Archive for the ‘quilombolas’ Category

Eric S.B. - Bassist of Quilombolas“We like to mix it with different languages and different cultures, but everything is based in Mama Africa. Everything in America comes from Mama Africa.”

The message from bassist and lead vocalist of Eric S.B. of Quilombolas perfectly captured the mix the band achieved at the AfriFest Gala at the Cedar Culture Center along with four other bands. Below are photos from Quilombolas that Richard Ooga, a professional photographer with ePix Mobile Studios located in Lakeville and contributor to Mshale, was kind enough to provide me.

Papi U. - Drummer of Quilombolas Matt Levit (Levitt8) - Guitarist of Quilombolas Eric S.B. - Bassist of Quilombolas Percussionist for Quilombolas Percussionist for Quilombolas Quilombolas and Grooving Fans


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We like to mix it with different languages and different cultures, but everything is based in Mama Africa. Everything in America comes from Mama Africa.

Quilombolas performing during the Afrifest GalaThe message from bassist and lead vocalist of Eric S.B. of Quilombolas perfectly describes the AfriFest Gala concert experience with bands hailing from Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Puerto Rico – the rhythms and beat of the drum all called out to the original homeland of Mama Africa in an experience that had the audience grooving for five hours and wanting more.

Mehanie Woldemichael, guitarist for Wegegta With some of the band’s members hailing from Ethiopia, Wegegta means a sprinkle or a ray of light, according to bass guitarist, Jonathan Bekare. The bands sound fuses jazz, Afropop, and a fat sound from keyboardist, Samuel Francis, that at times are more reminiscent of East African pop. Opening with a traditional song from south Ethiopia and then grooving into a cover of Ransome, a hard-driving tune from the Groove Collective dedicated to Fela Kuti.

Wegegta’s guitarists Mehanie Woldemicheal and Robert Hall carried the band going back and forth through the set with great solos and finger-work. The band was amazingly tight as the music changed time though out songs. The intermix of the jazz beat and Ethiopian sound and rhythms worked well to warm the crowd up for a great evening of music. The half-hour time they played was too short, and Wegegta could easily have easily held their own for an entire show.

Matt Levitt of QuilombolasQuilombolas
Before the AfriFest gala, Quilombolas guitarist and vocalist Matt Levitt greeted concert goers with an acoustic set. His ability to change up styles from the acoustic set to samba during the first number epitomized the band’s travel around the world of musical genres from rap and rock to samba and reggae. The act blended the styles of Rage Against the Machine with Ozomatli and guitar solos that were pure rock through their entire set.

Quilombolas Eric S.B. (bass) and Papi U (drums) perform at the CedarWith as seamlessly as the band blends different music styles, the vocals blended just as well with the sometimes higher falsetto voice of drummer Papi U complimenting the hip-hop vocals of Eric S.B. and Levitt8. In addition to the threesome, the band was joined by two guest percussionists which added a great Latin beat to the mix.

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Quilombolas To Perform at AfrifestDuring colonial times the Quilombos of Brazil provided a place of refuge for anyone regardless of background or creed. Quilombolas’ music, infused with vibes of liberty, justice, and equality, establishes a similar musical refuge through its multi-lingual, socio-politically-aware lyrics, driving rhythms, and blending of world musical styles.

As the band’s website describes, “The members have a common love and appreciation for music that grooves, reflecting the fact that the sounds they enjoy all come from Africa and the subsequent African Diaspora. Funk, rock, hip-hop, samba, salsa, reggae, and many other cultural genres are combined with multilingual lyrics representing the spoken languages of the Americas.”

The band cites such inspirations including Ozomatli, Spearhead, and the Police. They’re a great, new sound to hit the Minneapolis scene, and should add a lot of spice to the Afrifest Gala this Saturday evening. Quilombos takes the main stage of the Cedar Cultural Center at 8:00 PM. Doors open for the gala at 6:00 PM, and the main stage bands start at 7:00. Tickets for the AfriFest Gala are $10 at the door for five bands.

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Quilombolas To Perform at AfrifestI can’t claim credit for this one as I obtained many of the concerts listed here from Culture Bully. In addition to the shows listed by Culture Bully are an entire selection of acts that are appearing during AfriFest as well as great concerts at Cabooze and the Dakota. I was able to confirm the AfriFest acts with the festival’s organizers.

Tuesday August 14
The Umbrellas @ 7th St. Entry (Audio)
Marilyn Manson & Slayer @ Xcel Energy Center (Audio)
Reel Big Fish & Less Than Jake @ Myth (Audio, MySpace)

Thursday August 16
Killarmy @ Foundation (Audio, Wiki)

Friday August 17
Club Afrika (Afrifest Grand Opening Event) 21+
9510 West River Road-Brooklyn Park, MN 55444
Tel: 763.639.5001/763.228.9685
Costs-$15 regular / $25 VIP (Treats, special VIP area, and parking)
Drink Specials until 11pm
Time: 9pm-2am

Saturday August 18
Au Revoir Simone @ 7th St. Entry (Audio)
Satellite Party @ Fine Line Music Café (Audio)
Indigenous – SAVE Benefit @ The Cabooze (Official Site, MySpace)

Afrifest Gala Event @ Cedar Cultural Center
6 PM – Doors open
Main Stage Acts
7 PM – Wegegta (Ethiopian soul/Hip-hop – Video 1, Video 2)
8 PM – Quilombolas (AfroPop & Hip-hop – MySpace)
9 PM – Munnah (Liberian R&B – MySpace)
10 PM – Maria Isa (Latino Hip-hop – MySpace)
11 PM – Incognita (Afro-Funky – MySpace – Rather than getting hung up on a description, give them a listen)

Sunday August 19
Wallace Roney @ The Dakota (Wiki, Official Website)

In upcoming posts I’ll be providing additional information on each of the acts participating at the AfriFest Gala Event hosted by the Cedar Cultural Center.

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