185 Clingman Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

Etran de L’Aïr

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ALL AGESSTANDING ROOM ONLY   ETRAN DE L’AIR Etran de L’Aïr (or “stars of the Aïr region”) welcomes you to Agadez, the capital city of Saharan rock. Playing for over 25 years, Etran has emerged as stars of the local wedding circuit. Beloved for their dynamic repertoire of hypnotic solos and sun schlazed melodies, Etran stakes out a place for Agadez guitar music. Playing a sound that invokes the desert metropolis, “Agadez” celebrates the sounds of all the dynamism of a hometown wedding. Etran is a family band composed of brothers and cousins, all born and raised in the small neighborhood of Abalane, just in the shadow of the grand mosque. Sons of nomadic families that settled here in the 1970s fleeing the droughts, they all grew up in Agadez. The band was formed in 1995 when current band leader Moussa “Abindi” Ibra was only 9 years old. “We only had one acoustic guitar,” he explains, “and for percussion, we hit a calabash with a sandal.” Over the decades, the band painstakingly pieced together gear to form their band and built an audience by playing everywhere, for everyone. “It was difficult. We would walk to gigs by foot, lugging all our equipment, carrying a small PA and guitars on our backs, 25 kilometers into the bush, to play for free…there’s nowhere in Agadez we haven’t played.” From the days of the Trans-Saharan caravan in the 14th century to a modern-day stopover for Europe-bound migrants, Agadez is a city that stands at the crossroads, where people and ideas come together. Understandably, it’s here where one of the most ambitious Tuareg guitar has taken hold. Agadez’s style is the fastest, with frenetic electric guitar solos, staccato crash of full drum kits, and flamboyant dancing guitarists. Agadez is the place where artists come to cut their teeth in a lucrative and competitive winner-take-all scene. Guitar bands are an integral part of the social fabric, playing in weddings, baptisms, and political rallies, as well as the occasional concert. Whereas other Tuareg guitarists look to Western rock, Etran de L’Aïr play in a pan-African style that is emblematic of their hometown, citing a myriad of cultural influences, from Northern Malian blues, Hausa bar bands, to Congolese Soukous. It’s perhaps this quality that makes them so beloved in Agadez. “We play for the Tuareg, the Toubou, the Zarma, the Hausa,” Abindi explains. “When you invite us, we come and play.” Their music is rooted in celebration, and invokes the exuberance of an Agadez wedding, with an overwhelming abundance of guitars, as simultaneous solos playfully pass over one another with a restrained precision, forceful yet never overindulgent. Recorded at home in Agadez with a mobile studio, their eponymous album stays close to the band’s roots. Over a handful of takes, in a rapid-fire recording session, “Agadez” retains all the energy of a party. Their message too is always close to home. The dreamy ballad Toubouk Ine Chihoussay (“The Flower of Beauty”) dives into call and response lyrics, and solos that dance effortlessly over the frets. On other tracks like Imouwizla (“Migrants”), Etran addresses immigration with the driving march parallels the nomads’ plight with travelers crossing the desert for Europe. Yet even at its most serious, Etran’s music is engaged and dynamic, reminding us that music can transmit a message while lighting up a celebration. This is music for dancing, after all.

Rich Rob’s B-day Bash!

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-ALL AGES-STANDING ROOM ONLY-FREE ENTRY-LIMITED VIP TICKETS AVAILABLE Come on out and celebrate with Rich Rob! This is basically going to be a 3 ring experimental circus hosted by Calcutta. There will be door prizes, a raffle, costume contests, open mic, multiple musicals acts & more! Comedy with Mario Trevizo, MoTanya’s chill-hop DJ stylings, Ampersand the Band’s debut show, and some head-nod-jazz from After Ours!  This event is free to the public, but acquiring a ticket prior to the show is strongly recommended.

Jupiter & Okwess

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– ALL AGES- STANDING ROOM ONLYJUPITER & OKWESSExplosive! Na Kozonga, the new album by Jupiter and his band Okwess is a blast of energy that bewitches the body and feeds the spirit. Since the beginning, the Rebel General and his fellow pyrotechnicians have been drawing the rhythms of the Congo out of obscurity to reveal their superpowers: the powers of rock and funk, ready for every kind of musical coupling and any kind of invitation! From Damon Albarn to Money Mark (Beastie Boys) via, on this new album, the samba of Rogê, the rap of Marcelo D2, the horns of New Orleans or the voice of the militant Chilean singer Ana Tijoux. Jupiter & Okwess have no fear of strange encounters, nor the craziest journeys. They’ve even managed to conquer Latin America, and are currently busy recreating the triangular trade, in sounds! No surprise from one who, on his first album, declared “Ich bin ein Congolese…The world is my land.” “We all have ancestors in Africa,” Jupiter reminds us, “and they also played music. And if Africa looks like a revolver, its trigger can be found…in the Congo!’ Ready, Steady, Go! Jupiter and his joyous pistoleros are giving us the go-ahead. A new world tour awaits them. It’s up to you to follow their incandescent star.

Kaleta & Super Yamba Band w/ Electro Lust

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– ALL AGES- STANDING ROOM ONLYKALETA & SUPER YAMBA BAND Brooklyn’s Kaleta & Super Yamba Band are fronted by Afrobeat and Juju veteran Leon Ligan-Majek a.k.a. Kaleta. The singer/guitarist from the West African country of Benin Republic lived his adolescent life in Lagos, Nigeria where Afrobeat was born. Kaleta’s guitar chops earned him decades of touring and recording with Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Lauryn Hill and more. Kaleta got his start in the late 70s performing in church and was soon after picked up by iconic Juju master and world music pioneer King Sunny Ade. A few years later Fela Kuti came calling. Kaleta would go on to tour the world playing guitar for the King of Afrobeat in his storied band Egypt 80 through the 1980s and into the 1990s. Now based in New York City, Kaleta has been leading Super Yamba Band since 2017. Their debut album “Mèdaho,” which was released by California indie label Ubiquity Records, draws on the group’s shared reverence for the raw, psychedelic sounds that captivated Kaleta as a music loving kid in 1970s Benin. Mèdaho means “big brother,” “elder” or “teacher” and is dedicated to Kaleta’s late brother Ligan-Ozavino Pascal who introduced him to funk and soul music at a very early age. The album was included on Bandcamp’s “Best Albums of Summer 2019” list and two of the songs were chosen for the ABC/Hulu series High Fidelity staring Zoe Kravitz. Kaleta and his band have also erupted onto the stages and video screens of major music festivals and music publications across the US. They performed at the historic Apollo Theatre in 2019. They even prompted Action Bronson to stop his own show on VICELAND TV just so he could hear more Yamba. They also performed on Adult Swim’s Fishcenter Live show in 2019. In 2017 they rocked Paste Magazine’s Emerging Music Festival in NYC and after that performance Afropop Worldwide fell in love with Kaleta, saying “his James Brown grunts have got to be some of the best in the business!” ELECTRO LUSTElectro Funk is Electronic funk music with live beats and brass.

The Trouble Notes: Liberty Awaits Tour

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– ALL AGES- STANDING ROOM ONLYTHE TROUBLE NOTES The Trouble Notes’ music is an eclectic fusion of genre across the entirety of the musical spectrum, creating a  sound that is truly unique to its own. – Rob Underwood, BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sitting somewhere between world folk, modern classical, and tribal dance music, The Trouble Notes have traveled their way across continents in search of musical influences. Travel across oceans and time with the soulful melodies of Bennet’s violin and Carola’s voice as your body pulses with the explosive energy from Florian’s guitar. Worldly percussion rhythms transport the audience across genre with a uplifting spirit for which The Trouble Notes have become world renown. Their new show “More Violins, Less Violence” is packed with songs from their 2nd Studio album “Liberty Awaits”. Their repertoire brings the traditions of Europe and the Americas together and carries a message of Unity in Diversity. The includes songs like “Grand Masquerade” and “Never Dream Alone” that have featured in Videos amassing millions of views worldwide.Art and Music must be a force for healing in this world. Help us support children effected by Violence. 1 Dollar of every ticket and 1 Dollar of every More Violins, Less Violence Shirt will be donated to a charitable cause helping children affected by violence. LIFE LIKE WATERLife Like Water is a multi-colored tapestry of sounds and influences. With a focus on hypnotic rhythms, elegant vocal harmonies, and melodies that contain flavors of Africa, Ireland and the Middle East, the music of this eclectic ensemble is sure to uplift and inspire. 

Vieux Farka Touré

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– ALL AGES- STANDING ROOM ONLYVIEUX FARKA TOURE Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed. Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician. In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux’s manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux’s self-titled debut album, released by World Village in 2007. Ali Farka Touré’s work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba’s “Fight Malaria” campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali’s musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. On his second record, Fondo on Six Degrees (2009), Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to the roots of his father’s music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences. The album received a great deal of critical acclaim from across the globe, and Vieux was clearly moving out of his father’s shadow. By June 2010, Vieux was performing at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.  In 2011 Vieux released his 3rd studio album, The Secret, so named because the listener will hear the secret of the blues with a blend of generations from father to son. It was produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of the Soulive trio) and features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The title track is the last collaboration between Vieux and his late father. With the heralded release of The Secret, Vieux Farka Touré has clearly established himself as one of the world’s rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.LIFE LIKE WATERLife Like Water is a multi-colored, intricately woven tapestry of sounds. With a focus on hypnotic rhythms, elegant vocal harmonies, and melodies that contain flavors of Africa, Ireland and the Middle East, the music of this eclectic quartet is sure to uplift and inspire.

Imarhan

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– ALL AGES- STANDING ROOM ONLYIMARHANIn early 2019 the members of Imarhan began literally laying the groundwork for their third album. The Tuareg quintet was building a professional recording studio, the first ever in their home city of Tamanrasset in Southern Algeria, from the ground up. By March of 2020 the studio was filled with high-end audio gear otherwise inaccessible to the vast majority of musicians in much of the Saharan region. The group christened it Aboogi, named for the first semi-permanent structures their nomadic forebears built when establishing settlements and  villages, and began tracking the first album they were able to record on their native soil. It seemed only natural to also call the resulting collection of songs Aboogi, a nod to the new collective space they had established, as well as the resilience of their culture and communities.The diversity, beauty, and struggles of life in Tamanrasset are reflected in the songs on Aboogi. Following the exhilarating, eclectic Temet – which OkayAfrica declared “doesn’t just take the next step in Tuareg music; it sends it into hyperspace” – Imarhan has made an album that is as serene and open as the desert it emerged from. “Aboogi reflects the colors of Tamanrasset, what we experience in everyday life,” says bandleader Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane, aka Sadam. “We give space to the wind and the natural energies, to the sun and the sand. We want to express their colors through music.” There is incredible warmth embedded in these steady, lilting rhythms and patiently strummed acoustic guitars, derived not just from the natural environment but from the community that surrounds them. That warmth may come from the Saharan sun and those living under it, fostered by many generations of musicians that came before them, but it emanates outwards as Imarhan become leading ambassadors for their people and culture around the world.As they have brought this music to new audiences in far-flung places, Imarhan’s musical community has also become global. Aboogi features Sudanese singer Sulafa Elyas, who contributes a gorgeous verse in Arabic on the mournful “Taghadart,” and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys sings of the value of kinship on “Adar Newlan” in his native Welsh. Their local Tamanrasset community joins in as well, including Tinarwen’s Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni and the poet Mohamed Ag Itlale, also known as Japonais, a pillar of the city’s artistic community who passed away shortly after these recordings were made. Imarhan’s musical world has always been expansive, based in the traditional sounds of the Tuareg people but fiercely individualistic and embracing of the many varied styles they encounter. On Aboogi they emerge as a truly global group, united with their collaborators in a spirit of resistance and social change.

Master Musicians of Africa: A LEAF Global Arts Benefit Featuring Adama Dembele and Chinobay

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– ALL AGES (kids 12 and under FREE)- PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT LEAF GLOBAL ARTS This is a very special show with two master musicians from Africa – Adama Dembele from the Ivory Coast, and Chinobay of Uganda – who have made WNC their home, and who are deeply connected with LEAF Global Art’s mission of connecting cultures and creating community through music, arts education and experiences, to cultivate curiosity, preserve cultures and promote global understanding. This year-end benefit show, which will also feature other talented local musicians from the Asheville area, is all about supporting this powerful work, and connecting our local and global communities as we celebrate the closing of one year, and the beginning of a new journey around the sun.   Learn more about these amazing musicians below, and visit theleaf.org/give to hear more about the work that you’re helping to support by buying a ticket to this event, and becoming a LEAF Member. Chinobay is Uganda’s leading international world musician. He is a singer/songwriter, creative arts producer, educator, multi-instrumentalist and philanthropist whose work has been described as “some of the most exquisite music coming out of Africa today.” For more than 15 years, he has captivated audiences with his soothing rhythms and powerful world-roots-dance melodies that emanate from the diversity of the many traditional instruments he customized to develop his unique sound. His educational and outreach programs are the gateway into Africa through which he introduces Africa’s culture, arts, history and lifestyle rarely covered by mainstream media to global audiences most especially those in schools and colleges.  Adama Dembele is a master djembéfola (djembe player) from Ivory Coast, West Africa and tailor of West African clothing, and for 12+ years Adama is a leading Master Teaching Artists with LEAF Global Arts! Adama come from a family of musicians for 33 generations, and has toured several continents with various major acts such Oumou Sangare, Salif Keita & many others. Adama has created and played in several drum and dance companies such as Yelemba d’Abidjan, Ensemble Koteba, Congoba and many more. You can play drums with Adama most Saturdays 12-2at his Yala! at LEAF Global Arts downtown Asheville. “When I share my culture, I am representing all of my family of drummers, storytellers and culture keepers in Ivory Coast and Mali. I am grateful to have a place to share my culture with so many great people. This means everything to me and the future.” – Adama

An Evening With Chikomo Marimba

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ALL AGESSTANDING ROOM ONLYCHIKOMO MARIMBA Chikomo Marimba is a lively and extremely danceable world percussion ensemble based in Asheville, NC. They have been playing around the southeast for over a decade, and have become known for their high energy, tight arrangements, infectiously joyful grooves, and unique sound. Chikomo Marimba offers a blend of traditional tunes from Zimbabwe interspersed with African-inspired dance music, played on large hand-hewn wooden marimbas and accompanied by drum kit and percussion. Their polyrhythmic sounds and irresistible grooves get people of all ages shaking their bodies!