homes across West Africa to the Afro-Cuban style of the time, the Orchestra Baobab became one of Dakar’s top bands. From the rough recordings made in Club Baobab, to their 21st century revival, their music ranges from slow folk ballads to wah-pedal heavy psychedelia. We’ll talk to members Rudy Gomis, Barthelemy Attisso, Theirno Kouyate, Balla Sidibe and more, and hear selections from a truly one-of-a-kind group, the specialists in all styles, half-a-century old and still evolving: the mighty Orchestra Baobab.
Produced by Ben Richmond in 2020
Closeup: Yasmin Williams—Guitar Hero To Guitar Hero
With a style all her own, Yasmin Williams has gone from video game virtuoso to one of the freshest and most original solo acoustic guitarists today. She talks to producer Ben Richmond about her influences, her unique instrumentation, and forging her own path as a young Black woman artist in a genre dominated by white dudes.
Afropop Closeup Season 6
The Kenyan capital is roaring into the 2020s. On this program singer/songwriter/producer Eric Wainaina introduces us to a rising cadre of artists rocking the Nairobi scene. From hip-hop and dancehall to r&b and Gengetone, the city’s cultural melting pot is coming to a boil at a time of political change when artists are finding their voices to speak out against government corruption and champion social justice movements. We meet artists on the front line--Juliani, Karun and Blinky Bill—and take a side trip to Kakuma, one of Africa’s largest refugee camps where music, including hop-hop, is literaliy a matter of survival. Produced by Banning Eyre.
Soul To Soul At 50
On March 6, 1971, a group of some of the top musicians from the United States – Ike & Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, The Staples Singers, and more – boarded a plane bound for Ghana to perform in a musical celebration that was dubbed the “Soul to Soul Festival”. Thousands of audience members filled Accra’s Black Star Square for a continuous 15 hours of music. The festival was planned in part for the annual celebration of Ghana’s independence, but also an invitation for a “homecoming” for these noted African-American artists to return to Africa. This episode revisits the famed music festival at its 50th Anniversary and explores the longstanding legacy of cultural exchange with African diasporans originally set forth in the 1950s by Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana. Tune in for interviews with noted musicologist John Collins, poet and scholar Tsitsi Ella Jaji, concert goers and more. Produced by Brandi Howell.
The Cameroon-Cuba Connection
Special guest Dr. Ivor Miller, back from a 2021 research trip to Cameroon, takes us into the complexities of south Cameroonian spiritual tradition and its connection to the Cuban Abakuá secret society for men. Featuring Abakuá-themed music from Cuba, ceremonial music from Cameroon, and Batanga pop by Chief Eko Roosevelt, Pablo Gabbana, and Emily Sadey.
Produced by Ned Sublette.