Afropop Worldwide to Celebrate 25th Anniversary with Star-Studded Gala, 9/19
On September 19th at City Winery in New York City, public radio's Afropop Worldwide celebrates 25 years of introducing Americans-and a global online community-to the most exciting music on the planet. The gala concert features Grammy Award Nominee and ngoni (African lute) virtuoso Bassekou Kouyatefrom Mali and his electrifying band Ngoni Ba. Special guest artists include Mali's Mamadou Kellyand Sudanese singing star Omer Ehsas and others. Harry Belafonte is Honorary Chair of the gala.
From its start on NPR in 1988, APWW coined a new term, "Afropop," and gave Americans their first exposure to now-iconic artists: Youssou N'Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Khaled, Chico Science, Cesaria Évora, Thomas Mapfumo, Oumou Sangare. Today, the program explores the dynamic youth music scenes on the continent-from hiplife and azonto in Ghana, to kuduru in Angola, and bongo flava in Tanzania.
Hosted by broadcast personality Georges Collinet from Cameroon, and distributed by PRI Public Radio International to over 100 stations in the U.S., this award-winning program takes listeners and web users to intriguing musical destinations-Senegal, Tanzania, Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, Brazil, Morocco, Haiti, Colombia, Madagascar, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, and beyond. The New York Times's Jon Pareles calls the program and its companion website, afropop.org, "a well spring of African and world culture," adding, "no other organization I know does so well in helping it reach the listeners it deserves."
Gala headliner Bassekou Kouyate is a living legend. His instrument, the ngoni, is a staple of Malian tradition, but Bassekou has brought it center stage, filling out his ensemble Ngoni Ba with four ngonis that lock, weave, and improvise with rock god prowess, while singer Ami Sacko showers the ensemble's spiky grooves with high-flying griot vocals. At the gala, Bassekou-a friend of the show since 1991-will be inducted into the Afropop Hall of Fame. This award recognizes African artists for their exceptional artistic talent and for their major roles in connecting American audiences to Africa through their music.