Acoustic Africa brings Habib Koité and Vusi Mahlasela to the USA

After worldwide critical and commercial success in 2006, 2011 and 2013, the fourth instalment of Acoustic Africa’s exhilarating journey showcases two of the continent's most beloved singers, Mali’s Habib Koité and Vusi Mahlasela of South Africa. The two artists will perform on Tuesday 5 April at the Cedar Cultural Centre in Minneapolis, USA.

South African artist Vusi Mahlasela. Photo:
South African artist Vusi Mahlasela. Photo:

A modern musician with extraordinary appeal, Habib Koité‘s musicianship, wit and wisdom translate across cultures. Hailing from the musically prolific West African nation of Mali, the guitarist and composer has been named the biggest pop star of the region by Rolling Stone magazine, delighting audiences the world over and selling more than 250 000 albums. Over the past decade, his artistry and magnetic personality have made him an international star, placing him firmly among the leading figures in contemporary world music.

Simply known as ‘The Voice‘ in his home country, Vusi Mahlasela is celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics. His songs of hope connect apartheid-scarred South Africa with its promise for a better future. Raised in Mamelodi in Pretoria, where he still resides, Mahlasela became a singer-songwriter and poet-activist at an early age. After his popular debut on BMG Africa, When You Come Back in 1992, he was asked to perform at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 and continues to spread Madiba's message as an official ambassador of Mandela’s HIV/Aids initiative, 46664.


Beyond the Acoustic Africa performances, the Cedar Cultural Centre also hosts a great line-up of performances by other African artists coming up in the next few months. Somali artist Jubba is set to perform there on Friday 29 April. Born Abdulkadir Omar Yusuf in Somalia in 1962, he began singing as a teenager in Mogadishu under the stage name Jubba and was recruited to the legendary Waaberi Group after winning a popular singing competition at the age of 19. Waaberi Group was Somalia’s government-sponsored music and dance troupe which included the best and most talented singers, musicians and dancers in the country. With hundreds of views views on many popular YouTube channels, Jubba is an international star. He continues to tour internationally and recently wrote and performed a song for the Queen of Norway.


Other artists expected to perform at The Cedar Cultural Centre later in 2016 are Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara (who is slated to perform on 6 May), Nigeria’s Femi Kuti and the Positive Force (on 15 July) and Senegal’s Pape Diouf (on 18 July). To find out more about the African artists performances at The Cedar Culture Centre, visit the organizations website.

Elsewhere in Minneapolis, Mali’s Songhoy Blues are set to perform at the Ice House on 8 April. The band that has already staged performances at New York’s Beacon Theatre as well as the Chicago Theatre and Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee in March. At the end of May they will be back in Africa to headline Bushfire in Swaziland. To learn more about Songhoy Blues tour around the world, visit the band’s website for tour dates.


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