Top image: Julian Parker-Burns
Thinking about hubs of African music in the U.S., you probably think of the big centers of immigration from the continent--New York and Washington DC, traditionally, and cold, newer places like the Twin Cities. But Burlington, Vermont is also a growing center for African immigration. Check this latest video from the Burlington outfit A2VT:
Even among Afropop groups this one is diverse, comprised of Said Bulle from Somalia, George Mnyonge from Tanzania, and Benny Nduwayo. That's not just different countries--that's distinctly different regions with distinct musical traditions and languages. And yet, in Burlington, they're making it happen, creating a sort of pan-African hip-hop. Compared to A2VT, Burlington's West African funk group Sabouyouma--what, you didn't think Burlington had one of those?--has it easy.
Anyway, A2VT's "Wave Your Flag" might not sound much like the last band from Burlington you listened to--assuming that it was Phish--but the song has an attitude, an enthusiasm for changing the world for the better, that would seem to fit right into what we're used to hearing from Burlington.