Fatour Seidi Ghali is surely not the first person to become enamored of an older sibling’s guitar. When she was about ten, her older brother, Ahmoudou Madassane (who currently plays rhythm guitar for Mdou Moctar), brought a guitar from Libya back to their home in Illighadad, Niger. Since Tuareg girls aren’t encouraged to pick up […]
Sublime Frequencies releases an entrancing field recording of traditional Ghanaian gyil music
First things first. The gyil is a traditional West African xylophone with dried gourd resonators hung below most or all of its hardwood keys. (A similar instrument is called a “balafon” in Francophone Africa.) It’s usually tuned pentatonically, and its full, luminous tone is haloed with a cicada-like buzz, created by vibrating membranes made from […]
Malian guitarist Sidi Touré dials it back on an all-acoustic, digital-only album
Count Sidi Touré among the billions of people around the world who’ve had to revise their plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Malian singer-guitarist’s previous album, Toubalbero, was recorded live in Bamako’s best studio in order to best showcase his band’s vibrant combination of electric guitars and traditional regional instruments. But between the […]
The personal and spiritual growth doesn’t stop in Burna Boy’s Twice as Tall
As much as mainstream Western music-media outlets compare contemporary African artists to one another, often flattening the expansiveness of their sounds under a single Afrobeats umbrella, some musicians from the continent continue to prove they’re in a league of their own with every new release. Burna Boy’s new fifth studio album, Twice as Tall, is […]
Quin Kirchner merges eclectic sounds into transcendent jazz on The Shadows and the Light
The Shadows and the Light, the new album from Chicago drummer Quin Kirchner, is an eclectic collection of freewheeling studio performances with a diverse range of sounds. On its second track, “Batá Chop,” the album features influences of West African batá drum and traces of Afro-Cuban drumming (which Kirchner learned as a teenager while studying […]
Zamrock legends W.I.T.C.H. make their U.S. debut
Zamrock is an old strain of African popular music that’s increasingly returning to the spotlight. The term references its country of origin, Zambia, as well as a particular funky brand of acid rock. Equally indebted to James Brown and Black Sabbath, the Zamrock sound was birthed in the 70s by the band Musi-O-Tunya, solidified by […]
Finding peace and security after asylum
Therapists and social workers trained in trauma care are helping asylum seekers along their legal and healing journey.
One-stop Senegalese shop
Come for the colorful textiles and raw black soap at Gorée Shop, stay for the food.
I Am Not a Witch signals the auspicious arrival of a fierce new talent, director Rungano Nyoni
A Zambian girl, falsely accused and imprisoned, refuses to be objectified or underestimated.
People of Culture will be taking over the DuSable Museum this weekend
A celebration of African culture will be happening at the DuSable Museum.
Five must-see African films
Five African film classics for this Black Panther moment.
Veteran Kenyan-Congolese band Orchestre les Mangelepa enter their fifth decade
With the new album Last Band Standing, Orchestre les Mangelepa position themselves for long-overdue global acclaim.
Marc Bamuthi Joseph brings his futbol-themed ‘freedom suite’ to the MCA
Inspired by a trip to Africa prior to the 2010 World Cup, /peh-LO-tah/ explores the global and personal impact of soccer.
Terminal cancer—and the band Toto—is bringing my family together for my parents’ last date
A Toto show in the Chicago suburbs has become my dad’s “wake before he sleeps,” now that he’s been diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer.
Block Museum kicks off a season of urgent art with Kader Attia’s ‘Reflecting Memory’
The French-Algerian artist explores loss through repair.