28 October 2006

Belgian Afrobeat, Lazy Linguistics, Air Mail

Some time ago, SoundRoots reader Guuzbourg was kind enough to contribute a song from The Belgian Afrobeat Association (BABA). I know precious little else about the band, except that their website is, frankly, quite minimal. Great horns and a driving rhythm section make this a fun listen, regardless. I'd love to hear more of their music, if any of you have some or know where to get it. Guest contributors in other "world music" genres also welcome.

[mp3] The Belgian Afrobeat Association: "Femme Fatale"

Forgot to mention in my posting about the Rebirth Brass Band something ignorant and mildly amusing. The person who introduced the band (who shall remain nameless here, but hails from a certain Pacific Northwest NPR/jazz station), gave a plug for other upcoming shows at the venue. Susana Baca was next up (in fact, she's there tonight). This person could have called her an Afro-Peruvian chantreuse, or one of a new generation of Peruvian singers, or a vocalist "rivalled only by Omara Portuondo and Cesaria Evora" (as the BBC put it), or "one of the greatest divas in South America (Calabash), or any number of other descriptions.

What did she actually say, you ask? She called Baca -- and I quote -- a "world music vocalist." Now, I'm one that finds the term "world music" useful in some instances. But in this case, the term is next to meaningless. It could apply to anyone from Kongar-ol Ondar to Susheela Raman. Those in the audience unfamiliar with Baca's work gain no insight whatsoever from this description. What lazy language. What a missed opportunity.

Finally the wonderful duo Correo Aereo, played last night and tonight at Traditions Fair Trade Cafe in Olympia. Madeline "Mean Maracas" Sosin and Abel "Got a New Guitar" Rocha have the chemistry and the musical chops to emotionally reel in an audience, and they did. Music from their newest album Para Cantarle al Rio (To Sing a River), and some things from previous albums, including their seasonally appropriate, fast-paced version of "La Llorona." Catch them if you have the chance.


Anonymous said...

I was fortunate enough to see the Belgian Afrobeat Association twice! Not a real surprise, beeing an afrobeat lover and belgian citizen ;-)

Unfortunately, their CD does not really reflect the energy & enthousiasm when they are performing live. Nevertheless, it's a nice album and I'm proud to have such afrobeat talent in my country.

Their website is indeed minimal since there are no future plans (not that I know of at least) for gigs and recordings. BABA is in fact a side project of Wawadadakwa who released a afrobeat inspired record last year, called W.A.F. (White Afro Funk).

If BABA starts recording or touring again, we'll be blogging about it on tropicalidad.be (our world music blog in dutch).

Thanks for letting the world know about the Belgian Afrobeat Association!

SpinTheGlobe said...

Thanks for the update, Pieter. Sounds like you've got some fine funky things going on over there in Belgium. Nice looking blog you've got there at Wawadadakwa too...just wish I could actually read Dutch (my German knowledge goes only so far...).