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Afropop Worldwide is an internationally syndicated weekly radio series, online guide to African and world music, and an international music archive, that has introduced American listeners to the music cultures of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean since 1988. Our radio program is hosted by Georges Collinet from Cameroon, the radio series is distributed by Public Radio International to 110 stations in the U.S., via XM satellite radio, in Africa via and Europe via Radio Multikulti.
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The Abakuá society of Cuba conserves with remarkable orthodoxy language and rituals from the Ekpe society of West Africa. For The Cameroon-Cuba Connection, Dr. Ivor Miller shares with Georges Collinet and Ned Sublette his decades of research into the roots of Cuban Abakuá in Cameroon. Featuring ceremonial and pop music of southern and southwestern …
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Belo Horizonte is Brazil’s sixth largest city and including its surrounding districts, the country’s third largest metropolitan area. The capital of Minas Gerais, a state built on mining, dairy products and coffee production, Belo Horizonte is often seen as a parochial, conservative backwater, yet its thriving alternative arts scene provides robust…
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Much has been made of Mexico's rich Spanish and indigenous heritage, but until recently there's been little talk of Mexico's so-called "Third Root": Africa. Africans came to Mexico with the Spanish as soldiers and slaves -- so many that by 1810, the black population of Mexico was equal to that of the United States. Today, African heritage persists …
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In 1989, very few Americans had heard the extraordinary voice of the man destined to be named “Best African Artists of the 20th Century.” Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour and his juggernaut mbalax band Le Super Etoile had played at The Ritz in New York three years earlier, and had recently been signed to Virgin Records. N’Dour’s own star was undoubtedly on…
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The Amizigh, or Berber, are the original inhabitants of North Africa, which means their roots run deeper than the region’s better known Arab or European inhabitants. Berber history and music span from ancient sounds from the Atlas and Kabyle mountains to the latest pop fusions. In this, the first of Afropop’s Berber music series, we get the history…
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The long awaited follow-up to Afropop's popular 2002 program "Berber Rising" brings listeners up to date on music being made by the original inhabitants of North Africa, the Imazighen, or Berber. The program will include interviews and music from Takfarinas, Malika Zarra, Idir, Amazight, Fatima Tabaamrant, Iness Mezel, Najat Aâtabou and more. We'll…
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The 20th edition of Planet Afropop marks the end of our first season. In this episode, we sample top new music picks from Mukwae and Banning, Georges remembers a childhood sweetheart, Mukwae interviews Bermudian DJ Noise Cans, and Banning interviews Samuel Rose of the Swanky Kitchen Band from the Cayman Islands.…
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From the 1970s to the present—hip-hop and Afrobeats notwithstanding—the most beloved and popular music in Senegal has been and remains mbalax. Mbalax grew out of a scene where urban bands Dakar bands like the Star Band and Orchestra Baobab were experimenting with Afro-Cuban music, funk and other foreign styles, blending and mixing them with local t…
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In this episode of Planet Afropop, we explore the music and language of the Caribbean coasts’ Afro-indigenous Garinagu People of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, St. Vincent, and Nicaragua commonly known as the Garifuna. The official story is that these are descendants of enslaved Africans who were shipwrecked on the Island of St. Vincent in 1635. The …
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The "taarab" music of East Africa's Swahili coast offers an amazing history lesson. Bantu and coastal Africans, Arabs, Portuguese, Germans, Brits, and Indians all figure in. With guest, anthropologist and author, Kelly Askew, this Hip Deep program explores the taarab music of Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, and Mombasa, Kenya. The show features rar…
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On "Breaking Into Afrobeats" Georges Collinet and Lagos-based producer producer FayFay, shed light on the challenges faced by aspiring artists in the Afrobeats music industry in Nigeria. This episode introduces listeners to emerging talents like Romi, Bayanni, Boy Spyce, Lady Donli, Young John and Kidd Carder - highlighting their journeys, obstacle…
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Afropop’s Banning Eyre published his prize-winning biography of Thomas Mapfumo, Lion Songs, in 2015. In this episode, he visits the Lion of Zimbabwe at his home in Eugene, Oregon, to discuss new music, the current state of Zimbabwe and more. We hear from Mapfumo’s latest album, Ndikutambire, and sneak previews of works in progress. We also meet 24-…
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Part 2 of our Hip Deep in Ethiopia series features insights from Professor Kay Shelemay of Harvard University, author most recently of Sing and Sing On: Sentinal Musicians and the Making of the Ethiopian American Diaspora (2022). This episode, originally aired in 2009, takes us into Ethiopian Diaspora communities in the United States and Israel, an…
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Ethiopia was the first Christian nation in Africa, and the only African country never to be colonized. With ethnomusicologist Kay Kaufman Shelemay and Ethiopian music scholar and compiler Francis Falceto as guests, this Hip Deep program explores the role of the Ethiopian church and monarchy in building the country's unique brassy pop music. We samp…
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South Africa is one of the biggest dance music nations, and now it seems like the whole world is dancing along to its amapiano (piano/yanos) beats, a genre that blends its kwaito roots with house, jazz and its signature log drum.Afropop Worldwide first explored amapiano’s origins and growing popularity in October 2020. Since then, the genre has see…
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On this episode of Planet Afropop, Georges Collinet interviews fellow Cameroonian Gino Sitson. Sitson is a maverick maestro who blends unique vocal techniques with sounds from classical instruments—cello, violin, double bass—with African traditional elements. You have to hear it to believe it. You will likely share Georges’ amazement. Also, new mus…
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The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation recorded a goldmine of local music in the 1960s and 70s, but the tapes were neglected and close to ruined when broadcaster Waliko Makhala raised the alarm. With help from the Norwegian embassy and Norwegian broadcaster Sigbjorn Nedland, digitization got underway. In this program, we sample the results guided by W…
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In 1991, Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited made their second tour of the United States. It was a fascinating transitional moment in the band’s history. Mapfumo had recently added two musicians playing the metal-pronged, Shona mbira, enriching the band’s lineup of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, brass and percussion. The band had now evolved i…
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In this episode, producer Elodie Maillot in Paris reviews the career of mercurial Algerian-French singer, composer and activist Rachid Taha, who died in 2018. With remembrances from producers Steve Hillage, Justin Adams and others, the podcast brings to life a singular life and musical career. Taha merged rock and rai music, love poetry and fierce …
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This Hip Deep edition explores the legendary early career of Thomas Mapfumo, a singer, composer and bandleader whose 1970s music set the stage for the birth of a new nation, Zimbabwe. Using rare, unreleased recordings, and recollections by Mapfumo, key band members, and prominent Zimbabweans who lived through the liberation struggle, this program t…
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In this episode, we'll trace the history of country music, highlighting the often-overlooked contributions of Black artists and fans. We'll travel to Kenya to meet rising country stars who are bringing their own unique sounds to the genre. Hear their takes on the hits of Don Williams, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and more. We'll also explore the his…
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In this episode, Planet Afropop’s Lagos correspondent Fay Fay profiles a unique multi-generational band on the Nigerian scene: Alternative Reflective Beats (ARB). True to their name, ARB's music embodies the vibrant rhythms of Afrobeat intertwined with a fusion of other genres. Their mission is to maintain their distinct musical identity while crea…
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Umm Kulthum has been called the greatest singer in the Arabic speaking world in the 20th century. Born in 1904 the humble daughter of an Egyptian village imam, she went on to become a glamorous Cairo celebrity in her 20s, and soon after that, a cultural icon whose monthly live radio broadcasts brought much of Egypt to a standstill. She turned high …
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This program focuses on four female artists whose 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 w…
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Afropop Worldwide took 24 adventurous listeners to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and Zanzibar in February. In this episode, Dar music veteran and aficionado John Kitime takes us through highlights, including the frenetic and risqué singeli music-and-dance craze currently electrifying the country. We also get Kitime's unique insider perspective, and some…
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