The Covid-19 pandemic forced musicians everywhere to step off the stage and stay home, reflecting. Now, as the world gradually opens up, they are reemerging with powerful new music, and lots of it. This program focuses on four female artists whose 2021 music is full of challenging messages for a challenged world. Climate change, womens’ empowerment, police brutality, official corruption… All that and more in new work from Angelique Kidjo, Dobet Gnaore, Fatoumata Diaouara and Shungudzo, plus a dive into Octavia Butler’s prescient cautionary tales with Toshi Reagon. Produced by Banning Eyre.
WINDOW/BED: M01_Omon Oba (with Zeynab & Lionel Loueke).wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature (Verve, B0932CXC1G)
GEORGES: DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PERFORMING ARTISTS WORLDWIDE HAVE BEEN SEVERELY RESTRICTED FROM PERFORMING FOR THE AUDIENCES WHO LOVE THEM. BUT TAKE MY WORD: THEY’VE BEEN BUSY, COMPOSING AND RECORDING NEW SONGS FOR A NEW ERA.
HELLO, GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE FROM PRX. THE WOMEN IN TODAY’S PROGRAM USED THEIR PANDEMIC DOWNTIME TO CREATE POWERFUL NEW SONGS, ADDRESSING ISSUES FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, RACISM AND OFFICIAL CORRUPTION. … WE CALL THEM AFROPOP’S WOMEN WARRIORS, PREPARING US FOR THE FUTURE.
GEORGES: TODAY, WE’LL SPEAK WITH ANGELIQUE KIDJO—WHO WE’RE HEARING, ALSO DOBET GNAHORE, TOSHI REAGON, AND A SINGER YOU MAY NOT YET KNOW, SHUNGUDZO. SHUNGUDZO HAS A FASCINATING LIFE STORY TAKING HER FROM HARARE, ZIMBABWE TO THE POP MUSIC FAST LANE IN LOS ANGELES, AND NOW, TO A MAVERICK SOLO CAREER. LET’S KICK OFF WITH THE SONG THAT FIRST TURNED US ON TO SHUNGUDZO.
MUSIC: M02_It's a good day (to fight the system).mp3, Shungudzo, I'm not a mother, but I have children (Svikiro Records / Young Forever, Inc. BMG Rights Management (US) LLC) [top to 2:53, then to bed]
GEORGES: IT’S A GOOD DAY TO FIGHT THE SYSTEM! SHUNGUDZO WITH THE PERFECT SONG TO OPEN OUR PROGRAM ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE’S WOMEN WARRIORS OF THE PANDEMIC ERA. GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU. WE’LL MEET SHUNGUDZO A LITTLE LATER IN THE PROGRAM, BUT FIRST, LET’S HEAR WHAT AFROPOP’S NUMBER ONE WOMAN WARRIOR HAS BEEN UP TO DURING THE PANDEMIC. FROM HER ALBUM MOTHER NATURE, HERE’S ANGELIQUE KIDJO WITH “CHOOSE LOVE”!
MUSIC: M03_Choose Love.wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature (Verve, B0932CXC1G, 6 1243582163 4) [2:31]
BED: M04_Flying High.wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature (Verve, B0932CXC1G)
GEORGES: ANGELIQUE KIDJO FROM HER 2021 ALBUM MOTHER NATURE, RECORDED DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. WE REACHED ANGELIQUE IN PARIS, WHERE SHE SPENT THE FIRST 16 MONTHS OF THE PANDEMIC. SHE WAS IN A CAR WHEN WE SPOKE, ROLLING THROUGH PARIS WITH HER HUSBAND JEAN HEBRAIL AT THE WHEEL. THEY WERE GETTING READY TO RETURN TO THEIR HOME IN BROOKLYN, AND ANGELIQUE WAS REFLECTING ON A VERY DIFFICULT YEAR.
ACTY: 01_AKidjo_vaccine.wav: Yeah, man, hey, this confinement has been hard on me. Within a week, Manu Dibango was gone, and then a week later, Jean’s father. And then you realize that you just have to do the best you can and continue living. So many people have died. But I'm keeping this positive spirit up and sharing around, that you have to get vaccinated. I am vaccinated completely. Jean too. I want to go back on stage. But I want people to think about it. This is just a moment. If we all pay attention it’s going to be gone.
GEORGES: CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE CENTRAL FOCUS OF ANGELIQUE’S ALBUM. HENCE THE NAME MOTHER NATURE, BUT THERE’S ANOTHER THEME AT WORK HERE TOO. ANGELIQUE IS REACHING OUT TO A YOUNGER GENERATION. SHE COLLABORATES WITH ARTISTS LIKE BURNA BOY, YEMI ALADE, SAMPA THE GREAT, AND—WE WERE PLEASED TO LEARN—SHUNGUDZO!
ACTY: 02_AKidjo_losers.wav: She is talented. Absolutely talented. I was trying to reach out to the diaspora at large, wherever they are, not only in Africa, to do this album to pay homage to this earth. I wanted us to bring another perspective to the table. We grew up very close to nature in Africa. You've been there. You know how close people are with nature. And this climate change is going to impact especially the children of Africa. I can't be the only one talking about this issue. The issue is our concern globally, but especially African artists. We can't just sit aside and be quiet on this because we are the losers of this game.
GEORGES: LET’S HEAR THE TITLE TRACK, “MOTHER NATURE,” AND THEN A LOVE SONG FEATURING SHUNGUDZO, “MEANT FOR ME.”
MUSIC: M05_Mother Nature.wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature [2:59]
MUSIC: M06_Meant For Me (feat. Shungudzo).wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature [3:07]
BED: M07_Fatherless child.mp3, Shungudzo, Mother/Children
GEORGES: ANGELIQUE KIDJO AND SHUNGUDZO, MAKING THE PARIS-L.A. CONNECTION. SHUNGUDZO WAS BORN IN ZIMBABWE AND SPENT MOST OF HER FIRST TEN YEARS THERE. WITH A WHITE MOTHER AND A BLACK ZIMBABWEAN FATHER, SHE EXPERIENCED BULLYING FROM BOTH BLACK AND WHITE PEERS, BUT SHE ALSO LEARNED TO LOVE ZIMBABWEAN CULTURE AND VALUES. EVEN AS A CHILD, SHE POURED ALL OF THOSE EXPERIENCES INTO WRITING POETRY. WE ASKED SHUNGUDZO THE MEANING OF HER NAME.
ACTY: 03_Shun_kuyimba.wav: It means to be determined. And you can put a verb after it. So when I was a dancer my dad would call me Shungudzo Mutamba, which means determined to dance. And he recently turned it to Shungudzo Kuyimba, determined to sing. It's a cool name because I feel like it changes with you, it goes with you. I knew my dad had really come to… Well, accept is a strong word. Maybe not acceptance, but at least he wasn't going to fight meanymore. He wasn’t going to say, “You want to come home, go back to school.” I wasn’t going to get anymore of that conversation when he called me Shungudzo Kuyimba, which is determined to sing.
GEORGES: BUT SHE WASN’T ALWAYS DETERMINED TO SING. SHUNGUDZO STUDIED CIVIL ENGINEERING AT STANFORD, AND WOUND UP DROPPING OUT RIGHT BEFORE GRADUATION AND MENTORING WITH A MUSIC PRODUCER IN THE BAY AREA. THAT LED TO A STINT AS A JOURNALIST COVERING INTERNATIONAL STORIES FOR MTV’S NON-PROFIT SECTOR.
ACTY: 04_Shun_tragedy.wav: As an editor-in-chief it was my job to wake up every day and look up all the terrible things that had happened in the world and decide which ones were the most important, or the most clickable and assign them to my writers. And that really started to break my heart. I really felt like I was in the business of profiting off of other people's losses, the business of really selling tragedy.
GEORGES: SO SHUNGUDZO CHANGED GEARS ONCE AGAIN AND TURNED TO SONGWRITING, NOT FOR HERSELF, BUT AS PART OF A TEAM WRITING FOR OTHER ARTISTS. IT WAS AN EDUCATION, BUT IT STILL DIDN’T FEEL LIKE THE PATH SHE WAS LOOKING FOR.
ACTY: 05_Shun-politics.wav: It's so interesting because I had always wanted to be a political musician, a sociopolitical musician, sort of write about what people are going through both here and in Zimbabwe. I feel like it's very important to speak for people who either can't speak because they're not granted freedom of speech by their government, or people who haven't found their voice. So I was writing all these political songs, including one called "Hey Millionaire." I listen to it now, and it's so aligned with what I'm doing nowadays. But I was pressured a bit to release a bunch of pop songs, and they were all sort of sarcastic, making fun of pop culture, but if you didn't pick up on it, they just sound like pop songs. But I wouldn't say those weren’t particularly the songs I was hoping to have released at that moment.
WINDOW/BED: M08_I'm not a mother, but I have children.mp3, Shungudzo, Mother/Children (6 seconds in clear then bed)
ACTY: 06_Shun-shuned.wav: Some people who were once my acquaintances nicknamed talking about what is happening in the world "getting Shuned,” using my name to talk about what’s happening the world, they called that “Getting Shuned.” I would say, “You know, there are a lot of people in the world who want to talk about this stuff, who need to talk about this stuff, because it's our lives." In my circles I was the only one talking about it, usually annoying my friends a bit because it's a buzz kill for them. "Hey guys, as the only black person here, the only non-American, I'd like to point out that life is not all mansions in Malibu." For a while, especially within the pop songwriting world, which is very white, and very, very privileged, I felt really alone in trying to have these conversations.
GEORGES: THEN CAME COVID-19. ANGELIQUE KIDJO SAYS THE PANDEMIC HAS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED THE GLOBAL CONVERSATION.
ACTY: 07_AKidjo_COVID.wav: You know what? Things are changing, and people are changing too. I think that COVID 19 is changing the way people see the world. COVID 19 is not discriminating. It has no frontier and is just right in your face. You don't pay attention, you get it. It's just not a matter of black, white, rich, or poor. It's everywhere and everybody can die from it. So it shows the vulnerability, but also the connectivity and the solidarity that living demands from us to pay attention to something that is happening afar, and if you don't, it's going to come sooner or later to your doorstep.
GEORGES: ONE OF ANGELIQUE’S FIRST COLLABORATORS FOR HER ALBUM MOTHER NATURE WAS NIGERIAN STAR YEMI ALADE. THE SONG WAS INSPIRED BY THE END-SARS MOVEMENT PROTESTING POLICE VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA.
ACTY: 08_Angelique-Yemi.wav: I reached out to Yemi during the EndSARS movement because I was afraid that something might happen to them. Because I knew that most of them would be there fighting for a different society. She said, "Ma, they are killing us.” I said, "Just get out. Get out of the street quick. There's nothing for you there except violence. You are not there for violence. You are there to ask for justice. So let's use music. I will send you my song ‘Dignity,’ because it's all about dignity. We need to dignify our police for them to dignify us. We need to write this song."So I sent her the song, and a week later she sent me a groove. And we wrote "Dignity" like that, within a week.
MUSIC: M09_Dignity (with Yemi Alade).wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature [up to 2:55 then to bed]
GEORGES: ANGELIQUE KIDJO AND YEMI ALADE WITH “DIGNITY.” WELL, BEYOND COVID-19 AND END-SARS, 2020 ALSO SAW THE RISE OF “BLACK LIVES MATTER” IN AMERICA, AND A FREEDOM OF SPEECH MOVEMENT IN ZIMBABWE CALLED “ZIMBABWEAN LIVES MATTER.” IT WAS IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS THAT SHUNGUDZO PULLED TOGETHER THE MUSIC ON HER 2021 ALBUM, I’M NOT A MOTHER, BUT I HAVE CHILDREN.
BED: M09.5_Trippin.mp3, Shungudzo
ACTY: 09_Shun-album.wav: This album that's coming out, “I’m Not a Mother But I Have Children,” also has six other Zimbabwean people playing on it. I thought it was really important to bring in people from where I’m from. I was like, why don't I reach out to Zimbabwe people in Zimbabwe on the Internet and see if they would like to play on the album?
MUSIC: M10_White parents.mp3, Shungudzo, Mother/Children (Up to 1:40 then to bed)
GEORGES: OH BOY! “WHITE PARENTS” BY SHUNGUDZO. YOU CAN SEE THAT THE WOMEN ON THIS PROGRAM ARE NOT AFRAID TO TAKE ON UNCOMFORTABLE TOPICS. YOU KNOW THIS REMINDS ME OF CONVERSATIONS WE’VE HAD WITH NIGERIAN AFROBEATS SINGERS. SOME OF THEM ARE NOW SINGING MORE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SONGS, BUT THERE’S STILL A SENSE THAT THOSE SONGS DON’T GO MAINSTREAM. THEY DON’T TAKE PEOPLES’ MINDS OFF THEIR TROUBLES. BOTTOM LINE: THEY DON’T SELL. BUT ANGELIQUE KIDJO BEGS TO DIFFER.
ACTY: 10_AKidjo_political.wav: Politically inclined lyrics today is not about selling anymore. It's about having a point of discussion where people want to be reminded of what is going on and enjoy while listening to those messages. We still entertain. Each one of us come up and make decisions about we need to change in our life for us to get a chance to share this planet. There's a time for everything. Social messages? How do you say it doesn't sell? I mean, Bob Dylan. Fela.Guthrie. The Boss, Springsteen. Come on! I mean look at Bob Marley. Bob Marley sold millions of albums. And all of his messages were political. “So much trouble in the world. It’s a war. Everywhere is war.” [laughs]
GEORGES: LET’S HEAR ONE MORE FROM ANGELIQUE. HERE’S “FREE AND EQUAL” FEATURING SAMPA THE GREAT AND SHUNGUDZO.
MUSIC: M11_Free & Equal (with Sampa The Great).wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature. [3:09] [[I think you could edit out most of the last minute and still get to the vocal ending.]]
MUSIC: M12_The world can't change for you, but you can change the world.mp3, Shungudzo, Mother/Children[3:09]
GEORGES: THAT’S LOVELY. SHUNGUDZO WITH “THE WORLD CAN’T CHANGE FOR YOU, BUT YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.” AND THAT’S OUR SUBJECT TODAY. AFROPOP’S WOMEN WARRIORS, CHANGING THE WORLD WITH SONG.
WINDOW/BED: M13_Africa, One Of A Kind (with Mr Eazi & Salif Keita).wav, Angelique Kidjo, Mother Nature. [50 seconds then to bed]
GEORGES: ANGELIQUE KIDJO REMAKING A SALIF KEITA CLASSIC WITH HELP FROM SALIF AND MR EAZI! COMING UP— DOBET GNAHORE, TOSHI REAGON, AND FATOUMATA DIAOUARA. VISIT AFROPOP.ORG TO READ OUR COMPLETE INTERVIEWS WITH ARTISTS IN THIS PROGRAM. I’M GEORGES COLLINET, AND YOU’RE LISTENING TO AFROPOP WORLDWIDE, FROM PRX.
WINDOW: 20-second break M14_Jalouse.wav, Dobet Gnahore, Couleur (first 20)
WINDOW: M15_Désert.wav, Dobet Gnahore, Couleur (Cumbancha, B091867DG3) (just the opening notes, time to emerge)
GEORGES: NEXT UP IN OUR SURVEY OF WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINES IS DOBET GNAHORE WITH HER 2021 ALBUM, COULEUR. WE’RE HEARING THE LEAD TRACK, “DESERT.”
MUSIC: Desert (Emerge on vocal at 0:10 up to 1:26, then to bed.)
GEORGES: OOOH, I LOVE THAT NORTH AFRICAN VIBE. DOBET GNAHORE WITH “DESERT.” WE CAUGHT UP WITH DOBET, WHO THESE DAYS DIVIDES HER TIME BETWEEN HER HOME STUDIO IN THE ARDENNES, FRANCE AND HER ANCESTRAL HOME IN ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST. COULEUR IS DOBET’S SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM, AND IT’S THE PRODUCT OF A CHALLENGING YEAR OF LOCKDOWN.
ACTY: 11_Dobet_time.wav: (French)
GEORGES: DOBET SAYS, “It's been a very difficult year. We haven't been able to do anything in public. But it has allowed me to concentrate on this album, and the next one too. Because I had the time to compose, I have a lot of material.” DOBET RECORDED COULEUR IN ABIDJAN WITH YOUNG COLLABORATORS.
ACTY: 12_Dobet_Abidjan.wav: (French)
GEORGES: “In the beginning the idea was to renew my African sources and find new inspirations. Before I arrived, I shared my compositions with Tam Sir. He’s a young Ivorian arranger who is doing very well in Côte d'Ivoire. It had been a long time since I had worked with Ivoirian musicians, people from home, and a long time since I recorded a complete album in Côte d'Ivoire. For me, the confinement and calmness allowed me to work the way I wanted to for this album.”
: DOBET’S COULEUR IS NOT AS OVERTLY POLITICAL AS ANGELIQUE’S AND SHUNGUDZO’S ALBUMS, BUT IT DOES CONTAIN MESSAGES.
ACTY: 13_Dobet_dance.wav: (French)
GEORGES: “The messages are of hope. Anyone who listens to this album will sense that it is about movement. That’s what I told Tam Sir. You should feel the African origin, and a little bit of electro and Afrobeats. But the most important thing is that people dance.”
WINDOW: M16_Lève-toi.wav, Dobet Gnahore, Couleur (just the intro)
GEORGES: YOU MAY REMEMBER THIS SONG, “LEVE TOI,” GET UP!” FEATURED IN OUR “AFRICAN JAM” PROGRAM.
WINDOW: “Leve Toi.” (very short)
GEORGES: AS DOBET SAYS, COULEUR IS AN ALBUM THAT MOVES. AS IT PROGRESSES, THE STYLE BECOMES MORE “ELECTRO,” MORE CONTEMPORARY, AND THE MESSAGES DEEPEN. TAKE THE SONG “WOMAN.”
WINDOW: M17_Woman.wav, Dobet Gnahore, Couleur (up to 1:12, then to bed.)
ACTY: Dobet_Woman.wav: (French)
GEORGES: DOBET IS DESCRIBING THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS ALBUM. SHE SAYS, “After I turned 38, Iwanted to talk about my life as a woman. I'm addressing this album to young women who are afraid of advancing, afraid of taking that first step, whether in love, in work, in activism or in how they see their lives. Take the song “Woman.” I'm saying that a woman is beautiful when she dances, beautiful in the way she dresses, beautiful in the way she pursues her goals. It’s true that we are young and beautiful, but we must not forget that we are the ones who must realize our dreams.That is what this album is really about, the emancipation of women, the blooming of women, sexually, in their work, in their daily lives. It's in the words, but it's also in the music, the rhythmic choices. For me, electro music is an expression of my emancipation.
MUSIC: Woman. (to end)
MUSIC: M18_Mon Époque.wav, Dobet Gnahore, Couleur
GEORGES: A DOUBLE HIT FROM DOBET GNAHORE FROM HER 2021 ALBUM COULEUR.
WINDOW: M19_Building Blues.m4a, Toshi Reagon, Have You Heard (Righteous Babe, 7 48731 704 82 7) (up to 0:45, then to bed)
GEORGES: THAT’S THE ONE AND ONLY TOSHI REAGON. WE SPOKE WITH TOSHI ON THE OCCASION OF HER WINNING A HERB ALPERT AWARD IN THE ARTS, AN UNRESTRICTED $75,000 VOTE OF CONFIDENCE THAT HERB GIVES TO FIVE ARTISTS EVERY YEAR. EXCEPT, FOR THE YEAR OF COVID-19, HE BUMPED IT UP TO TEN, AND TOSHI WAS AMONG THEM.
ACTY: 15_Toshi_award.wav: When it comes to awards, I'm always like, "Really? What did I do?" But I’m really grateful.
GEORGES: TOSHI, YOU DID A LOT. FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW, TOSHI IS THE DAUGHTER OF BERNICE JOHNSON REAGON, FOUNDER OF SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK. YOU MIGHT SAY SHE’S BEEN ON THE FRONT LINES OF SOCIAL JUSTICE SINCE BEFORE SHE WAS EVEN BORN.
ACTY: 16_Toshi_mom.wav: I'm one of those lucky kids who grew up with a mom thought it was good for kids to be around music. She took us with her everywhere when we were really little. And when we started to have our own lives, she respected that. But we got to be at lots of festivals. She worked at the Folklife Festival in 1976. And she was in charge of an area called the African Diaspora. And I still think it's one of the greatest things that she ever did. The original idea was that everything would go under a tent. And she was like, "Absolutely not." And so she built a church with no walls. It had a wooden floor and anything from dance to bands; anything could happen there. She had a front porch. And she would have cooks from different parts of the world. One day everybody would be making beans. And another day that they would all be working with peanuts. She had hair practitioners from different countries, straw basket makers, sculptors, and then she had there could be a street singer from somewhere. So, like Flora Molton was there, fife and drum players to Mississippi, dance companies from all over Africa. So I just got a big hit of music from all over the world that one summer. Really transformational.
GEORGES: TOSHI’S MUSIC SPANS FOLK, ROCK, BLUES, FUNK… IT’S BEYOND CLASSIFICATION. HERE’S A TRACK FROM HER ALBUM, HAVE YOU HEARD.
MUSIC: M20_Have You Heard.m4a, Toshi Reagon, Have You Heard (emerge at 0:09-to end) [3:45]
BED: M21-Dream.m4a Toshi Reagon, Have You Heard
GEORGES: WOW. TOSHI REAGON WITH “HAVE YOU HEARD.” TOSHI PERFORMS SOLO AND ALSO WITH BIG LOVELY, A BAND SHE CREATED WITH A ROTATING LINEUP OF SOME 20 MUSICIANS. PERHAPS HER MOST AMBITIOUS PROJECT HAS BEEN AN OPERA BASED ON OCTAVIA BUTLER’S 1993 SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL: PARABLE OF THE SOWER. THE NOVEL ENVISIONS A DISTOPIAN FUTURE—NOT SO DISTANT REALLY: 2024!—IN WHICH CLIMATE CHANGE AND SOCIAL INEQUALITY HAVE RAVAGED OUR CIVILIZATION. TOSHI SAYS IT’S REALLY A CAUTIONARY TALE. A WARNING OF SORTS, AS ANGELIQUE KIDJO MIGHT PUT IT.
ACTY: 17_Toshi_parable1.wav: That's something my mother and I worked on for a while. My mom retired in 2014 and she said, "Here, you go on with this." We are both big Octavia Butler fans, and we had an opportunity with a class that Toni Morrison asked my mother to teach at Princeton. It was a semester-long workshop. You had to have a text. And my mom picked Parable of the Sower, and she couldn't do all the classes so she said maybe Toshi could do half of them. I was in my early 20s and I was like, “Okay, let me go to teach with Toni Morrison. This is going to be fun.” It was awesome. And after we got through that class we thought, "Wow, we could really sing this book."
GEORGES: AND SO THEY DID.
ACTY: 18_Toshi_parable2.wav: It's so giant for me that I can't even believe it every time we get in a theater. We've been on four continents; thousands and thousands of people have seen the show. Like everybody else, we got shot down, but we will hopefully be back in the game next Spring in several cities. We take this work really seriously. Octavia Butler really researched plausible conditions in the 21st century, and she hasn't been wrong. Her clock in the book is so accurate it's scary. Because where she sees us in the year 2024 is horrific, and not something that any of us can tolerate it. I don’t care what your belief system is. So the way I think about this work is it's an opportunity to get into cities and look at people who are activating in a multitude of ways around humans getting in the right relationship with each other and with the planet.
MUSIC: M22_Parable Trailer.m4a, YouTube [0:49]
GEORGES: A BRIEF TASTE OF TOSHI REAGON’S “PARABLE OF THE SOWER.” WATCH FOR IT IN A CITY NEAR YOU.
WINDOW: M23_Fatoumata Diawara - AMBÈ.mp3, YouTube (starts with nature sounds. Play just a couple of seconds here and edit to next emerge)
GEORGES: WE TAKE YOU OUT WITH A TOUR DE FORCE OF ENGAGED AND COMMITTED WOMEN ARTISTS. DURING THE PANDEMIC, MALI’S FATOUMATA DIAWARA REACHED OUT TO A NUMBER OF HER PEERS ASKING THEM TO HELP HER SING A SONG ABOUT UNITY AND SOLIDARITY DURING A CHALLENGING TIME. THE SONG IS “AMBE,” WHICH MEANS “TOGETHER” IN BAMBARA. IT FEATURES ANGELIQUE KIDJO, DIANNE REEVES, CHINA MOSES, INNA MODJA, SOMI, MAYRA ANDRADE, THANDISWA MAZWAI, AND ON DRUMS, TERRI LYNN CARRINGTON. AND TRUST ME, ONCE YOU’VE HEARD THESE BRILLIANT WOMEN, YOU MUST SEE THE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE. IT IS ONE FOR THE AGES. HERE THEY ARE WITH “AMBE.”
MUSIC: AMBÈ.mp3 (emerge at 0:57, when the song starts. Use as much as you can)
GEORGES: FATOUMATA DIAWARA AND FRIENDS WRAPPING UP OUR SURVEY OF AFROPOP’S WOMEN WARRIORS. IT IS JUST AMAZING THE WAY FEMALE ARTISTS ARE TAKING THE LEAD IN CHARTING A NEW COURSE FOR GLOBAL AFRICAN MUSIC AS WE SLOWLY EMERGE FROM THIS PANDEMIC. HEY GUYS, GET WITH IT! THEY’RE PUTTING US TO SHAME! JUST KIDDING. THERE’S ROOM FOR ALL OF US TO CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING A BETTER WORLD IN THE YEARS TO COME. SO LET’S GET WITH IT!
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THANKS TO ANGELIQUE KIDJO, SHUNGUDZO, DOBET GNAHORE, TOSHI REAGON, AND ALL THE FABULOUS WOMEN WE HEARD ON THIS PROGRAM. VISIT AFROPOP.ORG TO READ OUR FULL INTERVIEWS WITH THEM. YOU CAN ALSO FIND US ON FACEBOOK AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER AT “AFROPOPWW.” MY AFROPOP PARTNER IS SEAN BARLOW. SEAN PRODUCES OUR PROGRAM FOR WORLD MUSIC PRODUCTIONS. RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION FOR THIS PROGRAM BY BANNING EYRE.AND, BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR PODCAST, INCLUDING RADIO PROGRAMS AND OUR AFROPOP CLOSEUP PODCAST SERIES.
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JOIN US NEXT WEEK FOR ANOTHER EDITION OF AFROPOP WORLDWIDE. OUR CHIEF AUDIO ENGINEER IS MICHAEL JONES. THIS PROGRAM WAS MIXED AT STUDIO 44 IN BROOKLYN BY ZUBIN HENSLER. ADDITIONAL ENGINEERING BY GC FROM THE SYNCOPATED LAIR IN WASHINGTON, D.C. BANNING EYRE AND CC SMITH EDIT OUR WEBSITE, AFROPOP.ORG. OUR DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA IS BEN RICHMOND. AND I’M GEORGES COLLINET.