The Cedar celebrates African music, culture and community throughout the month of July.
All shows are All-Ages, with a standing open floor shows for dancing. Please join us!
Kicking off African Summer is Debo Band an eleven piece ensemble led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye. Since their inception in 2006, the band has won rave reviews for their groundbreaking take on Ethiopian pop music, which incorporates traditional scales and vocal styles, alongside American soul and funk rhythms, and instrumentation reminiscent of Eastern European brass bands.
Neglected tracks inspire Debo Band to do more than simply cover them. They rearrange, up the ante, and add new sections and Amharic lyrics to songs, including hits from Somalia (“Kehulum Abliche”) and Okinawa. They keep the spirit of the original without being overly beholden to it. The process can get wildly imaginative, finding flights of fantasy in underappreciated historical moments, be it Duke Ellington’s travels through Ethiopia or the musical impact of Haile Selassie’s commitment of Ethiopian soldiers to the Korean War.
The Cedar is happy to welcome back Femi Kuti after his incredible 2013 show. The eldest son of musical giant Fela Kuti, and grandchild of traditional Nigerian aristocrat, political and women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Femi Kuti has paved his own path playing his own blend of high-energy Afrobeat. Like his father, Femi has shown a strong commitment to social and political causes throughout his musical career and continues to fight for a free and fair Nigeria.
Opener ZULUZULUU is a new experimental project fronted by Greg Grease that combines rap, soul, jazz, funked-up beats, and hard grooves and sounds like an Afro/Astro world where “Fela Kuti meets Parliament and smokes with the Art Ensemble of Chicago.”
Co-presented by The Cedar & Sue McLean & Associates
Born in 1973 in Dakar, Pape Cheikh Diouf is from a guewel (griot) family originally of the Sine-Saloum Delta region in Southwestern Senegal. Along with his enormous talent, Pape Diouf is known and admired for representing certain human and social values that are central to the Senegalese culture. His themes, expressed in the Wolof language, are about love and life’s lessons, and especially about ”teranga” – mutual respect, acceptance and hospitality as a way of life. His lyrics speak directly to the hearts of Senegalese everywhere, many of whom live abroad and are nostalgic for their homeland.
Rounding out this year’s African Summer is Krar Collective. The band consists of Temesegen Zeleke on the krar (a 5 or 6 stringed harp), singer Genet Asefa and drummer Grum Begashaw. An important part of the Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition, the krar is steeped in the practice of wandering troubadours performing in cafes around the country, while legend has it that the instrument itself descends from King David’s lyre. Zeleke gives these traditions a contemporary twist and, in his hands, plugged in and strummed with hypnotic grooves, the krar becomes a gritty, ancient rock guitar. The unstoppable trio, dubbed ‘the White Stripes of Ethiopia’ for their minimalist rocky sound, base their repertoire on traditional Ethiopian songs, but have created a unique style with timeless appeal. Vocals are full of collective cadences and long solo poems; musical stops and starts create an organic syncopation, as the krar alternates from being a lead to a rhythm instrument.
Please note, this show has been RESCHEDULED, from 7/24/16 at 7:30pm to 7/22/16 at 8pm.
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