Bluefire Streetfest – Saturday 20th September 2014

Expanding the culture night over the weekend sees a great day of entertainment next Saturday in Dublin. It also features a great presence of the City’s African music scene. Bands include Mali/International group Manden Express, 14 piece Afrobeat group The Dublin Afrobeat Ensemble, Afro/Irish group Tig Linn and Ugandan Singer Justine Nantale. Performances on the day also from Ghanaian dancer Godfred Asare accompanied by the Afro-Eire percussion group.

Manden Express

Manden Express

West African Dance in Ireland

For the first time in Ireland we have a resident Master African Dancer. Godfred Asare from Ghana, West Africa has been thrilling students and audiences alike since his arrival here in June. Since then he has been collaborating with the Afro-Eire percussion ensemble and Afro-Irish group Manden Express.

Check Godfred out demonstrating the Torpay dance from the Volta region of Ghana at his weekly workshops in Dublin.

‘Bombino’ – Niger, West Africa – July 17th @ The Twisted Pepper, Dublin.


Omara Moctar aka ‘Bombino’ perhaps represents the next progression of West Africa’s ‘Desert Blues’ phenomena.  He also represents a broadening of our vision Eastward from the Mali heartland to Niger where desert accounts for 80% of the landmass.  Hailing from Agadez in Northen Niger he shares much in common with his Tuareg compatriots Tinariwen whose music has been shaped by political conflict, war, ethnic disenfranchisement, refugee camps and the vast desert expanses of their homeland.

Sterling Carter at Trebuchet magazine writes:

Music has been, at times, a weapon for the Tuareg, a rallying cry. During the last campaign against the Tuareg in 2007, Niger banned guitars from the restive North. Never let anyone tell you that music doesn’t have power. These aren’t war songs, however. Bombino insists that his guitar isn’t a gun. Instead, it is a hammer that he will use to build his people’s homes. Instead of leading men into the brink, they are melodies about the thrill of young love, friendship, patience, and a longing for home.

His first album Agadez in 2011 won him critical acclaim, he also appeared with a 13 minute live track on the 2012 Songs for Desert Refugees alongside tracks from Tinariwen, Tamikrest and Etran Finatawa in aid of the victims of the vast refugee crisis created following the ill-fated takeover of Northern Mali by The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and their subsequent ousting by Islamist groups.  His latest offering Nomad sees both soulful acoustic offerings accompanied by traditional percussion and leading on to the trademark Stratocaster driven tracks that expose our minds to a higher register and send us driving through the Sahara desert.  I can almost smell the fumes of the ancient Mercedes and my fellow passengers packed in tight with an odd chicken or two for good measure.

Bombino plays Dublin on the 17th July at the Twisted Pepper.  For more information see

Tickets available at



Tinariwen – Cork 28th June, Westport 29th, Dublin 1st July.

Tinariwen - Afro-Eire

Tinariwen – Afro-Eire

Tinariwen are back in Ireland this week celebrating the release of their latest album – EMMAAR.  Following the continuing political instability in their homeland of Northern Mali and its surrounds, this album was recorded in a desert in California and sees a host of guest appearances without comprimising their guitar driven Sahara desert sound.

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Toumani & Sidiki Diabate – Dublin (7th) & CORK (8th June) 2014

Toumani Diabate is set to return to Ireland this June 7th (Dublin) and 8th (Cork). After wowing audience in recent years with his Symetric Orchestra and the Afrocubism project this Tour marks the first collaboration with his son Sidiki Diabate celebrating their first album together.


Toumani is one of the Jewels of Malian and African music. His mastery of the 21 string Kora reflects 71 generations of musicianship and a capacity to improvise that has seen him collaborate with musicians as diverse as Taj Mahal, Bjork and Ketama.


Waltons World Masters: Toumani & Sidiki Diabate – Dublin – 7th June – The National Concert Hall.

Toumani & Sidiki Diabate – Cork – 8th June – The Cork Opera House.

Djembe and Dunun all day workshop – Saturday 17th May

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Introduction to Djembe: 12 – 2pm – (15e). Come and learn djembe techniques, the first three sounds of the djembe, calls to enter and exit rhythms, gain an understanding of polyrhythm and learn the traditional djembe phrases. Class supported by dunun (bass drum) section.

Djembe and Dunun for percussionists and intermediate/advanced players: 2.30 – 5pm – (15e)  - An indepth exploration of of binary and ternary rhythms from Guinea and Mali. Participants will learn djembe and dunun parts, arrangements and solos.

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