Concert Review: Koite and Mahlasela

Habib Koite and Vusi Mahlasela and their band performed an excellent concert at the Academy of Music in Northampton April 10. Koite lives in the west African nation of Mali, where he is from. Mahlasela lives in South Africa, where he is from. The venue appeared to be almost sold out. The applause was loud and long after every song. Many people danced in the aisles.

Koite and Mahlasela Concert April 10

Habib Koite and Vusi Mahlasela will perform a concert in Northampton on April 10 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be at the Academy of Music. Koite (pronounced KWA-tee) lives in the west African nation of Mali. Mahlasela lives in South Africa. They will perform at prestigious concert halls in New York City and Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

Vieux Farka Toure Concert is September 18

Vieux Farka Toure and Julia Easterlin will perform a concert in Northampton on September 18 at 7 p.m. Toure is from the west African nation of Mali. Easterlin is from the USA. The concert will be at the Iron Horse Music Hall. On his current tour, Toure will perform at prestigious venues in Paris, New York City and San Francisco. A video of him performing is at:

A video of Easterlin performing is at:

Sierra Leone All-Stars Concert is April 25

The Sierra Leone All-Stars will perform a public concert near Greenfield on April 25 at 7 p.m. The concert is a fundraiser for a group that helps poor people in Africa. It will be at the Shea Theater in Turner's Falls, Massachusetts.

Daniel Kasnitz is a member of the board of directors of the theater. He told the Valley Post there will be room for people to dance at the concert.

Tickets are available at The money will go to a group whose web site is

Concert Review: Sierra Leone All Stars

In Northampton, the Iron Horse Music Hall has concerts almost every night of the year. It regularly hosts world famous musicians like Michael Franti and Dar Williams. On April 9, one of the best concerts in years at the Iron Horse was performed by the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars. The dance floor was full of people of all colors, and full of energy, reflecting the full-on performance on the stage.

The band released a new album, Libation, last month. Most of the songs on the album are Afro-Pop or “high life” style. Some are reggae. It's an excellent album.

Habib Koite to Perform in Northampton

Habib Koite, a singer and guitar player who lives in Bamako, Mali, in west Africa, will play at the Iron Horse in Northampton on February 16 at 7 p.m. Koite (pronounced KWA-tee) performed an outstanding public concert in Amherst in 2011. He possesses an unusually warm voice and guitar skills that inspired Bonnie Raitt to famously tell him after one concert, "I would drink your sweat."

Vusi Mahlasela in Northampton

Vusi Mahlasela, a singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist who lives in South Africa, performed an outstanding public concert in Northampton on February 16. Mahlasela was active in the movement that overthrew the apartheid government in South Africa. In 1994, he performed at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration.

"Vusi has a sort of profound beauty about him. He has a light on," said two-time Grammy award winner Dave Matthews.

Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars Will Play in Northampton Sept. 14

The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars band will play its soulful, dance-able reggae and Afro-pop music at the Iron Horse in Northampton on September 14 at 7 p.m. The members of the band lived in Sierra Leone until they fled the civil war there in the late 1990s. The uplifting story of their meeting in a refugee camp in Guinea is told in a documentary film that's named after the band. The DVD is available at your local public library, video store, or from Netflix. The band's new CD was released by the Vermont record label Tickets to the concert are available from