French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura expresses an effortless but firm candor in her lyrics (she sings in French) that’s cleanly mirrored in her music. Her breakout single, 2018’s “Djadja,” was a relentless kiss-off; its unwavering dancehall beat and bubbling synth percussion provided the perfect backdrop to Nakamura’s exhausted yet ferocious vocals. This synchronicity permeates her third […]
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 […]
Malian singer and activist Oumou Sangaré strips songs from her electrifying 2017 album into their warmest, barest forms on Acoustic
In 2017, celebrated Malian Wassalou singer and activist Oumou Sangaré released Mogoya, her first new album since 2009. During the intervening eight years, she’d largely stepped away from the spotlight to pursue a variety of business ventures, including establishing agricultural projects, opening a hotel, and launching a new car, the Oum Sang. For Sangaré each […]
Five must-see African films
Five African film classics for this Black Panther moment.
Sights to see at CIMMfest
The Chicago Movies & Music Festival makes its November debut with feature films about David Bowie, queer punk, New Orleans piano, gospel quartets, Ozzfest, Malian traditional music, and lots more.
The brightest lights at the 2017 World Music Festival
The World Music Festival is a constellation of international stars—including Afrobeat scion Seun Kuti, rambunctious Cape Verdean accordionist Bitori, and Afro-Venezuelan flame keeper Betsayda Machado.
Discovering Malian kamalé ngoni virtuoso Vieux Kanté
A posthumous album reveals the prodigious talent of kamalé ngoni innovator Vieux Kanté.
Mali’s Habib Koité returns to the Chicago area in support of a chill new album
The Malian star plays Evanston tonight.
12 O’Clock Track: “Beautiful Africa,” electrified Malian sounds of Rokia Traore
A driving, extroverted song from the forthcoming electric album by Malian singer Rokia Traore
More weekend music: SMOD and Keith Fullerton Whitman
More live music options for busy Chicago weekend
Malian singer Khaira Arby returns to Chicago
Despite the strife in Mali, Khaira Arby is on the road, and returns to Chicago with strong new music in tow
Global vs. local, North African edition
The Touré-Raichel Collective vs. Music From Saharan Cellphones: foreigners make better music when they aren’t making it for you
12 O’Clock Track: Sidi Touré, “Ni See Ay Ga Done”
A song from Koïma, the new Thrill Jockey release by Malian guitarist Sidi Touré
Doing the cha-cha in Bamako
DePaul Art Museum’s “Studio Malick” shows work by Malian photog Malick Sidibé
Muntu Dance Theatre’s “Spice It Up”
Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago focuses on tradional African modes in “Spice It Up”