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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Music Hall: African Roots

We've been lucky the past couple weeks to see performances by two powerful artists whose musical influences are, directly or indirectly, African. We saw Angelique Kidjo this week at the Santa Fe Brewing Company. She hails from Benin in West Africa, but as she explains in the video above, her music includes elements from all over the continent, as well as the Caribbean, and American pop, rock, blues and soul. She's also a UN Good Will Ambassador and does a lot of work with Amfar and other organizations. Her performance in Santa Fe was explosively energetic, rhythmic and infectiously engaging -- almost the entire crowd was up and dancing for the entire show. Her latest album, Djin Djin, emphasizes the diverse drumming styles Africa. More Kidjo videos, including her first hit in America, an exotic cover of Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child. She'll be appearing as part of the 7.07.07 Live Earth Concert from Johannesburg, South Africa.


Joan then (1976) singing Love and Affection

The week before, we saw long-time favorite Joan Armatrading bring down the house at Paolo Soleri in Santa Fe with excellent new arrangements of her older tunes and terrific new material. She's originally from St. Kitts, one of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies, where Caribbean music draws much from African roots. She grew up in Birmingham, England and later absorbed everything the London scene had to offer musically. Armatrading's music also spans everything from reggae to folk to her unique brand of pop. Her lastest album, Into the Blues, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart last month. Not bad for a 56-year-old.


Joan now, singing Woman in Love from Into the Blues

On her new album, Joan gets to stretch out some on vocals and guitar, including some tasty slide. Below you can listen to Into the Blues and Liza from the new album.

More Armatrading videos.

June 30, 2007 at 01:14 PM in Saturday Music Hall | Permalink

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