February 14 - Playlist Spotlight
An Evening of Afrotainment is dedicated to bringing you music from Black artists worldwide who cross all genres of music. We do our best to present music that makes you listen, think and reflect as we slip and slide aurally through the spectrum of the Black experience often described as "Soul" music. Soul music is best known for blending gospel and R&B. "According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying."
So how does my choice for this Playlist Spotlight fit the mold? Well, her name is spelled Asa and pronounced Asha, she was born in Paris, France, but returned to Nigeria with her family where she lived in Lagos, she is Black by color, but colorful in her musical delivery. While coming of age in Lagos, she discovered her talent for what is best described as Afro-Folk music, drawing inspiration for her lyrics and sound from the "...sounds of artists including Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Lagbaja." Afro-Folk music can be classified as a subgenre of soul music and there's no doubt that Asa creates both soul and folk sounds, but don't forget her hip-hop sensibility that she shares with us in some of her songs. You might detect the sounds of other artists that inspired her as she came of age and concentrated on developing her talent as they include "...the likes of Macy Gray, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, but the artist young Asa has most frequently been compared to is the dreadlocked queen of Afro-folk, Tracy Chapman."
"At the beginning of 2007, the young singer went into the studio and spent six weeks recording with Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, a blind multi-instrumentalist she has worked with for three years now. Her debut 11-track album is simply called Asa, "because all the songs on it are pieces of the puzzle that make up my personality." Featuring impeccable percussion, a funky Hammond organ, reggae-infused bass and contributions from celebrity flautist Magic Malik, Asa’s debut album contains two stand-out tracks: Jailer, a song about "the irony of oppression, not just political or racial oppression, but the kind that operates in everyday life" and Fire In The Mountain - a melody which has every bit as much chart-topping potential as anything by her Afro-folk sister Ayo!" 
She sings in three different languages, writes her lyrics and is backed by the Naive label out of France. To learn more about this talented, award winning, Nigerian artist, go to her Official Website and learn more about her, listen to her music and stay tuned to her tour dates. Never know, she might be coming to a town near you.
Hope you enjoyed the show! ~ Bridget B.