Magazine article African Business

Latino Links: A Homage to African Women

Magazine article African Business

Latino Links: A Homage to African Women

Article excerpt

MARTINA Africando Sterns Cat: STCD1096

Africando was formed in 1992, the initiative of three West African musicians-Medoune Diallo, Nicholas Menheim and the late Pape Serigne Seck--working in close co-operation with the famed Malian composer and arranger, Boncana Maiga, and the celebrated Senegalese producer, Ibrahima Seck.

The Africando concept was simple: To travel across the Atlantic to New York City and meet up with the best Latin musicians working in the city--musicians of Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican heritage. By bringing together African musicians and musicians from the African diaspora, the idea was to create a musical genre that as well as revitalising a shared cultural heritage would also bring their diverse audiences together.

The immediate success of Africando was to result in five albums, selling a total of around a million albums world-wide. Their formula was to reinterpret the classic Latin dance music hits of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that had created such a stir not just in Havana, San Jose and New York, but throughout most of West and Central Africa during this period.

To celebrate their first decade, this album is dedicated to African women. Whether it is songs celebrating mothers or grandmothers, aunts or sisters, daughters, girlfriends or wives, Martina's 11 songs salute the beauty and elegance of African women, and acknowledge the pivotal role of women in nurturing and teaching future generations.

CONCEPT BEYOND RACE AND NATIONALITY

Africando's concept goes beyond geography, and beyond race, nationality or ethnicity. In celebrating African women, this album's sleeve notes tell us, Martina has a message for the world. That message is that wherever African women have gone on the great journey of their people--their warmth, their humanity, their resilience have remained undimmed whatever their sufferings.

While Africando has always kept a core group of musicians, such is the high regard that the band has earned that guest vocalists and instrumentalists are queuing up to record with them. And it is no different with Martina, the band's sixth album which features six guest vocalists.

From Senegal we find Ismael Lo, actually born in Niger but who grew up near Dakar, a veteran of the Super Diamono band and one of the first solo singers and guitarists from the region to find success on the Parisian music scene. …

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