1Beat Brings New African Music to Washington

Posted October 22nd, 2012 at 2:56 pm (UTC-4)
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A trio of musicians from different regions of Africa joined me in VOA’s Studio 4 here in Washington for some good conversation and music. The artists (from left to right) are Nigerian Kayode Kuti on bass and vocals, Kenyan Kato Change (pronounced CHAN-GAY) on guitar, and Mozambican Helio Vanimal on vocals and body percussion. They are 3 of 32 fellows from around the world who won their spots in the competitive 1Beat program.

Heather and 1Beat artists after Studio 4 interview, Washington D.C.

I was able to snatch them up for an interview just hours before their dress rehearsal.  Watch the full interview to meet each artist, hear their original music,  and discover what the sponsoring program 1Beat is all about.

The following night, I went to their concert at a local venue called Busboys and Poets. It was crowded and bustling with excitement. Only Kayode and Helio performed that night, and they played with other 1Beat fellows from different countries in musical styles ranging from Afrojazz to hip hop. For more music by these artists, check out Koyade Kuti’s original Afrobeat tune Na Me Sabi (Olodorabata) on SoundCloud, or check him out on his Myspace page. You can find out what Helio Vanimal is up to in Mozambique by visiting his website, Positivo Mocambique and SoundCloud. Kato Change’s music can be found on YouTube.

Kayode Kuti playing with Afrojazz collection of fellows.

Helio in the back is providing body percussion accompaniment for rapper/MC trio Jessica Srin from Cambodia, Paul Pissety Sagna from Senegal, and Alesh from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kato relaxing in the audience with fellow 1Beat artist.

Below are the music audio files of Kato, Helio, and Kayode’s live performance from Studio 4.

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    Kato Change

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Helio Vanimal

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    Kayode Kuti

  • After a few days in Washington, 1Beat continued on with their tour up the East Coast with New York City as their final destination.
Heather Maxwell
Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award winning radio program "Music Time in Africa" and is the African Music Editor for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with a Ph.D. from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

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Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award-winning radio program “Music Time in Africa” and is the Africa Music Director for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

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