International music star and humanitarian activist Rocky Dawuni straddles the musical boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S. to create an appealing "Afro-Roots" sound that unites generations and cultures. Filled with uplifting and irresistible songs, Rocky's sixth album, and first on Cumbancha, blends inspirations from his diverse experiences while expanding on his identity as an artist, a proud son of Africa and as a true world citizen. Cumbancha will release Branches of the Same Tree worldwide on March 31st, 2015.
Inspired by the soulful beats of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, the positive messages and deep grooves of Bob Marley and the infectious, sing-along anthems of Michael Franti, K'naan and Matisyahu, Rocky Dawuni's songs blend elements of reggae, Afrobeat and global pop into an enticing new sound. The songs on Branches of the Same Tree also reflect influences of New Orleans funk, Brazilian samba, even the lilting sounds of Hawaiian ukulele, seamlessly integrated into a unique and approachable style. The album features appearances by an all-star lineup of guest musicians, including veterans from Michael Franti and Spearhead, Steel Pulse, Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals and Ziggy Marley. Already a superstar in West Africa with a devoted international fan base, Branches of the Same Tree promises to bring Rocky's music to even wider audiences around the world.
Born in Ghana and based in Los Angeles, Rocky is a galvanizing performer whose infectious grooves and dance-inducing anthems have consistently excited fans. Blessed with easy-going charisma, Rocky has performed and collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Jason Mraz, Janelle Monae and John Legend, among many others. Named one of Africa's Top 10 global stars by CNN, he's showcased his talent around the world at major festivals and prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Rocky's eloquence, cultural diplomacy and successful melding of music and activism have led him to become a passionate spokesperson for various global causes. He has joined forces with Product (RED), UNICEF, the Carter Center and the UN Foundation. In 2012, Rocky was appointed the Tourism and Cultural Ambassador of Ghana and World Ambassador for the Musicians Union of Ghana. The same year, he was named a United Nations Foundation Ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, alongside actress Julia Roberts and chef José Andrés.
According to Rocky, "Branches of the Same Tree was inspired by the songs and melodies I have heard over the years during my travels. It contains snippets of my personal observations of various cultures and global musical developments." The album's title reflects Rocky's belief that recognition of our shared humanity is the key to peaceful coexistence among all peoples of the world. "When we recognize we are all branches of the same tree we begin to see our common roots," argues Rocky, "this is the cornerstone of true Oneness."
2015 tour begins January 29th and continues until end of May
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate return to North America on the heels of a triumphant debut in 2014. After the release of their acclaimed album Faya by Cumbancha Discovery and a successful tour in the summer of 2014, Driscoll and Kouyate, backed by bassist John Railton and drummer James Breen, bring their electrifying collaboration to venues across the US and Canada starting January 29th.
The well-worn and often overblown expression "music is a common language" has never been more apropos in the case of Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate. Driscoll contributes the rapping, looping, beatboxing and songwriting talents he developed growing up in Syracuse, New York and during his own successful recording career. Kouyate, already a phenomenon in African music circles, has blown minds and ears with his hypersonic electrified riffs on the kora, bringing the exalted West African harp into the 21stCentury with use of distortion peddles, effects and previously-unimagined technical prowess.
"A gloriously accessible collision of styles. It's an unlikely collaboration that works, magnificently.” - The Guardian
Check www.cumbancha.com/events for updates
|January 29||Boston, MA||Johnny D's|
|January 30||Burlington, VT||Arts Riot|
|February 1||New York, NY||Joe's Pub|
|February 5||Montreal, QC||Le Ballatou|
|February 6||Ithaca, NY||The Haunt|
|February 7||Syracuse, NY||The Lost Horizon|
|February 8||Toronto, ON||Lula Lounge|
|February 12||Dayton, OH||University of Dayton|
|February 13||Bowling Green, OH||Grounds for Thought|
|February 15||Minneapolis, MN||The Cedar Cultural Center|
|February 16||Chicago, IL||Mayne Stage|
|April 23 - 27||Lafayette, LA||Festival International|
|April 28||Brooklyn, NY||BRIC House Stoop Sereies|
|May 17||Joshua Tree, CA||Joshua Tree Music Festival|
|May 31||Redway, CA||Summer Arts and Music Festival|
New tour dates are being added every day, so please check www.cumbancha.com/events for the latest updates.
Press Kit: http://www.cumbancha.com/joeandsekou/press
For more details or to arrange interviews, please contact: Seanan Denizot - email@example.com...read more
"African Thriller", the first single from Rocky Dawuni's forthcoming Branches of the Same Tree (out March 31st, 2015) embodies a unique and accessible "Afro-Roots" sound: a sumptuously funky blend of soul, pop, Afrobeat and reggae grooves. With his internationally recognized charisma and reputation as a dedicated activist, Rocky is a galvanizing performer and now he wants you to remix his celebratory track!
The “African Thriller Remix Contest” is your opportunity to express yourself through Rocky Dawuni’s music in whatever genre of your choosing. All are encouraged to enter and winners will be selected directly by Rocky. Be as creative as you can and transform Rocky’s music!
In his own words: "My song 'African Thriller' represents a cultural fusion of musical styles and challenging boundaries. I believe it lends itself to exciting and interesting sonic interpretations."
This month, the electrifying video for “African Thriller” features DJ and Producer Jeremey Sole's remixed version of the song. Sole, an acclaimed host on Los Angeles' taste-defining radio station KCRW has previously remixed tracks for Femi Kuti, David Bowie, Thievery Corporation and Quantic among others. Watch the video here.
All details including prizes, rules, submission guidelines and deadlines can be found con the contest's page here....read more
Cumbancha recording artist Rocky Dawuni has released his new music video for the hit single "African Thriller" in partnership with Entertainment Weekly. The timing of the video launch occured just a few days after the 40th anniversary of the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, and the video draws inspiration from that momentous event. At a time when news about Africa is dominated by the Ebola crisis, "African Thriller" offers a positive message celebrating African strength, unity and indomitable spirit. Follow this link to view the video on EntertainmentWeekly.com....read more
In her new song "We Are Here," Keys calls on artists to build bridges and promote peace
Raichel’s newest collaboration with Malian Muslim artist Vieux Farka Touré, The Paris Session, out tomorrow, September 30
Video of Keys’ "We Are Here," feat. Raichel and Amr as part of the Global Citizen Festival, Live on NBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfgiqFme-Fs&list=UUGwuWQ_oCQfQ4lPASPbCvYg
Israeli pianist, singer and composer Idan Raichel, along with Palestinian singer and qanun player Ali Amr, came to New York over the weekend to perform with Alicia Keys, Saturday, September 27, in Central Park as part of the Global Citizen Festival. The event featured artists including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Sting, No Doubt and Carrie Underwood, and appearances by numerous global dignitaries and world leaders. For an audience of 60,000, Keys, Raichel and Amr performed “We Are Here,” a new song Keys wrote to unite her audience in a global effort for peace, and to encourage young people to play an active role in making the world a better place. Raichel has crossed boundaries throughout his career, collaborating with artists of different cultural backgrounds, religions and national origins, including Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in the Touré Raichel Collective, whose new album, The Paris, Session is released by Cumbancha tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 30)....read more
The follow-up to "The Tel Aviv Session," one of the most critically acclaimed albums of recent memory, "The Paris Session" reunites Israeli pianist Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in a cross-cultural masterpiece that defies expectations and easy categorization.
PREORDER NOW AT THE CUMBANCHA STORE AND RECEIVE A LIMITED EDITION SET OF TOURE-RAICHEL COLLECTIVE POSTCARDS FREE!: http://shop.cumbancha.com
PREORDER NOW ON ITUNES: http://bit.ly/1qhRDPL
ON TOUR IN NOVEMBER 2014 AND FEBRUARY 2015. FOR MORE INFO VISIT:
The formation and success of The Touré-Raichel Collective, the band led by Israeli keyboardist and songwriter Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré—icons in their own countries and abroad—is a reminder of the unique power of music to bridge geographic, ethnic, political and religious differences. As a follow up to their acclaimed 2012 debut, The Tel Aviv Session, the group will release a new album, The Paris Session, September 30 on the Cumbancha label. The Touré-Raichel Collective will tour the U.S. this fall; please see below for an itinerary.
Although a collaboration between an Israeli Jew and a Malian Muslim has unavoidable political implications, what inspired Touré and Raichel to work together was not the potential to make a statement; they simply connected as artists and friends seeking to find musical common ground.
They met for the first time by chance, in 2008 at the Berlin airport, where they expressed mutual admiration and a desire to get together and play. Touré’s father, the late great Ali Farka Touré, was one of Raichel's musical heroes and inspirations. Raichel invited Touré to Israel, where they assembled a few musicians and convened an unscripted, improvised jam session. The chemistry between Touré and Raichel was instant and profound. They assumed the name The Touré-Raichel Collective and used the material from that first gathering as the basis for an album, The Tel Aviv Session, which found poignant, musically beautiful common ground between the artists’ cultures.
Due to popular demand, The Touré-Raichel Collective has undertaken multiple international tours and performed on some of the world's most prestigious stages. In June of this year, Touré returned to Israel to join Raichel's band The Idan Raichel Project in a performance at Masada, an archeological site of immense significance in Jewish history.
Since they recorded their first album in Tel Aviv, the plan was to make the follow-up in Bamako. But for reasons of logistics, cost and security the artists met in France instead. For three days Raichel, who produced, and Touré sequestered themselves at Studio Malambo in the outskirts of Paris where they were joined by a number of special guests. While The Paris Session is the result of the same freeform approach that was used in the first album, this time around they decided to feature more songs with vocals, a wider range of instrumentation, and appearances by musician friends such as Senegalese artist Daby Touré on bass, Israeli trumpeter Niv Toar, Malian singer Seckouba Diabate and others. Touré and Raichel have honed their interplay over the course of multiple tours together, but the album possesses the same spontaneous, heartfelt magic as its predecessor.
One highlight of the recording is a rendition of the song “Diaraby,” written by Ali Farka Touré and featured on his landmark collaboration with Ry Cooder, Talking Timbuktu. Raichel says that there was a period of six or seven years during which he had listened to the song nearly every day. Upon sharing a stage with Vieux for the first time, Raichel suggested they play the elder Touré’s song together, and doing so brought tears to Raichel’s eyes. He describes feeling “a big, big circle from Ali Farka Touré in Niafunke to me in Tel Aviv, then going back to Ali’s son.”
More broadly Raichel says of his collaboration with Touré, “I’m a musician from Israel, and I will always make Israeli music. And Vieux Farka Touré for me represents the spirit of Mali. I think world music artists by definition are people who reflect the soundtrack of the place they come from. I think that this collaboration between Mali and Israel—and remember we don’t even have diplomatic relations between the two countries—creates a new imaginary island located somewhere between Bamako and Tel Aviv.”
Touré says, “Idan comes from Israel, he’s Jewish. I come from Mali, I'm a Muslim. This project shows the point where there are no real differences between us. Working on these recordings we learn a lot about each other. If music is indeed a universal language, you can't just say it, you have to demonstrate it.”
It all works, first and foremost, because Touré, Raichel and their guests manage to make singular music. Reviewing The Tel Aviv Session for NPR’s All Things Considered, Banning Eyre wrote, “If Raichel and Touré had planned a collaboration, it's hard to imagine that they could have topped the casual charm of this impromptu encounter.” Hosting the Collective on WNYC’s Soundcheck, John Schaefer called the debut recording “one of the year’s most surprising and infectious world music releases.” Wall Street Journal rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli has described the collaboration as “not so much cross-cultural exercise as an exploration of common ground.” Relix called is "as close to perfection as one could imagine," and Songlines raved in its four star review "There's something very pure of spirit about this album. Although the album grew out of jam sessions, the end result is architecturally robust and infused with strong emotive melodies. A delightful, soulful debut album that exudes optimism." That same optimistic, and adventurous, spirit simmers through The Touré-Raichel Collective's second album. Despite its unassuming spontaneity, the engaging interplay on The Paris Session exemplifies the unifying power of music.
The Touré-Raichel Collective U.S. Tour Dates
Check www.cumbancha.com/events for updates
November 7 - Northridge, CA - Valley Performing Arts Center
November 8 - San Francisco, CA - Nourse Theater
November 9 - Grass Valley, CA - The Center for the Arts
November 11 - Phoenix, AZ Musical - Instrument Museum
November 12 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
November 14 - Ogden, UT - Peery’s Egyptian Theater
November 15 - Seattle, WA - Meany Hall
November 18 - New York, NY - Symphony Space
November 19 - Frederick, MD - Weinberg Center for the Arts
November 20 - Fairfield, CT - Quick Center for the Arts
November 21 - Toronto, ONT - Koerner Hall
November 22 - Albany, NY - Swyer Theatre at The Egg
November 23 - Bethlehem, PA - Zoellner Arts Center...read more
The follow-up to The Tel Aviv Session, one of the most critically acclaimed albums of recent memory, The Paris Session reunites Israeli pianist Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in a cross-cultural masterpiece that defies expectations and easy categorization.
"African Thriller" embodies Rocky Dawuni's unique "Afro-Roots" sound, a funky blend of soul, pop, Afrobeat and reggae grooves that have made him a household name in his native Ghana and earned him a wide following across the globe. Jeremy Sole, a DJ, producer and host on the taste-defining Los Angeles radio station KCRW, remixed the single version of "African Thriller". Sole has previously remixed tracks for Femi Kuti, David Bowie, Thievery Corporation, and Quantic, among others.
La Rumba Soy Yo is a multinational undertaking that was recorded in three continents and four countries (US, Canada, France, Angola). It took Ricardo Lemvo three years to complete and sees him looking back to his Angolan roots for inspiration. Three of the songs were written in collaboration with Angolan artists (Calo Pascoal, Kyaku Kyadaff, Adao Filipe) and the styles featured include Cuban and African rumba and soukous, Angolan kizomba and semba and Cuban son and salsa. The title track offers an upbeat and irresistible tropical hook that will certainly be one of the party anthems of this summer and many years to come.