Aleba & Co. | 134 henry street | New York, NY | 10002 | 212-206-1450 |
February 15, 2017
Aleba Gartner, 212/206-1450
Nina Flowers, 212/531-5334
Jarred Hopkins, 212/531-5340

The Apollo Theater

in partnership with

World Music Institute

presents the 5th annual


Celebrating the best of the contemporary
African music scene


Mbongwana Star
Songhoy Blues
Daby Touré
DJ Nenim

with host, the South African comedian

Loyiso Gola

Saturday, March 11, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

The Apollo Theater
253 West 125th Street
Tickets at $30 - $55 are available via
the Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street,
and Ticketmaster:
The Apollo Theater in partnership with World Music Institute presents what has become an annual highlight, AFRICA NOW!. The celebrated event returns to the historic Apollo Theater on Saturday, March 11, at 8:00 p.m. for its fifth year spotlighting emerging and established artists of today's African music scene.

This year’s concert, hosted by South African comedian Loyiso Gola, takes us on a musical trip across the continent from the Congo’s new generation of musicians who embody the concept of change with Mbongwana Star, to Mali’s Songhoy Blues blending traditional and modern, to the ethereal voice and masterful guitar of Mauritanian-born Daby Touré, Nigerian DJ Nenim, to the soulful punk rock of South African-born TUELO.

Par Neiburger, Artistic Director of World Music Institute, says: "Every year in partnership with Apollo Theater we proudly present the best in contemporary African music with this unique event. Africa Now! is all about what is happening now in African music, and we are once again showcasing some of the most forward thinking artists from the continent. This year's line-up creates a truly pan-African event, with artists from five different countries: The Republic of the Congo, Mali, Mauritania, South Africa and Nigeria."

Mbongwana Star

(Democratic Republic of Congo)
“…The sound is out of this world.”

WATCH: Mbongwana Star perform “Nganshé”

The band Mbongwana Star hails from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo—a network of shantytowns and night shelters where founding members Coco Ngambali and Theo Nzonza (of Staff Benda Bilili fame) pulled together members of a new generation of Kinshasa musicians embodying the concept of “mbongwana,” or “change.” Along with maverick Parisian producer Doctor L (Tony Allen, Stomy Bugsy), the band has created a sound that embodies the “smashed-together” nature of the surroundings from which it was born—a sound that fuses traditional Congolese rhythms with European post-punk bass and busted electronics from recycled and reconstructed instruments miked and distorted in unexpected ways.

Songhoy Blues

 “This resulting debut is a masterpiece of desert blues,
blending American guitar licks with Malian grooves.”  

WATCH: Songhoy Blues performing “Sekou Oumarou”
Produced by Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Marc-Antoine Moreau (Amadou & Mariam, K’naan), Songhoy Blues’ first album Music In Exile marked the arrival of a powerful and truly unique new band. Though their music bears elements of contemporary rock and hip hop, at its heart is Songhoy Blues’ deep attachment to the homegrown songs and dances of Mali’s Songhoy people as well as iconic West African guitar heroes such as Baba Salah and Ali Farka Touré. Songhoy Blues blends the traditional and the modern, the homegrown and the foreign, the youthful and the ancient.

Daby Touré

“From the first time you hear it, prepare to hum along, tap your toes, and be mesmerised by Daby's infectious brand of global soul-tinged pop.”

WATCH: Daby Touré performs “Woyoyoye”
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Daby Touré was born in Mauritania and has lived in Paris since he was a teenager. A musical and linguistic polyglot, Touré creates an elegant sonic mixture. His music is a puzzle whose pieces, once assembled, form a comprehensive map of the world. It builds bridges between cultures and gives life to a uniquely poetic language and universal sound. Touré has shared the stage and studio with Peter Gabriel, Maxime LeForestier, Souad Massi, Enzo Avitabile, Skip McDonald and The Touré-Raichel Collective and many others. With his ethereal voice, masterful guitar work and catchy original songs, Touré reveals a complex yet approachable sound, one that defies expectations and stereotypes of what it means to be an African artist today.


(South Africa/NYC)
“New York's best singer (and the world's).”
– Huffington Post

LISTEN: Tueolo - “On Air”
TUELO is lead by a tiny South African girl who brings her traditional influences to the bold, soulful, punk rock sound from New York City that can simply be dubbed revival music. There are heartbreaking innocence and rebellious passion in TUELO's music, with a curious mind and captivating voice which inspired a recent Huffington Post article to dub her "New York's Best Singer (and the world's)!"

DJ Nenim

DJ Nenim grew up in Lagos, Nigeria where he made his way to DJ at the biggest clubs in Nigeria. His sets are usually geared towards Afrofunk, Afrobeat, Jazz, Funk & Soul with very eclectic playlists. He recently started his own record label “5th Circle Records.” 

Loyiso Gola

Loyiso Gola is best known as the host, co-producer and writer of the twice Emmy-nominated satirical news show, "Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola.” Gola burst onto the scene at the age of 17, winning the Sprite Soul Comedy competition. Since then his work in TV, radio, film and live performance has earned him the title of one of South Africa's best and most loved comedians.  He has performed alongside the legendary Pieter Dirk-Uys, and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one South Africa's comedy greats. His debut U.S. comedy special, "Loyiso Gola Live in New York" was released by Vimeo Originals in 2016, launching at the prestigious New York Comedy Festival.

About WMI

“A decidedly edgier, more forward-looking new direction."
Founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit, World Music Institute (WMI) has served as the leading presenter of world music and dance within the United States.

WMI is committed to presenting the finest in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world with the goal of inspiring wonder for world cultures through music and dance. WMI aims to enrich the lives of people living in New York by promoting awareness of other cultures and their traditions. WMI collaborates with community organizations and academic institutions in fostering greater understanding and appreciation of the world’s cultural traditions and presents at venues throughout the city.

Under new leadership since 2015, its 30th anniversary season, World Music Institute has introduced an ambitious expansion of concert offerings that include contemporary, experimental and avant-garde presentations, as well as the traditional music that WMI has long been known and admired for. In addition, the institution is thrilled to have launched new partnerships with BAM, 92nd Street Y, SummerStage, Merkin Concert Hall, National Sawdust, Storm King Art Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Littlefield and Drom—while continuing partnerships with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Town Hall, Symphony Space, French Institute Alliance Française, and Apollo Theater (the annual Africa Now festival).

WMI has presented more than 1,500 concerts and events featuring artists from more than 100 countries across all continents. Through powerful programming, WMI is creating a movement that promotes awareness and engagement of other cultures, helping to encourage deeper understanding of communities around the globe. 
“A widely copied and influential force in New York cultural circles.”

The Apollo Theater

The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging talents and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world. 

With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the October 2014 premiere and 2015 international tour of the dance celebration project James Brown: Get on the Good Foot, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the recent New York premiere of the opera Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD. The Apollo is a presenting organization that also produces festivals, large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives: Apollo Music Signature Programs—Amateur Night, Salon Series, Apollo Music Café; Legacy Series— work that celebrates and extends the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; Global Festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary work with partner organizations. 

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms, and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. 

The Apollo Theater is a not-for-profit organization with the mission to extend the institution’s role in fostering artistic innovation and in building appreciation of American culture around the world. For more information, visit
For more WMI events and the complete fall/winter season schedule,
please visit
Twitter: @WMInyc
Africa Now! is sponsored by Time Warner Inc.
Generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation.

World Music Institute is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State
Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo


and the New York State Legislature and the New York City
Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 
For further information, press tickets, photos, and to arrange interviews,
please contact Aleba & Co. at 212/206-1450 or
PR for musical trailblazers

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