A native of Togo, West Africa, Yawo started his musical career at the “Ecole Experimentale de musique” of Lome, where he studied flute, classical guitar, and electric bass. As the leader of the high school band he formed with his brother and sister, Yawo Attivor developed a talent for composing and arranging music that embraces both the yawotraditions of the Ewe tribe and the influences of the western civilization. This multicultural approach to songwriting led to the creation of the MIMI-Togo (International Movement for Innovative music-Togo branch) which Yawo directed until he left Togo in 1992 as a result of political turmoil in his motherland. In 1993, Yawo joined the international organization Up With People, traveling the U.S. and Europe, promoting peace and understanding among the citizens of the world. After Up with People, Yawo, his cousin Ro Attivor (aka Ro Bezz), Sarah Agbeto and guitarist Matt Hupton created Doliho, an afropop project that rocked the Midwest with a unique album in the late 90s. In 2002, after he moved to Minneapolis a year earlier, Yawo launched a solo career with the album “Celebrate” (Mia du agbe) followed in October 2004 by “Take out the fences”, a “refreshingly upbeat” (Minneapolis Star tribune) album that breaks musical barriers with an explosion of afro-beat, afro-funk and reggae.

Featured Artists

  • Zouk Machine

    Zouk Machine

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  • Sidy Samb

    Sidy Samb

    Sidy Samb

    Born in Senegal to a Gewel griot family, singer and percussionist SIDY SAMB is the son of Daro Mbaye, one of the first women singers in the popular mbalax genre and from whom he learned the foundations of technique and composition. On a visit to Seville, Spain for the 1992 World Expo, he discovered a passion for flamenco music and decided to make his home there. He quickly found his way into the music scene and became a founding member of Mártires del Compás (Martyrs of the Compass), a seminal “nuevo flamenco” band, that same year.

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  • Bideew Bou Bess

    Bideew Bou Bess

    Bidew Bou Bess

    BIDEEW BOU BESS (“New Star” in the Wolof language) is a performing group of three brothers: Moctar, Baïdy and Ibrahima Sall. The trio is recognized throughout Senegal for their innovative mix of musical genres and languages, as well as for their attention and commitment to important social issues at home and abroad. Natives of Podor, the brothers relocated to Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, where as young hip-hoppers they began performing in 1994. After winning a contest organized by the Ministry of Education in 1996, they caught the attention of Senegalese cultural icon Youssou Ndour.

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  • Mai Lingani

    Mai Lingani

    Mai Lingani

    MAIMOUNATA (“Maï”) LINGANI is one of the most popular singers and songwriters of Burkina Faso, West Africa. She currently divides her time between New York City and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Maï was born in Koudougou, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and started singing professionally during her late teens. In the mid-1990s, she won several prizes with bands playing styles ranging from reggae to the traditional musics of various Ivoirian ethnicities, and toured nationally. In 1996, she met the musicians Lukas Ligeti (of Austria, now residing in the U.S.) and Kurt Dahlke (of Germany)and participated in the recording of their group Beta Foly’s critically acclaimed CD, her first international release (“Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly”, Intuition Records, Germany, 1997).

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  • LUCKY DIOP

    LUCKY DIOP

    LUCKY DIOP

    Ndongo Bahoum Diop was born in Ziguinchor, which is the richest cultural city in Senegal, in July 1964. His nickname is Lucky. He belong to the Diola (jola) tribe, one the rare tribes where everybody is a musician! His father’s position in the justice department gave him the great opportunity to learn about the dynamic music of the Toucouleur and the Wolof tribe at his early age. At the age of 10, Lucky was already performing for his classmates.  In high school, he was among the first students to join the music band which won several competitions nationwide.  During his last two years in high school, he collaborated with Solo Cissokho, a prominent kora player in Senegal. Lucky spiced up his compositions with sabar, bougarabou, seyrouba and djembe rhythms. As Solo’s repertoire became more diverse, they both gained more fans.

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