The African continent has a rich tradition of guitar mastery that spans stylistically from the desert blues of the nomadic Tuareg people to world-renowned, globe-trotting troubadour masters such as the late guitarist Ali Farka Toure, and everything in between. Each country has unique styles, traditions and its own superstars. Acoustic Africa is a traveling tour of three of today’s greatest African guitarists, Oliver Mtukudzi, Habib Koite and Afel Bocoum.
Oliver Mtukudzi, the celebrated Zimbabwean star who has over 59 albums to his name, has won numerous awards and earned a worldwide audience of fans with his husky voice, his skillful and engaging guitar playing and his socially-conscious lyrics. Habib Koite is one of Mali’s most well-know and beloved musicians. He is known for his unique, open-string guitar tunings, his warm voice, calm delivery and incorporation of Flamenco and blues styles into his repertoire. Malian Afel Bocoum, who is the nephew and former band member of the legendary Ali Farka Toure, is a celebrated singer, songwriter, guitarist and social commentator whose lyrics address issues such as forced marriage, social inequality and the ever-changing times.
Together, these three musicians make up a body of work that is representative of many of the African styles and traditions. They are messengers who, despite linguistic and cultural differences, remind audiences that the planet has become a very small place and that our neighbor’s concerns are our concerns. For the Acoustic Africa tour, the three musicians each play sets with their own bands and share the stage on several of each others’ tunes as well.
Acoustic Africa comes to Club Regent at the Fairmont on March 20 at 6pm. The show is part of Winter Fest 2011 put on by San Jose Jazz.