Afrocubism Brings Out The Sun!

Posted on Jul 11, 2011

Afrocubism brought out the sun at Stern Grove this past Sunday. It was overcast and somewhat cold at the lovely Sigmund Stern Grove for this free KPFA co-sponsored show. The group of Cuban and Malian music icons known as Afrocubism featuring Buena Vista Social Club’s singer/guitarist Eliades Ochoa, renowned kora master Toumani Diabate and Ngoni (string instrument similar to a lute) god Bassekou Kouyate took the crowd who was already riled up by opening act Pellejo Seco to the next level.

From the opening notes of their catchy “Mali Cuba”, the engaging, seductive blend of Cuban and African music performed by the 12 piece Afrocubism ensemble entranced listeners, delighted dancers and bowled over skeptics with their joyous hypnotic melodies and sheer virtuosity. They generously stretched out their songs to feature the members of their great band and to showcase the principal players which included Kasse Mady Diabate’s vocals, Djelimady Tounkara’s infectious guitar work and Fode Lassana Diabate’s balafon which anchored the sound.
The show ended up being a love fest between the group and audience. This group’s musical concept was the original idea that brought Ry Cooder to Cuba to record with the Malian based musicians but it never happened since the Africans never showed up. Ry got the assistance of Juan De Marcos who recruited the musicians and vocalists who ended up creating the Buena Vista Social Club sessions and the rest is history. Finally last year, the Afrocubism concept was recorded in Cuba and released to world wide acclaim. If you missed the show at Stern Grove, you make your own party by picking up their fine recording “Afrocubism” on the World Circuit/Nonesuch label.