Thomas Mapfumo, of Zimbabwe, is a revolutionary musician in every sense of the word. Musically, his band was one of the first to experiment with combining the mbira (thumb piano) and electric guitars and he was the first to put his own lyrics to traditional Shona melodies. Politically, these songs became the anthems of the freedom fighters during White minority rule.
When the revolution succeeded and Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, he continued to be a gadfly. He questioned the integrity of Robert Mugabe and the current government. He now lives in exile and while immensely popular his music is banned in the country where he is most beloved.
Live Performance from the Source featuring Abdoulaye Diabate, plus a demonstration of the fula flute and interview with the founder of the Source, Sylvain Leroux.
This episode features a demonstration of one of the signature techniques of the Fula Flute by Sylvain Leroux and a live performance recorded at the Zinc Bar by Erik Gunderson and originally aired on WKCR when Sylvain was my guest.
The lineup on the recording is
Sylvain Leroux -Fula Flute, Western flutes and Saxophone
Abdoulaye Diabate – Guitar and vocals
Bailo Bah – Fula Flute
Abdoulaye Alhassane – guitar
Mamadou Ba – Bass
Emi Yabuno – Keys
Sean Dixon – Drums
You can catch the Source the first Friday of the month and the Zinc Bar on 3rd street between Sullivan and Thomson in the West Village. Sylvain also has an exciting show coming up for the River to River festival on June 25 with his Fula Flute Ensemble.
McCoy Tyner is true jazz royalty. He’s recorded over 50 albums as a leader and, with John Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones, created the sound which critics refer to as John Coltrane’s “Classic Quartet.” This group’s transcendent sound completely changed the course of music. Sitting down with him for a discussion was one of the great honors of my life.
The Mandingo Abassadors are a classic band, half from West-Africa and half from Brooklyn. Their leader Mamady Kouyate, from Guinea is best known as the guitarist in the classic Bembeya Jazz National.
They were happy enough with the sound I got in the studio that they released the recordings from that session as a album:
Ismael Kouyate – vocals; Mamady Kourouma – guitar; Oran Etkin – tenor sax & clarinets; Sylvain Leroux – flute, tambin and alto sax; Andy Algire – drums; Nick Cudahy – bass and Mamady Kouyate – guitar.