Just in case you happen to have disembarked from your spaceship today, welcome to our planet… traveler. As you struggle to read this alien language: please note, this planet is at war with a virus that has been dubbed COVID-19.
This gun-less war is being fought on many fronts. Some earthlings are on the side of, “None of this is real guys”. While others have not gone out in public without a mask for months now. In addition to fighting COVID-19 the residents of earth are also fighting each other on stats, proper ways to wear a mask, and what to do with people that shall start posting “I belong to the one percent that never wore a mask during COVID” after all this is over… (Don’t argue with me Jon Snow. We know those posts are coming. I know it, and you know its coming). Needless to say, traveler… I hope you brought some old-school torches and pitchforks.
Ok… Before we proceed, I wanted to bring WWE Thunderdome to your attention! Wrestling fans are already leaning-in on their laptop screens, right about now. What’s Thunderdome? Thunderdome is a state-of-the-art virtual arena system. Packed with video boards, pyrotechnics, lasers (lots of lasers), cutting-edge graphics, and drone cameras. Release the drones! Unlike other sports, WWE stacked these video boards in a manner that closely simulates their post-COVID arena atmosphere. Just look at that!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s come back to Africa (which is interestingly spelt with a “K” as in – Afrika, in a number of its native languages) Just like pro wrestlers, the African art sectors have also had to find ways to keep on going. Now, put down that flaming-pitchfork… sit back, and relax. As we watch some COVID-19 friendly “Virtual African concert shows”
1. Congolese musician: Lous and the Yakuza
This majestic Belgian-Congolese musician: Lous and the Yakuza was featured on Colors Show. Granted, this show has been there even before COVID-19. The pandemic has not affected its production and Colors Show has actually gone and inspired the birth of similar shows in Africa. During COVID-19 (okay I’m going to just start calling it “covid” now… these CAPS are killing me!) even countries like Zimbabwe have also had tremendous success with an identical, and similarly colourful, show format above.
2. Nigerian singer: Johnny Drille
Sometime last year, I was invited to my very first-ever: house jam. And I went, with zero clues what to expect, all I knew was one was encouraged to bring mbira or any other African instrument. Plus food! They had me on food, cause food loves me. The living-room-concert above is a true pro “house jam”. It has the same intimacy and chillness to it, something not easy to achieve in a digital concert. Kudos Johnny Drille! Do you think that this super chilled and intimate experience could be one of the best Virtual African concerts?
3. From Tanzania: Lulu Diva
The We are One Africa (Should start using Afrika?) concert had all the things this blog stands for… Unity, unity, unity! The collaborative spirit that was seen in We are One Africa makes it one of the best Virtual African concerts. I always restrain myself from ranting about the continued impacts of imperialism on Africa, and other such topics. Feel free to check out that link and beef up on your knowledge of African history. Which is a bit different from western-academic, African American history.
4. Nigerian virtual live session: Yemi Alade
One of the biggest things I love about African content that is made in Africa, by Africans is authenticity. When the productions are made locally you get to hear accents that would have not been approved in Hollywood (or butchered in an effort to try and replicate them). Yemi Alade is always on point with her colours and lighting.
5. South African virtual choir
Rodean School left me speechless after that. I decided to close off the post today with this powerful, all-girls school choir from South Africa. I don’t think South African choirs get enough respect and recognition. Luckily some of their nation’s choirs have gone global. Most notably Soweto Gospel Choir who won a 2018 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.
That was part of my best Virtual African concerts findings. As we go through this crazy pandemic, I hope these videos bring you a little bit of joy and pleasure! I for one enjoyed seeing Lulu Diva rolling on a couch, working with what she has! I had to leave out other virtual concerts that were hours and hours long, but feel free to go and hunt for them all. Stay safe out there guys. Zimbabwean musical star: Jemma Griffiths has the following words on her website: You never regret being kind. Let’s stay united, considerate, and above all: kind to one another.