Jagwa Music

at N4th Theater
4904 4th St. NW
Albuquerque NM 87107
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Time: 12:30pm     Day: Wednesday     Doors: 11:30am     Ages: All Ages     Price: FREE
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We are pleased to host Jagwa Music as part of our integrated series at N4th Theatre, where we bring musicians to perform for the artists with developmental disabilities at N4th and invite the community to come join the fun and see the great work they do there. Community spots are limited to 60 people and reservations are required.

Speed, heat, and swagger. Tanzania's 7-piece Jagwa Music bangs out a hard-won celebration as screaming hot as a jet engine, owing little to the West but a few repurposed musical props. Keys shimmy over the interlocking rumble of drums as tough-edged vocals through the middle. "The concept sounds like it could be next-level hipster experimentalism: a band that makes music exclusively on percussion and miniature Casio keyboards wired through megaphones. But those are the exact ingredients of mchiriku, a kind of party-music heard throughout the rougher parts of Bongo, as the gritty East African city of Dar es Salaam is affectionately nicknamed by locals." (MTVIggy) With lyrics that call out corruption and deprivation, privations and celebrations, Jagwa Music has floored audiences from Zanzibar to Roskilde.

Jagwa Music got its start in the early 1990s, when young musicians from one of Dar es Salaam’s poorer neighborhoods on the city’s outskirts realized they could make cheap little Casio keyboards roar. The band took its name from the scream of French fighter engine. With its nutty grooves, and intense, breakneck rhythms, Jagwa Music is one of the go-to crews for party entertainment in their communities.

The band's mchiriku, like other wildly original street styles from around Africa, takes only limited cues from global pop or hip hop, owing more to East Africa's coastal traditions like taarab, which bears the imprint of Arabic music and culture, and chakacha dance music, using rhythms from the Zaramo people's traditions, an ethnic group that has long lived along Tanzania's shores.

"Mchiriku is hand-made techno, with musicians repurposing everything from plastic pipes to harbor buoys to make instruments," explains cultural anthropologist Werner Graebner, who has spent years writing about Dar es Salaam's music scene and working with Jagwa Music.

Jagwa Music captures the conversations and stories, the beefs, and romances of its Dar es Salaam community. Many of their lines have become proverbial, and you can see quotes from their songs painted as slogans to the sides or backs of the local dala dala bus taxis. "What we sing about is our daily lives," says Kazimoto, whose spit-fire delivery conveys the intensity and unpredictability of the daily hustle and grind. "Things like losing your job or about losing someone you love. We tell stories about what we experience. We boast. A lot of these things are what people feel anywhere in the world. There are troublemakers, people who drink or gossip a lot, and cause disasters. There are real loves that last a long time and make things better."

The presentation of Jagwa Music is part of Center Stage, a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. General management is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc. 


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