Set in barber shops across 5 cities on the African content (Lagos, Johannesburg, Accra, Kampala, Harare) in addition to in a major city in its diaspora (London), Barber Shop Chronicles (Dec 3—8 at the Harvey Theater at BAM Strong) explores unfiltered stories about identity, displacement, in addition to black masculinity. Within which rich tapestry of storytelling woven by playwright, poet, in addition to spoken word artist Inua Ellas, can be the favorite music via the African continent; as the show pivots via city to city, the music—sometimes coming out of a speaker in addition to additional times produced by the actors on stage—reorients in addition to guides us via shop to shop, in addition to serves as a joyful in addition to buoyant force within the production.
Just as the men within the six radically different cities are all united by the familiar barber shop, they also all unite to dance, regardless of location. The music they move to can be Afrobeats, a contemporary pop sound developed in Nigeria in addition to Ghana within the early 2000s, gaining prominence within the last decade with acceptance by major western artists in addition to record labels. With the massive cultural diversity on the African continent in addition to its diaspora, Afrobeats has several subgenres like azonto (Ghana), gqom (South Africa), in addition to banku music (Ghana in addition to Nigeria), as well as fusion genres like Afrosoca (Caribbean) in addition to AfroWave (UK). Afrobeats has become a sonic bridge linking countries on the continent in addition to people of African descent across oceans, as aspects of African culture have gone mainstream (think Black Panther in addition to a growing interest among Africans within the diaspora keen to retrace their roots to the continent).
To accompany Barber Shop Chronicles, we have created an Afrobeats playlist which exemplifies which growing unification of people of African descent: Each song features collaborations by Black artists via different countries fusing subgenres, languages, in addition to cultures. which was the concept behind Beyoncé’s most recent album The Gift (soundtrack to the brand new Lion King movie), which includes 20 artists via the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, in addition to Cameroon. Also included in which playlist are a few songs of fusion genres like the international hit “Drogba (Joanna)” by Afro B (AfroWave) in addition to Timaya’s “Sanko” (AfroSoca). Enjoy hip hop, dancehall, grime, soca in addition to electro-pop, all with an Afrobeats pulse.
Barber Shop Chronicles will be at BAM Dec 3—8, as part of Next Wave 2019, a season of artists producing their BAM debuts.
Akornefa Akyea can be the content marketing coordinator at BAM in addition to can be a former producer at Afropop Worldwide.