Blog June 1, 2015
Afropop Summer Concert Selects!
During the summer,  New York shrugs off its vicious winter, and... transforms into a tropical city. And while it can be kind of sweaty and though it doesn't always smell great, New York more than makes up for it with a truly dazzling selection of outdoor music, much of it totally free. The sheer number of concerts and screenings can be overwhelming, but fear not: Afropop is here to guide you to the cream of this abundant crop. Have your calendar at the ready--here are our top summer 2015 concert picks.
Angelique Kidjo / Emmanuel Jal / Rich Medina maxresdefault Where: Central Park When: 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Tues., June 7 Angelique is an Afropop all-star and a bona fide legend. We could tell you more about her powerhouse voice and inspiring activism, but at this point we hope we don't have to. Go to this show.  
VP Records 35th Anniversary: Maxi Priest / Gyptian / Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons / Massive B COHOBBLOPOT-9-watermark Where: Central Park When: 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Sat., June 27 FREE The still-independent VP records is a central hub for all things Caribbean, and their 35th anniversary party is sure to reflect the enduring power of their roster. Featuring veteran star Maxi Priest, loverman Gyptian, and the massive husband-and-wife team of Bunji "Viking" Garlan and Fay Ann Lyons. 
Paris is Burning @ Celebrate Brooklyn! Where: Prospect Park Bandshell When: 7:30 p.m., Fri., June 26 FREE A classic documentary chronicling the golden era of ball culture in New York, during the mid-to-late '80s. 
Benyoro, Los Crema Paraiso, and Golem: Music from Mali, Venezuela, the Balkans and Beyond Where: Seaport District (corner of Fulton St. and Water St.) When: 5:00–9:00 p.m., Sat., June 27 Benyoro is a fantastic New York-based Mande music group, led by ngoni player Sam Dickey and featuring the finger-wagging kora player Yacouba Sissoko.
King Sunny Adé 32103_Metrotech_music_preview4-1_06_613x463 Where: BAM Metrotech Commons When: 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., Thurs., July 2 King Sunny Ade (or KSA for those in the know) is one of Nigeria's greatest musicians, and a master of the spacey, polyrhythmic genre known as juju. Fun fact: Seeing KSA play live is what started this whole Afropop thing in the first place. 
Compass / Systema Solar / Helado Negro Systema_Solar1 Where: Central Park When: 5:00 - 10:00 p.m., Wed., July 8 FREE The LAMC (Latin American Music Conference) presents global dance team-up Compass (bringing together Mexican Institute of Sound and Toy Selectah), the celestially costumed Colombian ensemble Systema Solar, and Brooklyn-based electronic producer/singer Helado Negro.
Tribute to Octavio Brunetti, feat. Pedro Giraudo Tango Orchestra Where: Damrosch Park When: Dance lesson @ 6:30 p.m., live music @ 7:30 p.m., Thurs., July 9 Pay your respects to the brilliant pianist Octavio Brunetti, and learn to tango.
Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba 32103_Metrotech_BKN2_613x463 Where: BAM MetroTech Commons When: 12:00 -  1:30 p.m., Thurs., July 9 Bassekou Kouyate is a ngoni god, which is sort of like being a guitar god, but with an intense biting twang. Backed by his family band, he's sure to deliver a set of powerful spiraling jams.  
Bajofondo / Astro / Los Auténticos Decadentes Where: Prospect Park Bandshell When: 7:00 p.m., Fri., July 10 FREE Another LAMC-sponsored event, this one brings together Argentine-Uruguayan neotango ensemble Bajofondo with Chilean indie poppers Astro, and Argentine ska-rock act Los Auténticos Decadentes.
Vicentico / Ximena Sariñana / No Te Va Gustar Where: Rumsey Playfield When: 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Sat., July 11 FREE LAMC keeps on bringing it with diverse Spanish-speaking lineups. The headliner, Vicentico, was lead singer of the popular Argentine ska group Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Joining Vicentico is Mexican jazz pop singer Ximena Sariñana and Uruguayan rock group No Te Va Gustar.
Cesária Évora Orchestra / Mayra Andrade / Dino D’Santiago Web-Event_CEOTotinho-Nancy-Jenifer-Nilza Where: Central Park When: 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Sun., July 12 FREE The Cesária Évora Orchestra pays tribute to the legacy of the beloved Cabo Verdean singer Cesária Évora, just as we did in our 2012 program.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic 1 Where: BAM MetroTech Commons When: 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., Thurs., July 16 Who needs the funk? You need the funk. 
Vieux Farka Touré / Tamikrest / DJ Dakar @ Celebrate Brooklyn! 899b0ace-fe24-4395-bbe8-99d96948a835_14   When: 7:30 p.m., Thurs., July 16 Where: Prospect Park Bandshell FREE Son of the legendary guitarist Ali Farke Toure, Vieux has long since grown into a major player in his own right. Here he will be joined by Tamikrest, one of the hardest hitting of the Tuareg guitar bands from the north of Mali. 
Lyricist Lounge: "Live at the BBQ” feat. Large Professor and Marley Marl Where: Queensbridge Park When: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Thurs., July 16 FREE "Live at the BBQ" was the first track that a young Nasir Jones rapped on. Large Professor, who produced that track, is a hugely influential character in hip-hop's history. He's worked with a ridiculous number of East Coast legends (Rakim, Kool G Rap, Mobb Deep, A Tribe Called Quest...). Marley Marl is credited as one of the first producers to introduce sampling. Needless to say, hip-hop would not be the same without these two.
Pete Rock / screening: “Time Is Illmatic” Where: Queensbridge Park  When: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Sun., July 19 FREE Another great '90s East Coast producer, Pete Rock is responsible for such all time classics as "Juicy" and "The World Is Yours." Few records tower over the hip-hop genre like Illmatic, the subject of the documentary Time Is Illmatic.
Bombino / Young Fathers / Fantastic Negrito bombino-header Where: Rumsey Playfield When: 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Sat., July 25 FREE Bombino is a young, edgy guitarist from Niger, whose last album pushed the sound of Tuareg guitar into territory that was both hard rocking and spiked with a decidedly country twang. He will be going back to back with Young Fathers, the Mercury Award-winning Afro-Scottish rap group.  
Rock Steady Crew 38th Anniversary Concert: Whodini / Big Daddy Kane and more Where: Rumsey Playfield When: 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Sun., July 26 FREE This event pays tribute to the legendary B-boying Rock Steady Crew, with golden age ensemble Whodini and Bed Stuy's own, the incredible MC Big Daddy Kane.
Jellybean Benitez / DJ Street Tech / D-Train Where: Clove Lakes Park When: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Wed., July 29 FREE Jellybean Benitez is the secret sauce that powered early Madonna. Get ready for '80s madness. 
Dr. John and the Night Trippers / Amy Helm b5750bc3ce87d5d777a9326635b204cd Where: Central Park When: 2:00 pm - 7:00 p.m., Sat., Aug. 1 FREE You might have heard that New Orleans has some of the best music in the world. If you can't make it to Bourbon Street, you can get a taste of N'awlins' beloved piano virtuoso Dr. John and his funky band here in Central Park.
Letieres Leite and Orkestra Rumpilezz, with Arturo O’Farrill and Steven Bernstein / Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of the Spirits / Forró in the Dark: The Music of John Zorn Where: Damrosch Park When:  7:00 p.m., Thurs., July 30 Get in the Afro-Brazilian groove with Lincoln Center Out of Doors!
TKA / Flaco Navaja and the Razor Blades / Tony Touch TKA-web Where: Clove Lakes Park When: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Sat., Aug. 1 FREE A Latin dance pop group from right here in New York City, TKA meets up with salsa dura group Flaco Navaja and the Razor Blades, along with mixtape master Tony Touch.
Nação Zumbi / Nation Beat’s Carnival Caravan feat. Cha Wa / DJ sets by Vinil Pompéia Where: Central Park When: 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Sun., Aug. 2 FREE Originally led by the legendary Chico Science, Nação Zumbi  was at the forefront of the mangue movement that transformed their city, Recife, from a place of dire poverty to a cultural capital of Brazil. They will be performing with Nation Beat, a Brazilian-American group, who is collaborating with New Orleans ensemble Cha Wa, in the spirit of their shared Carnival tradition. Also on the bill are Brazilian vinyl spinners Vinil Pompéia.
30th Anniversary DJ Celebration: Quantic / Gilles Peterson / Afrika Bambaataa 2014_3$thumbimg113_Mar_2014_154630821-ll Where: Rumsey Playfield When:  5:00 pm - 10:00 p.m., Sat., Aug., 8 FREE Three of the world's greatest DJs: Come, but have zero expectations for what kind of grooves are going to be thrown down. Besides, of course, their incredibly high quality. 
CATCH A FIRE TOUR 2015: Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley with Stephen “Ragga” Marley and Morgan Heritage Where: Central Park When: 5:00 - 10:00 p.m., Sun., Aug., 30 The Marley legacy lives on! Come on and get jammin'!
See you out there!!

Afropop Weigh in on Afropop's digital future and download an exclusive concert from the archives—free!