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Grammy-Successful Musicians Youssou N’Dour, Arooj Aftab & Lido Pimienta Talk about House, Race & Id for Pop Convention 2022 Keynote Panel

On Thursday (April 21), Grammy-winning musicians Youssou N’Dour, Arooj Aftab and Lido Pimienta joined NPR music critic Ann Powers for Pop Convention 2022’s opening keynote tackle, “The Manner Again House: How Musicians Navigate Race and Borders.”

In collaboration with Billboard and New York College’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, every explored how their respective music crosses borders and permits viewers members to rethink notions of residence and homelands, in addition to race and id.


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Powers started the dialogue by asking every artist how their expertise with crossing borders has resonated by way of their music. N’Dour, who spoke in French in the course of the night, responded first, explaining how his artwork permits him to journey regardless of having by no means lived exterior of Africa. “Music is my airplane,” he stated. “It’s music that takes me away to completely different locations.”

Pimienta approached the query extra figuratively as she touched on how she’s needed to reconcile with language limitations. “My exhibits are stand-up comedy with music in it,” she stated to explain how she bridges the communication hole. Aftab stated she additionally makes use of humor in her exhibits and that she strives to create delicate and conversational music round language in order that sonically, listeners are immersed. “Even when we sing in one other language, the expression at all times stays,” N’Dour added.

As one of the extremely celebrated African musicians of all time, N’Dour helped popularize mbalax music earlier than reaching unprecedented worldwide success in his collaborations with artists like Peter Gabriel and Neneh Cherry and releasing quite a few border-crossing albums. Aftab, an acclaimed semi-classical, Hindustani, minimalist composer, songwriter and singer, was just lately awarded the Grammy Award for finest international music efficiency and is the primary ever Pakistani artist to obtain a Grammy. Whereas Canadian-Colombian interdisciplinary artist, musician and curator Pimienta foregrounds Afro-Indigenous traditions and explores the broader politics of race, gender, motherhood, and id by way of her work. In their very own distinctive methods, every of this yr’s panel contributors has been a frontrunner in reimagining the function and energy of in style music because it circulates in a quickly globalized world.

In terms of sustaining a way of residence of their music, N’Dour talked about that he tries to stability what he says in his music in relation to the place he lives and what he needs current to the remainder of the world. Pimienta then added that she stays inside herself, saying “I don’t put on my tradition, I am my tradition.”

Powers concluded the dialog by asking the musicians to call a “voice” that digital viewers members needs to be listening to.

“Kouyaté Sory Kandia is the voice of angels,” N’Dour stated. “His voice has plenty of class, plenty of custom.”

“There’s a Pakistani Rajasthani legend, her identify is Reshma,” stated Aftab. “You can’t miss listening to her. She has plenty of stay movies on YouTube, she’s a deal with to look at stay. After which there’s this youthful lady who’s Egyptian, her identify is Dina El Wedidi. She’s unimaginable.”

“You could hearken to Combo Chimbita,” stated Pimienta. “You also needs to hearken to tonada, and at last Sexteto Tabalá.”

Because the longest working music writing and pop music research convention of its variety, from April 21-24, Pop Convention 2022 will deliver collectively the world’s main pop students, journalists, writers and musicians for 4 days of digital occasions exploring pop music’s function in shaping the best way we take into consideration borders, race and residential. Different occasions embody authentic live performance performances by Jamila Woods and Aurelio Martinez, a particular tribute panel to influential music author Robert Christgau and two closing keynote panels on Sunday (April 24) paying homage to the written and musical legacies of beloved author/bandleader Greg Tate, who handed away in December 2021.

Pop Convention 2022 is free and open to the general public with advance registration right here.

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