The collaboration between a rapper/beatboxer/singer-songwriter from Syracuse, NY and an electrifying African kora sensation from Guinea pushes genre boundaries and earns raves. Driscoll and Kouyate blend hip-hop, spoken word, funk, and soulful, accessible rock with Afrobeat, reggae and irrepressible African grooves.
"A boundary-trampling high-octane hybrid in which the lightning fast electrified licks of
Kouyate are matched by the explosive energy of Driscoll's rapid fire rhyming."
"A gloriously accessible collision of styles. It's an unlikely collaboration that works, magnificently."
- The Guardian
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I am saddened to report that the singer and mbira player Chiwoniso Maraire passed away yesterday in Zimbabwe. She was 37 and died after spending 10 days in a hospital in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe where she had sought treatment for chest pains caused by a lung infection.
I heard the news yesterday afternoon from Keith Farquharson, Chi's producer and close collaborator on the Cumbancha album Rebel Woman.
Chi and Keith came to the Cumbancha studio in Vermont during the summer of 2007 to record additional tracks and mix the album Rebel Woman. Chi and Keith stayed at my mother's house in nearby Burlington during the session. It was a beautiful Vermont summer and we spent some nice times together enjoying the lush Green Mountains while working on the album.
Chi returned to Vermont the following summer to rehearse with a newly formed band created for the album release tour. We rented a beautiful old house on the banks of Lake Champlain for the band, which included Chi's brother Tendai and sister Tawona. Rehearsals took place in Middlebury at the home of musician and sound technician Ron Rost. While the rehearsals and subsequent tour had many challenges, they were filled with excitement and memorable moments.
After trying for a while to make a life for her and her daughters in the United States Chi decided to return to Zimbabwe. Since then we emailed each other and spoke on the phone occasionally, notably after the recent deaths of her ex-husband Andy Brown and close musical collaborator Adam Chisvo. I had no idea she was ill and news of her death came as a total shock.
Chi was a loving mother, a passionate personality and a truly gifted artist. I will miss her deeply and send my condolences to Chi's two daughters, brothers, sisters and other family members. It was an honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented musician.
Photo by Bugs Steffen
The collaboration between a rapper, beatboxer, singer-songwriter from Syracuse, NY and an electrifying African kora sensation from Guinea pushes genre boundaries and earns raves.
Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective’s 2007 album Wátina was widely praised as a masterpiece and introduced the world to the soulful melodies and powerful rhythms of the Garifuna people of Central America. Palacio passed away suddenly a year after the album was released, leaving his community wondering who would carry the torch of cultural revival and musical innovation. On Ayó (“Goodbye” in the Garifuna language) The Garifuna Collective and Wátina producer Ivan Duran have created a magical album whose songs of heartbreak, hope and joy will take your breath away.
Danny Michel first fell in love with the Central American country of Belize 15 years ago when he traveled there for a break from a cold Canada winter. What started as a vacation from the grind of touring and recording changed Michel’s life and led him down a long and winding road towards the creation of Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me, a stunning collaboration between a Canadian indie rocker, an innovative Belizean producer and some of the top musicians in the respected Garifuna music scene.