On June 18, the blind Malian duo, Amadou & Mariam (the link contains a very detailed bio) will be performing at the 9:30 Club. They will be joined by Bombino, a Tuareg guitarist from next door in Niger who is starting to make a big name for himself (I believe he performed at the Black Cat last summer, and come to think of it, I believe Amadou & Mariam may have performed at the 9:30 Club a year ago as well). According to 9:30’s bio of Bombino, two of his bandmates were killed during Niger’s Tuareg rebellion that ended in 2009.
If you can’t afford the $40 ticket for that show, the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center has 2 free shows with African performers for you. On June 20, Cheick Hamala Diabate, another Malian (although he must be based in DC, because he’s been doing a lot of shows here in recent months), will perform to support UNHCR in honor of World Refugee Day. Two days later, the South Sudanese rapper Emmanual Jal will perform at the same venue. I have to confess I had never heard of Jal, although the Kennedy Center blurb says he is ‘world-renowned’ and his Wikipedia page is quite lengthy (he was a child soldier, who managed, in something that sounds like it was taken from the pages of Philip Caputo’s Acts of Faith, to escape to Kenya, with the help of a British aid worker married to a South Sudanese commander, which is where he was able to launch his music career).
If you go to any of these, let me know how it was.
Unfortunately, DC offers too many events for me to cover. One event that I missed today (which I would have greatly liked to attend), was a CSIS convocation on “Building Youth-Inclusive Democracies: Lessons from Kenya.” Given the recently concluded election, this couldn’t be more timely. Kenya only knew 2 rulers for its first 40 years; Kenyatta will be inaugurated as the 4th head of state in Kenya’s 50th year of independence.
In general, I believe that a major problem facing African governance is the lack of new (and young) blood, which fuels resentment and discontent with normal channels of representative governance. Continue reading
The Brookings Institution hosted a more riveting than usual talk today, “Kenya Decides: The 2013 Presidential Election.” As I mentioned in the previous post, this talk, on a much more prominent platform, repeated the guests that SAIS convened yesterday with the addition of Jendayi Frazer, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under George W. Bush. If I recall correctly, Frazer stated that Kenya was the first African country she ever visited. Continue reading