Christabel Nsiah-Buadi's radio series Home, from Home celebrates the African Diaspora through interviews with artists and cultural pioneers. Past guests have included Roy Ayers, Melvin Van Peebles, Afro fusion singer and designer Wunmi and Jazz singer Somi. This summer and beyond, Christabel and Home, From Home will be on KCET.org sharing weekly interviews with artists and performers visiting the Greater Los Angeles area. For more information, visit www.hfhshow.com.
When people ask me what I am (and I'm asked that a lot), I say, "British-Born Ghanaian." It's a term I settled on in my teens after deciding to accept - rather than reject - the encounter between Great Britain and Ghana, the main cultural and historic influences in my life. It turns out I wasn't alone in my thinking about cultural identity. Helene and Celia Fussart, also known as Les Nubians, make music that embraces their many influences while also staying firmly rooted in African culture. They even came up with a far more catchy (and, quite frankly, more inclusive) term than my hybrid designation: "Afropean."
I talked to Les Nubians just before their recent performance at The Conga Room in downtown LA. (You can view more of their tour dates here.) The discussion was wide ranging from their latest album, Nü Revolution, to the difficult work of maintaining your cultural integrity in a cultural climate that alludes to, but is still afraid of, true diversity. We also talked about some of their recent collaborations, including a very exciting one with Manu Dibango, the man behind Soul Makossa, which some say is the first disco record. (Does that mean Africa created disco?! You're welcome!)
CONTEST: I've had Nü Revolution on repeat for a while now, and I have to say two of my favorite tracks are "Nü Soul Makossa" and "Deja Vous" (it's not a typo, I promise) with Eric Roberson. Les Nubians were kind enough to give us two copies Nü Revolution to give away, and, in keeping with our theme of hybridity, we'll give it to the best two stories of cultural confluence in L.A.. Korean taco? Already covered. Reggaeton cumbia DJ? Gotcha. But do share a (Rated PG!) tale of cultural intermixing in Los Angeles in the comments below and best two stories as chosen by HFH gets the albums. (Even if you don't have a story, chime in below and tell your favorite tale, and we'll take that into consideration.) We need to pick a winner by 5PM, Friday July 15th, so tell us your story!
While you're thinking up some options, here a few songs to play in the background.