Afropop Party: Oliver and Fatoumata

Oliver Mtukudzi
Fatoumata Diawara
Zellerbach Hall
Berkeley, CA
March 30, 2013

As has been proven by previous postings, the Cal Performance series rarely fails to deliver and it rarely fails to rain when I go to one of their excellent shows.  And the evening of Afropop did not disappoint on either account.  The evening of all things African began with Malian Foutmata Diawara.  Her recorded music is kind of an African folk music with Afrocubist beats which is really a joy to listen to.  It makes me feel like I’m in Africa just by listening to it.  However, her live performance was much more energetic.  She spun and danced around the stage like a whirling dervish demonstrating the national dance style of different African countries, much to the delight of the Africans in the audience.  If there is any complaint about Fatoumata, it’s that she was too energetic and got the crowd too riled up before the more mellow stylings of Oliver Mtukudzi. Check out:  “Bissa” for an example of her amazing voice.  Go to 9:00 of the next link to see Fatoumata compare African dancing styles 
Oliver Mtukudzi is a national hero in Zimbabwe.  He plays a wonderful acoustic-based music that is hypnotic.  He really lets the groove flow during his music in a quiet but powerful way.  While Oliver’s music is very uplifting and just plain happy, it is not the same foot-thumping dance music of Fatoumata. The audience was up and ready to dance when Oliver got on stage but his music seemed too mellow for an audience ready to partay.  However, both Oliver and Fatoumata are class acts and if you’re interested in hearing what today’s African music is about, they are a good place to start.  Check out: Ndagarwa Nkaha  

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