The Afro-Roots Fest is Florida’s state-wide celebration of Africa’s global musical heritage. The 2022 edition featured a diva of Afro-Cuban jazz, Daymé Arocena, Sudanese American indie rock band Sinkane, Miami’s own Latin music champions Cortadito celebrating their tenth anniversary, and more. We’ll hear live highlights and interviews with the principles. Produced by Banning Eyre and Sean Barlow.
WINDOW: M01a_SonMandinka-house.wav + M01b_SonMandinka-board.wav (vocal opening and then to bed)
GEORGES: THAT’S MIAMI BASED SON MANDINKA, A PAN-LATIN PERCUSSION AND VOCAL ENSEMBLE, WARMING UP THE CROWD AT THE NORTH BEACH BANDSHELL ON A BALMY APRIL EVENING ON MIAMI BEACH.
GEORGES: HELLO, GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE FROM PRX. TODAY WE BRING YOU HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ANNUAL AFRO-ROOTS FEST, 2022 EDITION, FEATURING DAYME AROCENA AND SINKANE. AFRO ROOTS FEST IS A MULTI-WEEK AFFAIR WITH SHOWS IN GAINSVILLE, KEY WEST, MIAMI AND EVEN THE EVERGLADES. IT'S FLORIDA’S CELEBRATION OF THE MANY WAYS AFRICA HAS INFUSED OUR GLOBAL CULTURAL LANDSCAPE.
AND THERE’S NO BETTER PLACE TO EXPERIENCE THAT THAN MIAMI. DURING THE PANDEMIC, MUSICIANS FROM ALL SORTS OF PLACES HAVE BEEN RELOCATING HERE. THE CITY’S MELTING POT IS LITERALLY BOILING OVER! ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES IS THE INFLUX OF MUSICIANS FROM TROUBLED VENEZUELA, AND THIS GROUP, SON MANDINKA, IS A PRIME EXAMPLE, FEATURING A NUMBER OF WORLD CLASS VENEZUELAN MUSICIANS. JUST LISTEN.
MUSIC: rest of the song [5:48]
GEORGES: MAN, THAT IS HOT. SON MANDINKA WARMING UP THE CROWD AT THE NORTH BEACH BANDSHELL, JUST A BLOCK FROM THE SEA. GEORGES COLLINET WITH ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE AND WE’RE HEARING HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2022 AFRO-ROOTS FEST IN MIAMI. AND NOW ON WITH THE SHOW!
WINDOW/BED: M02a_Dayme_Oshun_house.wav + M02a_Dayme_Oshun_board.wav (We think you’re really going to enjoy this performance, so please give a warm welcome to Dayme Arocena.)
ACTY: 01_Dayme_Intro.wav: My name is Dayme Arocena. I’m a singer mainly, a songwriter. I try to be pretty honest through my music and put all my influences in my songwriting.
GEORGES: ONE OF DAYME AROCENA’S MOST IMPORTANT INFLUENCES IS THE BATA DRUMS, USED IN THE CUBAN-YORUBA RELIGION SANTERIA, WITH ITS DEITIES KNOWN AS ORISHAS.
BED: Dayme_bed1-Yemaya-house.wav + Dayme_bed1-Yemaya-board.wav OR Dayme_bed2-board.wav + Dayme_bed2-board.wav,
ACTY: 02_Dayme_bata.wav: At the age of 17, I discovered bata drums. I mean I cannot say I discovered them. I heard them for the first time in a different way, and when I heard them, I was feeling like a call. It was way stronger than what I can explain. So I started studying what it means, because you can hear the drumming, but there's a lot of information, musically, and rhythmically. So I decided to incorporate those rhythms in my music. At that time, I used to write a lot of classical music, but when I discovered bata drumming I wanted to take that, so at a certain point I got deep, and more deep, and you deeper into this investigation. It took me like five years to actually decide, okay I want to practice this religion. So my biggest religion is music. My orishas know that. They know that through music I found my way to them. I felt finally identified with the religion that represents me as a musician, as a Caribbean, as a Cuban person, and as a black woman. Honestly, it is still ongoing, but I got crowned Yemaya officially eight years ago, and tomorrow is my orisha’s birthday, eight years crowned Yemaya. (singing)
MUSIC: M02a_Dayme_Oshun_house.wav + M02a_Dayme_Oshun_board.wav (Emerge on vocal at 2:40- the end) [3:00]
GEORGES: THE ONE AND ONLY DAYME AROCENA OF CUBA, LIVE AT AFRO ROOTS FEST IN MIAMI.
BED: M03a_Dayme_Samba_house.wav + M03b_Dayme_Samba_board.wav
GEORGES: WE SPOKE WITH DAYME BEFORE HER SHOW AND THE TOLD US SHE GREW UP IN A LARGE, MUSICAL HOUSEHOLD IN CUBA.
ACTY: 03_Dayme_family.wav: I was born in a house where we were 22 people in one house, two beds and one bathroom. When I was born, some people had already left. We were 14, but still, 14 people is a lot for one house. With two bedrooms and one bathroom. So I learned how to share. I learned how to be humble. And I also learned the power of music through my family. We had to face a lot of adversity. I was born in the 90s, so the 90s were the really special time in Cuba, and my family used to keep everything bright through music. I mean every time the electricity would go off, they would sing.”
GEORGES: DAYME WENT TO MUSIC CONSERVATORY STUDYING CHOIR CONDUCTING AND COMPOSTION, BUT THE MUSIC WAS ALL WESTERN CLASSICAL.
ACTY: 04_Dayme_jazz.wav: So I had at home this rumba music and this Afro-Cuban music, but at the same time, I was getting at the school a lot of Back and Beethoven and Mozart and Schubert. Schumann, Strauss, Stravinsky—a totally different world, right? And I also was interested in jazz music, which I have to say, and it's important to mention, we don't get a jazz musical education in the school. There is not a jazz program. It does not exist. So every single jazz musician you see from Cuba has learned in the streets. That's the way we learn jazz.
GEORGES: INCREDIBLE. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU THINK OF ALL THE WORLD CLASS CUBAN JAZZ MUSICIANS WE KNOW.
ACTY: 05_Dayme_illegal.wav: It used to be illegal to play jazz at the school. You could be kicked out of the school to play jazz. So it's not a game. But honestly, Cuban music has made a huge influence in jazz music, so I believe that even though the school doesn't teach us, jazz is already in our soul. And jazz is already in our blood.
GEORGES: LET’S HEAR MORE. “EL RUSO” IS A SONG ABOUT THE LEGACY OF RUSSIANS IN CUBA.
MUSIC: M04a_Dayme_ElRuso_house.wav + M04b_Dayme_ElRuso_board.wav [5:52]
GEORGES: DAYME AROCENA WITH “EL RUSO.” HOT STUFF! YOU KNOW, IT MEANT A LOT TO DAYME TO PERFORM AT AFRO-ROOTS, BECAUSE SHE CONSIDERS IT A LIFE MISSION TO UNDERSTAND AND KNOW HER OWN AFRICAN ROOTS. SHE SAYS THAT ALL CARIBBEAN PEOPLE, REGARDLESS OF SKIN COLOR, CARRY AFRICA IN THEIR BONES.
BED: M05a_Dayme_Changui_house.wav + M05b_Dayme_Changui_board.wav
ACTY: 06_Dayme_African.wav: In the food we eat there is Africa. In the way we dance, there is Africa. In the way we smile, the way we talk. Africa is there. It doesn't matter if you have blue eyes, Africa is there if you are Caribbean. That’s enough to be an African descendant.
GEORGES: DAYME HAD TO IGNORE A LOT OF PROFESSIONAL ADVICE TO ACHIEVE HER DREAMS. AT SCHOOL AND IN THE INDUSTRY, THEY TOLD HER TO PLAY IT SAFE.
ACTY: 07_Dayme_covers.wav: Don’t play things that people don’t know. Play music that everybody knows. When I said, "No, I want to sing my music, and also my music is jazz music, Afro jazz music." People will be like, "Oh my God, you are lost. You will never make it. Please just sing boleros, or if you want to sing jazz, just sing jazz standards that everybody knows.”
GEORGES: OF COURSE, DAYME WASN’T HAVING ANY OF THAT!
ACTY: 08_Dayme_first.wav: Every time people tell me, “Oh, nobody has done that ever," I always answer, “I'll be the first one then.” That's the way I am. I've been like that my whole life. Okay, I don't care if nobody has done that before. I'll do it. I don't believe anything is impossible. Life has proved to me that nothing is impossible.
GEORGES: DAYME’S CUBAN BAND HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO TRAVEL DURING COVID, SO SHE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY THREE FANTASTIC MIAMI-BASED ARTISTS, INCLUDING MONI HASSAM FROM BAHIA, BRAZIL, ON BASS AND GUITAR, AND AN OUTSTANDING FEMALE DRUMMER MISSY GARCIA. DAYME SAID THESE MUSICIANS ARE “LIKE FAMILY” TO HER. AND YOU CAN HEAR IT.
ACTY: 09_Dayme_changui.wav: We are going to play changui. We are going to play a little bit of samba. We’re going to play rumba, mambo… (laughs)
WINDOW: emerge after 3:00 just for a bit of the “changui” chorus. This may run out, but see the next music for options.
GEORGES: DAYME IS FASCINATED BY THE DIFFERENT WAYS AFRICAN CULTURES DEVELOPED IN THE NEW WORLD. SHE SAYS THAT IN SPANISH-SPEAKING COLONIES, AFRICAN MUSIC WAS NOT SUPPRESSED. BUT IN ENGLISH-SPEAKING ONES--LIKE THE U.S.--IT WAS.
ACTY: 10_Dayme_rhythms.wav: That’s why, for example in the United States, everybody's talking about the downbeat. Everybody needs to have boom, boom, boom, boom. Because you guys you weren't allowed to play those drums. “No, no, don't play that!” But in all the Spanish colonized places, Spanish people would dance with African people. Spanish people would get more close than we can even imagine. That's why we have this diversity of rhythms. We have the bata drumming in our bag. We have the Bantu drums in our bag. We have the Arara drums in our bag. We have all those drums holding us, so the downbeat doesn't really matter. We know what it is, inside.
GEORGES: LET’S HEAR ONE MORE FROM DAYME. “LA RUMBA ME LLAMO YO.” RUMBA IS CALLING ME!
BED/MUSIC: M06a_Dayme_LeRumbaMeLlamoYo_house.wav + M06b_Dayme_LeRumbaMeLlamoYo_board.wav (I’m giving you a lot more than you need before and after the actual song, to give you mix options.)
ACTY: 11_Dayme_ID.wav: Hello, everyone. This is Dayme Arocena and you are listening to Afropop Worldwide. (laughs) (drop this anywhere in the song that makes sense)
GEORGES: THANK YOU, DAYME AROCENA. MAN, WHAT A SET THAT WAS. BUT NOW, LET’S TAKE A BREAK FROM THE MAIN STAGE. ACROSS TOWN AT DORAL YARD, AFRO ROOTS PRESENTED THREE LOCAL ACTS. FIRST UP, JUDE PAPOLOKO AND HIS GROUP PLAYING AFRO-HAITIAN FOLKLORE…
WINDOW: M07a_JudePapoloko_house.wav + M07b_JudePapoloko_board.wav (just a short window with a bit of singing)
GEORGES: NEXT CAME PANAFRIK, AN ENSEMBLE OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, GAINSVILLE, FEATURING, FROM GUINEA, AMO SOUMAH ON VOCAL AND PERCUSSION AND ABOUBACAR CAMARA ON BALAON.
WINDOW: M08a_Panafrik_house.wav + M08b_Panafrik_board.wav (again, a window. Could be a tad longer than Papoloko)
GEORGES: BUT THE HEADLINER THAT NIGHT WAS OUR FRIENDS IN THE BAND CORTADITO, FEATURING AFRO-ROOTS FEST FOUNDER AND PRODUCER JOSE ELIAS ON TRES AND VOCALS AND CUBAN MAESTRO JULIO CESAR RODRIGUEZ DELET ON VOCALS. CELEBRATING TEN YEARS IN ACTION, HERE’S CORTADITO KICKING OUT SWEET, HOT CUBAN SON!
MUSIC: M009a_Cortadito_house.wav + M009b_Cortadito_board.wav (This should be at least a minute; more is better, but it’s a stretch/shrink number) “Lo Que Te Cuento es Poco”
GEORGES: COMING UP, MORE FROM CORTADITO, SINKANE AND A SNEAK PREVIEW OF “THE EVERGLADES SONG SUITE.” VISIT AFROPOP.ORG TO SEE AFRO-ROOTS PHOTOS AND READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH SINKANE. I’M GEORGES COLLINET, AND YOU’RE LISTENING TO AFROPOP WORLDWIDE, FROM PRX.
WINDOW: 20-second break M10a_Cortadito_20second-house.wav + M10b_Cortadito_20second-board.wav
BED: 12_crowd ambiance.wav
GEORGES: OKAY, LET’S GET BACK TO DORAL YARD WHERE CORTADITO IS WRAPPING UP THEIR SET. HERE’S JOSE ELIAS.
MUSIC: M11a_Cortadito-ElManiscero-house.wav + M11a_Cortadito-ElManiscero-house.wav (at over 14 minutes this is way too long. We can adjust length here depending on how the timing turns out. Maybe you can edit out some dead patches to feature solos, especially the kora solo.)
GEORGES: ALLRIGHT, CORTADITO AND FRIENDS WITH A WEST AFRICAN TINGED TAKE ON THE CLASSIC “EL MANISCERO” “THE PEANUT VENDOR.”
BED: M12a_Sinkane_instrumental-house.wav + M12b_Sinkane_instrumental-board.wav
GEORGES: AND NOW, LET’S RETURN TO THE NORTH BEACH BANDSHELL WHERE THE EVENING’S HEADLINER IS TAKING THE STAGE. IT’S THE BAND SINKANE, CREATED AND LED BY… [WELL, I’LL LET HIM INTRODUCE HIMSELF.]
ACTY: 13_Sinkane_intro.wav: My name is Ahmed Jallab. I'm a Sudanese American musician based in Brooklyn. My family moved and emigrated to the United States in 1989. My father was a politician in Sudan in the 70s and 80s, and he came to the United States because he was studying at Boston University. And that same year, a coup overthrew the government of Sudan which my father was affiliated with. And we were granted asylum in kind of went on this 20 year tour of the United States, going from one place to another until my family settled. So I grew up living in the United States and Sudan. I would go back with my mom and my sisters to visit her family there.
GEORGES: SINKANE WAS SCHEDULED TO PERFORM AT AFRO ROOTS IN 2020, BUT… WELL YOU KNOW HOW THAT TURNED OUT. TWO YEARS LATER, AHMED WAS THRILLED TO BE IN MIAMI AT LAST.
ACTY: 14_Sinkane_AfroRoots.wav: It's exciting that we're headlining tonight at a festival called Afro Roots. It feels like the people here get it. You know, African music is kind of the genesis of all music, and Africa is kind of the genesis of all life. Especially where I come from in northern Sudan. That's where a lot of the original cultures were, like the Kush Empire. It’s really exciting to see how far we've come.
GEORGES: AND AHMED HAS INDEED COME A LONG WAY FROM HIS OWN AFRICAN ROOTS.
ACTY: 15_Sinkane_the music.wav: Even though I would say my music is inherently African, it is also American. It is also universal. I grew up traveling a lot. I didn't live anywhere for more than four years in my life until I moved to New York in 2008. So I've had a lot of amazing experiences with people who are unlike me. In high school and middle school, I was always the only black kid, until I was maybe 14. Those experiences made me who I am today. So it's very apparent in the music and is part of the conversation in the music.
GEORGES: AT AFRO ROOTS, AHMED WAS ROLLING OUT A NEW BAND, MOSTLY MEMBERS OF THE BROOKLYN BASED BAND HOLY HAND GRENADE. HERE THEY ARE WITH A NEW TAKE ON A SINKANE CLASSIC, “ON BEING.”
MUSIC: M13a_Sinkane-LIVE_OnBeing_house.wav + M13b_Sinkane-LIVE_OnBeing_board.wav [6:54]
BED: M15a_Sinkane_YoungTrouble-house.wav + M15b_Sinkane_YoungTrouble-board.wav (you can edit this to avoid prominent vocals if you like)
GEORGES: SINKANE WITH “ON BEING,” LIVE AT THE AFRO ROOTS FEST IN MIAMI. ALONG WITH HIS NEW FORMATION OF SINKANE, AHMED JALLAB ROLLED OUT A COUPLE OF NEW SONGS, INCLUDING ONE CALLED, “K-TOWN BOOGIE.”
ACTY: 16_Sinkane-KTown-Boogie.wav: It's a song that I wrote after we brought the band to Sudan for the first time. The Swiss Initiative and UNESCO hosted a festival in Sudan after the sanctions were lifted. It was the first festival in Sudan in over 30 years. And it was the first time I had gone back in 11 years. It was really great to see my family, but it was also really great to connect a lot of young kids. In Sudan, 75% of the population is 24 years old. They are so young. Because of that, there is a lot of amazing inspired young energy. I was able to connect a lot of young musicians. I specifically went to this place where they all hang out, this café where they all hang out called Caffeine. They were telling me you can't have any gatherings were you dance. If people see any congregation of kids, four or more, they will try to shut it down. And they were telling me that despite all these parameters that we live under, we are able to congregate here and exchange ideas, and still be creative. There's an LGBTQ-plus community there that existed kind of under the radar. They have nights were they play music for one another and they collaborate. I was so inspired by this idea that regardless of crippling rules, they still did what they want to do. So I wrote a song about it called “Ktown Boogie.”
MUSIC: M16a_Sinkane_KtonBoogie-house.wav + M16b_Sinkane_KtonBoogie-board.wav [3:53]
BED: M17a_Sinkane_HowWeBe-house.wav + M17a_Sinkane_HowWeBe-house.wav (there’s way more than you need here, the key thing is to emerge after the next GC where we clearly hear the “Whole Lotta Love” riff.)
GEORGES: SINKANE WITH “KTOWN BOOGIE” AHMED GREW UP HEARING A LOT OF JAZZ AT HOME, ARTISTS LIKE PHAROAH SANDERS AND MILES DAVIS. LATER ON, HE BECAME A ROCK FAN, EVERYTHING FROM PUNK AND HARDCORE TO THE GRATEFUL DEAD. YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT ALL THAT IN OUR INTERVIEW WITH AHMED ON AFROPOP.ORG. YOU CAN ALSO HEAR IT IN HIS MUSIC, WHICH IS PEPPERED WITH LITTLE NODS TO ROCK FAVORITES, LIKE THIS ONE IN HIS SONG “HOW WE BE.”
WINDOW: (brief emerge of the “Whole Lotta Love” riff.)
GEORGES: AT THE SAME TIME, THERE ARE CLEAR SUDANESE ELEMENTS IN SINKANE’S SOUND: FORTHRIGHT RHYTHMS AND STRONG PENTATONIC MELODIES.
ACTY: 17_Sinkane_melodies.wav: Between Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan there's a very interesting melodic sensibility that comes from Arabic music, this longing and melancholic and nostalgic flavor to the strings that was taken on by Sudan in particular. And then the blues. It's that very specific East African modality with blues licks. In Sudan in particular, every part of that culture is all about color. It's all about vibrancy and punchiness, but not in the same way that West African music is. It's not as bright, but it's very homey. I relate to that a lot. It's interesting because songs of mine like “Omdurman” or “Mango” that have that strong East African pentatonic sound, If people don't understand that sound, they easily relate it to some sort of circus music, which is funny to me, but it kind of does. It's very uplifting, very big and melodic and emotional.
GEORGES: LET’S HEAR THE SONG “OMDURMAN,” WHICH CLOSED OUT SINKANE’S SET AT AFRO-ROOTS FEST.
MUSIC/BED: M18a_Sinkane-LIVE_Omdurman_house.wav + M18b_Sinkane-LIVE_Omdurman_board.wav [6:22]
ACTY: 18_Sinkane_ID.wav: Hey, this is Ahmed from Sinkane and you’re listening to Afropop Worldwide. (drop this in at the end, if it works)
GEORGES: THANK YOU, AHMED. FUNDING FOR AFROPOP WORLDWIDE COMES FROM THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, WHICH BELIEVES A GREAT NATION DESERVES GREAT ART, AND FROM PRX AFFILIATE STATIONS AROUND THE U.S. AND THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING YOUR PUBLIC RADIO STATION.
BED: 19_Everglades sounds.wav (need a bit of eq to get rid of background hum)
GEORGES: WE LEAVE YOU WITH A TASTE OF A UNIQUE AFRO-ROOTS CONCERT THAT TOOK PLACE ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN THE MIDST OF THE EVERGLADES, WITH ALIGATORS LURKING IN A NEARBY POND. JOSE ELIAS CREATED “THE EVERGLADES SONG SUITE” WITH A COLLECTION OF FLORIDA MUSICIANS FROM RADICALLY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, AND LET ME TELL YOU, IT WAS SOMETHING TO HEAR. KEEP AN EYE ON AFROPOP.ORG FOR AN UPCOMING FILM OF THE ENTIRE CONCERT. FOR NOW, HERE’S THE SONG “YEN YEN,” COMPOSED BY KAUSOU KOUYATE AND ARRANGED BY MORIKEBA KOUYATE AND JOSE ELIAS.
MUSIC: M19_EvergladesSongSuite.wav (no need to mix this one. They sent it pre-mixed. We should play the whole thing, with a fade at the very end) [2:14]
BED: Cortadito-PenaPena-BED-house.wav + Cortadito-PenaPena-BED-board.wav
“Ahora Me Da Pena”
GEORGES: BEAUTIFUL! A TASTY PREVIEW OF “THE EVERGLADES SONG SUITE.” THANKS TO JOSE ELIAS AND THE AFRO-ROOTS TEAM AND JAMES AND LAURA QUINLAN AND THE RHYTHM FOUNDATION, AND THE STAFF OF THE NORTH BEACH BANDSHELL IN MIAMI BEACH, ALSO TO OUR MIAMI STATION WDNA, MICHAEL MUT. AND THANKS TO THE BROADMORE HOTEL FOR ACCOMODATING THE AFROPOP WORLDWIDE TEAM. THANKS ALSO TO THE MIAMI DADE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS, THE MIAMI BEACH CULTURAL ARTS COUNCIL, LIVE ARTS MIAMI, AND THE FLORIDA DIVISION OF ARTS AND CULTURE, FOR SUPPORTING AFRO ROOTS FEST. AND THANKS TO THE KENNEDY CENTER FOR SUPPORTING THE EVERGLADES SONG SUITE PROJECT.
DON’T FORGET TO JOIN US NEXT WEEK FOR ANOTHER EDITION OF AFROPOP WORLDWIDE. RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION FOR THIS PROGRAM BY BANNING EYRE AND SEAN BARLOW.
AND BE SURE TO VISIT AFROPOP.ORG TO SEE AFRO-ROOTS PHOTOS, READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH SINKANE, AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR PODCAST. OUR CHIEF AUDIO ENGINEER IS MICHAEL JONES. THIS PROGRAM WAS MIXED AT STUDIO 44 IN BROOKLYN BY MICHAEL JONES. ADDITIONAL ENGINEERING BY GC FROM THE SYNCOPATED LAIR IN WASHINGTON, DC. BANNING EYRE AND CC SMITH EDIT OUR WEBSITE, AFROPOP.ORG. OUR DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA IS MUKWAE WABEI SIYOLWE. AND I’M GEORGES COLLINET.