With support from the Takoma Foundation, Rhizome presents the African Diaspora Music Series, with concerts every Sunday afternoon in May.
4 - Doors open
430 - Amadou Kouyate (kora)
530 - Akua Allrich/Kris Funn (vocals/bass)
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Kids free.
Born in the Washington, DC, Amadou Kouyate is the 150th generation of the Kouyate lineage and has studied and performed Manding music since the age of three years old. Amadou is a dynamic djembe and koutiro drummer. He also plays the 21-string kora, which he learned first with his father, Djimo Kouyate and other master Diali –oral historians/musicians– of Manding tradition in West Africa. Amadou has dedicated his life to the task of become an ambassador of African culture to the world. The catalyst for such a responsibility is the passion he has for reconnecting those of the African Diasporas to one another. His repertoire ranges from traditional songs from the 13th century to contemporary original compositions incorporating blues and jazz riffs.
Jazz vocalist and DC-native Akua Allrich has proven herself to be a musician of extraordinary talent and crowd-moving passion. With finesse and charisma, this vocalist, composer and teacher, has successfully etched out a place for her unique musical expression, electrifying audiences in and around the nation’s capital with sold-out performances.
With the launch of her independently produced albums, A Peace of Mine, in 2010, Uniquely Standard, Akua Allrich Live! in 2012, and her latest release Soul Singer, the young artist’s music and concerts created a significant buzz with critics and music-lovers alike. Said Franz Matzner of All About Jazz, “Akua Allrich’s music flows with a free, natural energy as engaging as her equally ingenuous personality.” Her appeal soon reached across US borders and attained international attention. In early 2011, Allrich signed a distribution deal with Japanese record label AGATE/Inpartmaint Inc. Her debut CD, A Peace of Mine, was released in Japan during their “Golden Week” of May 2011. Music lovers and tastemakers from around the world expressed their appreciation and excitement for this new music.
Allrich’s style is fluid and ever evolving. Her musical roots run deeply into blues, soul and rhythm and blues, with a clear grounding in jazz and pan-African music. She sings in many languages including Portuguese, French, Spanish, English, Xhosa, and Twi. Given her ability to capture the essence of a broad range of musical genres, Allrich is often likened to legendary artists such as Oscar Brown, Jr., Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone. She has developed popular tribute programs involving the latter two women and other great African American women of jazz.
Akua Allrich was educated at Howard University, where she obtained her BM in jazz vocals and a master’s degree in social work. She was taught, coached and mentored by talented musicians such as world-renowned singer Kehembe V. Eichelberger, singer/drummer Grady Tate, and pianist Charles Covington.
She is the child of a musical family (her father, Agyei Akoto, was a founding member of the jazz group, Nation, and recorded two albums during Allrich’s youth). Her home held a wealth of cherished recordings that she and her siblings were invited to explore. In fact, she did not buy any albums until her second year in college because her parents had such an amazing collection of jazz records. One of the first jazz albums she bought was John Coltrane’s Live at the Village Vanguard: The Master Takes.
Allrich has already proven her abilities as a performer and bandleader by producing and performing many successful solo and group programs. In addition to focusing on her own engaging compositions, she keeps an ear to the rest of the world and to other eras and artists. Akua Allrich has inspired music lovers from all walks on an international scale, who enjoy her exceptional work and expect nothing short of brilliant artistry from each of her offerings.
Kristopher Funn was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He began playing the trumpet at age four and took up the double bass at age 14 upon entering high school. Through the instruction of his father, Charles Funn, Kristopher performed his first professional bass gig the same year he began learning the instrument. Other early accomplishments included winning the “unsung hero” at the Fish Middleton jazz competition at the East Coast Jazz festival also in the first year of instruction. At age 18, Kristopher attended Howard University to study Computer Science while also performing in the Howard University Jazz Ensemble.
After graduating with an honors degree in computer science, Kristopher decided to pursue a career as a professional jazz musician, performing in several venues in the Baltimore Washington metropolitan areas. At age 23, Kristopher began touring internationally with alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett. Since then, he has traveled to every major jazz festival in the world touching six continents performing with artists including Bruce Williams, Nicholas Payton, Pharoah Sanders, Sean Jones, Warren Wolf, Jeff Majors, Jeff Lorber, and many others. Kristopher has appeared on several recordings including the Christian Scott albums, “Yesterday You Said Tomorrow”, "Christian Scott Atundae Adjuah" and "Stretch Music". He continues to perform professionally in the Washington D.C. area while touring with Christian Scott's Stretch Music.
"Akua Allrich and Kris Funn know the limits and advantages of making a musical partnership work. Each fills different parts of the air around them, and they can be like two fans spinning in the same muggy room, working out an exchange and a flow. With some expert help from Quincy Phillips on drums, the vocalist and bassist held a crowd of CapitalBop fans and supporters in thrall on Tuesday night, when they played at our launch party..." - Giovannia Russonello, CapitalBop