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Electric Cowbell and Barbes APAP Showcase
8:45PM Cheick Hamala Diabate
9:30PM La Mecanica Popular
10:15 PM Feedel Band
11:00PM Hailu Mergia
11.45PM La Sabrosa Sabrosura
12:30AM Slavic Soul Party
1:30AM PitchBlak Brass Band & Dj Sound Culture
Electric Cowbell and Barbes:
For the fourth year, Barbès and Electric Cowbell present a Manhattan showcase timed to coincide with the APAP conference – an annual rite which, every January, brings musicians from around the world to New York. Barbès and Electric Cowbell, have teamed up to bring a particularly exciting roster to the ever more suspect borough of Manhattan.
Electric Cowbell is a Washington, DC/Brooklyn, NY-based record label specializing in boutique vinyl releases but it’s also a multi-faceted agency that specializes in expanding the reach of genre-bending roots-to-the-future music of the world’s peoples and culture through artist management, special event marketing, and music releases. Under the moniker of Multiflora Productions, label head Jim Thomson is currently the resident music programmer at the global dancehall Tropicalia and other venues in the Washgington, DC area. Barbès is a Brooklyn club and record label which just celebrated eleven years of eclectic programming – from classical string quartets to Georgian polyphonies, punky tarentellas and Mongolian rockers.
Elikeh uses elements of Togolese rhythms as a foundation for exploration into American-influenced blues, funk and rock to produce captivating Afro-pop tunes that are as listenable as they are danceable. Although based in indigenous traditions, Elikeh’s music has no borders, exploring global themes and personal odysseys.
The group’s leader, Massama Dogo, was born in Togo and developed his singing and songwriting ability performing with several local bands. He also acted as musical director of the University Orchestra in Togo. Elikeh recently released a new album Between 2 Worlds featuring the Malian guitarist, Vieux Farka Toure and John Kadlecik, lead Guitarist of Furthur and Dark Star Orchestra. In recent months, Elikeh has performed with The Wailers, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Bombino. Official website
8:45PM Cheick Hamala Diabate:
Malian tradition lies at the heart and foot-stomping soul of Cheick Hamala Diabate and his band, but their melodies and undeniable rhythms cut across age and ethnicity. Diabate primarily plays the ngoni and the banjo; think of the ngoni as a great-grandfather to the banjo and it all makes sense, because both instruments share the ability to convey melody and plucked percussive rhythm. Diabate is from Kita in Mali and born into a family of griots, or storytellers; his first cousin is the legendary kora player Toumani Diabate. Cheick Hamala Diabate makes his home these days in a Maryland suburb a few miles over the D.C. line, and his musicians are American-born and inspired by this lively lyrical music, which often tells a tale about Mali and its people as part of the sway and shake. It's an honor to witness such a cross-section of cultures finding a common bond in music. (Text from Bob Boilen)
Cheick has 2 new releases. The first is a full-length CD, Anka Ben Mali Denou with special guests including Toumani Diabate and Corey Harris. Also just out, on Electric Cowbell Records, Prudence, a 6 song EP on which he gets mixed-up, reworked, and reinterpreted by some of the finest producers and purveyors of groove on the planet, like NYCTrust, The Whiskey Barons, Daytoner, Jon Kennedy – who give their own unique spins to a Cheick Hamala Diabate original – Prudence. Official website
9:30PM La Mecánica Popular:
On the heels of a steady rising, breakout year in New York City, which has seen La Mecanica Popular perform & refine their "Psychedelic Salsa" sound in numerous venues throughout the area, as well as advance to become one of just 3 national finalists in Dewar's "Dewaristas: The Search for the Next Great Latin Sound," Names You Can Trust presents their debut long-player to a worldwide audience for the first time. Led off by the lead single and official video which dropped earlier in the year on NYCT, La Paz Del Freak, the album weaves it's way around the traditional stylings of Salsa & Bolero, with a heavy dose of electrico, incorporating a blend of Peruvian guitars & experimental synths, sounds and textures. They've been praised for their live performances and recordings alike, receiving endorsements and spins from notables such as Juanes, Quantic, Gilles Peterson & Bobbito to name a few.
The 9-track album of original compositions was recorded between NYC & Peru, written by band-leader Efrain Rozas and co-produced alongside Xuxi Lazzaro (Rita Indiana, Juan Luis Guerra) & Manuel Garcia Orozco. The album all features Fania percussionist Louis Bauzo [Celia Cruz/Larry Harlow] and a melting pot of musicians from New York, Colombia, Peru & Venezuela, as well as the core 8-piece ensemble that performs live, this debut album serves as a welcome connection between the roots, rhythms, and future possibilities of Tropical music and culture.
10:15PM Feedel Band
Since 1997 the Éthiopiques series has made Ethiopian music a hipster obsession, exposing jazz heads and rockists to the jazzy funkiness that emanated from East Africa in the ’60s and ’70s. (Never heard of the collection? You may have heard songs from Volume 4—there are now 28 volumes in total—in Jim Jarmusch’s 2005 film Broken Flowers.) At Drom on Jan 11 for the Electric Cowbell and Barbes APAP showcase listeners will get a chance to hear a sliver of those tunes live in a performance by Washington, D.C.’s The Feedel Band. The group features saxophonist Moges Habte, who was born in Addis Ababa, and can be heard performing the funky James Brown Band-influenced cut “Muziqawi Silt” on Éthiopiques’ Volume 13 with his ’70s group The Walias Band. The group is currently working with DC-based producer Thomas Gobena-known for his work as the bass player in Gogol Bordello and his production of another Globalfest wonder-Debo Band-on a new full-length for Electric Cowbell Records. Feedel Band’s sound can best be described as a merging of ’60s R&B and jazz with traditional Ethiopian songcraft.
HAILU MERGIA spends six days a week driving a cab to and from DULLES AIRPORT in the US' capitol WASHINGTON DC. he’s been driving a taxi for more than 10 years. Little of his customers are probably aware of the fact that the cabbie once was ETHIOPIA's most popular keyboard player and band leader of the legendary WALIAS BAND (which featured MULATU ASTATKE, among pillars of the Addis scene). The WALIAS BAND's much south-after LP TCHE BELEW goes for thousands of dollars on EBAY (if it can be found there at all) and features the original version of the monstrous MUZIQAWI SILT - arguably the best known ETHIOPIAN tune worldwide. The song has been covered by numberless acts including THE DAKTARIS and THE EX and featured in the soundtrack to JIM JARMUSCH's BROKEN FLOWERS.
In the early 1980’s, most members of the WALIAS BAND used a US-tour to escape the dictatorial MENGISTU-regime; MERGIA has been living in the DC area ever since then. The restless BRIAN SHIMKOVITZ a.k.a. AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICA has just re-issued a lesser known solo album, HAILU MERGIA & HIS CLASSICAL INSTRUMENT. The 1985 recording is a fantastic effort featuring a host of old school synths, ghostly accordions and a lovely bit of cheap drum computers. to celebrate the release of this outstanding album, HAILU MERGIA will play Electric Cowbell and Barbes Record’s showcase during APAP with a new band featuring multi-instrumentalist and producer Nikhil P. Yerawadekar of Low Mentality and Antibalas
La Sabrosa Sabrosura is a Mexican quintet known for their mix of cumbia, reggae and funk influences. Guitarist Mariano Spíndola and his friends from La Sabrosa Sabrosura join a new generation of Mexican musicians renewing again the delicious style of Colombian dance music known as cumbia-has established deep roots in Mexico over the last 20 years or more-adding elements of surf guitar, chicha, funk, and reggae. Official website
12:30AM Slavic Soul Party
Throbbing funk grooves, fiery Balkan brass, Gypsy accordion wizardry, and virtuoso jazz chops make Slavic Soul Party! NYC’s official #1 brass band for BalkanSoul GypsyFunk. SSP! has created an acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds with North American music, weaving the gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz, and Latin influences of New York’s neighborhoods seamlessly into a Balkan brass setting.
The group has released records both on Barbes Records as well as an Electric Cowbell
PitchBlak Brass Band is a Brooklyn-based 10-piece band whose style and sound represents hip-hop from the 1980s to present day. A collective of young musicians, composers and artists, PitchBlak embodies the contemporary and vibrant undercurrents of New York City. PitchBlak’s members have incredibly diverse musical backgrounds, allowing them to infuse hip-hop driven music with funk, rock, jazz and classical genres, resulting in a style as fresh as their dreads, shades and dashikis—rich brass harmonies, lyrical hooks, tongue-twisting raps, and rhythms that make your blood race. In addition to performing at such prestigious venues as Brooklyn Bowl and 92YTribeca, PitchBlak trains and mentors young musicians in community outreach programs and classrooms throughout the country. Official website