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Thursday and Friday offer fun danceable afropop gigs. Thursday night, the Chicago-based Occidental Brothers Dance Band International will be at DC9 with their meld of classic Ghanaian highlife, Congolese rumba, various other African styles and a bit of jazz, indie-rock, and folk. While most golden era African bands had more than one guitar and frequently a full horn section, these folks(including 2 Ghanaians) do just fine with one axe-player plus trumpet, sax, bass, and percussion.
On Friday Nigerian juju legend King Sunny Ade and his African Beats return to town, at the 930 Club. At home, Ade (pictured above) has released two cds since his fine 2005 appearance at the Lincoln Theatre but here we have only gotten a reissued Seven Degrees North, which was originally released in 2000.
Back in 1988, Ade and his then-26 piece band put on a memorable all-night show at the 930 Club, when it was still the WUST Radio Music Hall. Now 62 and with an injured shoulder, Ade reportedly does not play as much guitar himself as he used to, but hopefully the other guitarist(s) in his now 16-piece band will compensate. The band will certainly offer plenty of percussion plus spoken and gorgeously trilled call and response Yoruba vocals. The dynamic juju grooves, with or without Ade’s playing, will be generated largely through strummed and picked stringed instruments drawing from Nigerian, rock, and even Hawaiian and country traditions. While they’ve done some short shows on this tour, Ade has noted in interviews that his band and dancers can still go for hours. We will see what happens Friday.
Thurs. 7-16- Occidental Brothers Dance Band International with the Moderate at DC9 • 1940 9th Street, NW
Friday 7-17 King Sunny Ade and his African Beats at the 930 Club, 815 V St. NW