Top African Acts in Chicago in March and April 2007

Toumani Diabate
Toumani Diabate
Two of the finest west African bands will be performing in Chicago at HotHouse. Toumani Diabaté‘s Symmetric Orchestra will perform two shows on Thursday, March 22nd. Gangbé Brass Band will play Wednesday, April 11th.

Toumani Diabaté is one of the great figures in African music. His latest CD is Boulevard de l’Independence. This super-charged, traditional meets modern dance-band album unites the two sides of his remarkable musical personality – the virtuosic traditionalist and the restless innovator. Recorded in a series of all night sessions at Mali’s Hotel Mandé, it packs the fruit of ten years experimentation into some of the densest, punchiest, most richly textured music you’ll ever hear.

Toumani Diabaté plays the kora, a harp unique to West Africa with 21 strings; and more than any other kora player, it is Toumani who is responsible for bringing this instrument to audiences around the world. Not only is he a performer of truly exceptional virtuosity and creativity – some one who shows that the kora can rival the world’s greatest instruments; but he also plays a vital role as band leader, teacher, musical conservationist and composer at home in Bamako, capital of Mali where he was born and has lived all his life.

Benin’s explosive and colorful Gangbé Brass Band explores the rich voodoo culture and ancient songs of their country, the legendary Dahomey. This exotic ensemble is inspired by traditional songs and rhythms featuring saxophones and trumpets, fused with euphonium, African percussion, and warm, melodic vocals. Their energetic and vibrant performances create trance-inducing rhythms that are as powerful on the dance floor and concert hall as at traditional African funerals and weddings.

HotHouse is located at 31 E. Balbo @ Wabash Downtown Chicago. Phone: 312-362-9707.