Amadou & Mariam / Theophilus London / Just a Band
Central Park Mainstage (mid-park, 72nd St., Manhattan)
The world of Amadou & Mariam is a musical sphere that stretches from the dusty streets of Mali to playing at Coachella and Lollapalooza. Their unique mix of unforgettable pop melodies and contagious rhythms, driven by Amadou’s bluesy electric guitar and the compelling interplay of their two voices may have its roots deeply planted in Africa, yet this music effortlessly transcends classification. As popular across Africa as it is in Europe and America, critically acclaimed albums such as Dimanche à Bamako, Welcome to Mali and their newest, Folila, have taken Amadou & Mariam on an epic journey that has made the couple one of the best-selling acts to come out of Africa. Their friend Theophilus London, who appears on Folila (along with Santigold, TV on the Radio and others), joins them on the bill.
Urban electro pop phenomenon Theophilus London released his debut LP Timez Are Weird These Days in 2011, following a series of wildly popular independent mixtapes and the Lovers Holiday EP. Timez Are Weird These Days explores the dreamlike headspace of a globetrotting young artist blurring the lines between 80’s rap, new wave beats, freestyle noise and the snarling guitars of psychobilly surf rock. London’s sound moves effortlessly through a range of emotions, from party starting dance floor defiance to moments of quiet intimacy and introspection.
Just a Band is a trio from Nairobi, Kenya consisting of “Blinky Bill” Sellanga, Dan Muli and Jim Chuchu, who came together as a creative force at Kenyatta University. Describing themselves as a “super-nerdy African electronic music/art collective,” in true DIY style, they not only write, record and engineer their albums, but also create their videos, packaging and promo items. Their 2009 video for the single “Ha-He” off the album of the same name was credited as the first viral sensation to emanate from Kenya. A mix of house, neo-soul with a touch of punk throws the group into a class all its own.