West African Musicians to Play in Iceland Skip to content

West African Musicians to Play in Iceland

Super Mama Djombo, the best known band in Guinea-Bissau, is currently in Iceland and will perform in a concert tonight in Reykjavík and tomorrow in Akureyri.

NASA, the venue in downtown Reykjavík where Super Mama Djombo will play tonight. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

According to a press release, the legendary Super Mama Djombo dominated the music scene of their home country, Guinea-Bissau, in West-Africa in the 1970s.

Their lyrics reflected not only post-independence optimism but also the joy and worry of common people—and the new rulers, or camaradas, were not spared criticism.

Alongside these lyrics, Super Mama Djombo added the rhythms of gumbé, a fusion of Guinean Creole and traditional music with diverse ethnic origins.

The dream of reuniting the old Super Mama Djombo and continuing to make gumbé music has persisted. Finally, in November 2007 this dream brought six of the old band members to Iceland together with eight fellow Guinean musicians.

“There, in the darkness of the cold winter in a land where the air is crisp and cool and storms, rain, snow and sun alternate in an unpredictable fashion, the new music of Super Mama Djombo gradually unfolded,” the press release describes.

All the songs except one are sung in the Creole language that reaches across ethnic boundaries in Guinea-Bissau. As before, the poetic lyrics reflect the mood of a population that, despite political turmoil, continues to dream for a better future.

Super Mama Djombo had two sold-out concerts in Nasa at the Reykjavík Arts Festival in May 2008, and were well received by the attending crowd as well as in reviews. Since then the band has reorganized and is actively participating in the local music scene in Guinea-Bissau.

Tonight’s concert takes place at the downtown Reykjavík venue NASA and begins at 10 pm; the house opens one hour earlier.

Super Mama Djombo will play until midnight and then take a break for one and a half hours while dance music from sub-Saharan Africa will keep the party going.

In Akureyri, the band’s concert takes place at the venue Graeni hatturinn.

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