Exciting bands from sub-Saharan Africa experiment in Munich – Munich

“Fuck world music, we’re a rock band.” Mikey Coltun, the American bassist in the band of Nigerien guitarist and singer Mdou Moctar, recently ranted. The term is racist, he says. And exclusionary. It may have been well-intentioned when record companies and media representatives created the marketing label “world music” for all non-Western music at the end of the 1980s. But in the end, it was just a crocheted doily that primarily contained feel-good clichés and exoticizations. But do we need Africa as a carbon copy of Western expectations? Shouldn’t we listen to music from other cultures to shake up and expand our worldview, even our identity?

Almost a dozen highly innovative bands from sub-Saharan Africa will offer this opportunity in the next few months. They have only one thing in common: exciting dirt, unheard of energies and the freedom to use whatever they want. Three rock bands from Niger are among them. Black KeysWhen mastermind Dan Auerbach invited guitarist and singer Bombino into the studio ten years ago, his name was known around the world. The hypnotic desert rock trance sound from the southern edge of the Sahara has also taken western listeners by surprise. Now Omara “Bombino” Moctar – the full name of the Grammy-nominated musician – is touring with a new album: “Sahel” is the name of the region in which his ethnic group, the Tuareg, live. Bombino’s lyrics are political: they deal with the discrimination of nomads scattered across six countries, and the fight to preserve their language and culture. And even if you don’t understand the Tamashek chants, his psychedelic, whipping guitar grooves overcome every language barrier.

Like Bombino, Mdou Moctar also makes a living locally, primarily from wedding performances. Now, “Funeral For Justice,” Moctar’s latest album, is about unscrupulous African autocrats and the exploitation of uranium by the former colonial power France. He wants his guitar to sound like a cry for help, like a siren’s wail, says the Tuareg musician. Traditional instruments such as the three-stringed Tehardent lute or the pumpkin calabash meet rock rhythms suitable for pogoing. The sound of rebellion and pride also drives Etran de l’Air. The guitar combo from Agadez, which has been around since 1995, always turns the amplifiers up to 11 – dirty, delirious, danceable pentatonic riff fire on the trail from the Niger to the Mississippi.


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With a little help from Damon Albarn: For ten years, Fatoumata Diawara has been sharing the stage with the Englishman, and now he is co-producing her new album “London Ko”. Between Wassoulou folk and electro-pop, the young Malian creates her very own futuristic sound. Diawara not only sings for women’s rights, but also shines on the electric guitar – as the first woman in Mali. “None of the young Malian musicians I know want to copy the West,” she says. “We shouldn’t either – the whole world already hears the same stuff.”

Instead of relying on the new Afrobeats fashion, the young Ghanaians of Santrofi the almost forgotten highlife of their grandfathers. Highlife: It was a mixture of jazz and Ghanaian music that got half of West Africa dancing in the 1960s. The eight young musicians all went to school with the masters of the genre – Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas and Gyedu Bley Ambolleh. And they modernize the brass-filled highlife for a young generation. The Senegalese bassist and jazz musician Alune Wade puts us in a similar time machine. He builds a bridge between Dakar, Paris and New York, the electric Miles Davis of the 1970s and contemporary Afro-Soul.

Danceable and highly optimistic: “Kin’Gongolo Kiniata” play instruments that they make from recycled garbage. (Photo: Nizar Saleh-Hélico)

Would Fela Kuti Public Enemy and South African choral singing – then the sound of BCUCshort for Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness. It sounds dangerous. And like an overdose of adrenaline. When the seven-person collective from Soweto underscores its call-and-response chants with hypnotic bass lines, it is reminiscent of archaic warrior chants. When have self-empowerment messages ever come across as so physical and sweaty?

Last but not least, the Congo is represented with two completely disparate sound worlds: In the tradition of Congotronics Kin’Gongolo Kiniata build their instruments from recycled street garbage. Plastic bottles, tubes and brass ukuleles clatter, rattle and roar, creating a punky rhythm that is reminiscent of a wrongly wired electronic set. Danceable and – despite the allusions to poverty and war – highly optimistic. The Congo Cowboys on the other hand, are originally from Cape Town. The trio owes its name to the Lingala songs of their Congolese singer Chris Bakalanga, and to a fashion from Kinshasa in the 1950s, when youth gangs preferred to dress like cowboys. Both are the background for – who would have thought? – an African approach to country and western. Classics such as “Jolene” by Dolly Parton blossom anew with banjo, guitar, bass and Congolese kwassa-kwassa rhythms. Proof that Africa does not fit into the “world music” category or any other category. Rather, it is simply visionaries working on the pop of the future.

Santrofi, Saturday, June 1st, BCUC, Friday, August 2nd, (both Import Export), Fatoumata Diawara, Saturday, June 22nd (Rathausplatz Dachau), Bombino, Monday, June 3rd, Alune Wade, Friday, June 7th, Etran de l’Air Wednesday, June 12th, Kin’Gongolo Kiniata, Tuesday, August 6th, Mdou Moctar, Wednesday, August 21st, Congo Cowboys, Tuesday, October 15th (all MuffatwerkZellstrasse 4)

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