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Connecting The Notes In The African Diaspora

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Courtesy of Africa Unplugged
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Members of Greensboro-based band, Africa Unplugged

The music of Africa Unplugged harkens back to the African diaspora. The Greensboro-based group channels jazz and funk, while still maintaining roots in West African traditions. 

Atiba Rorie started the group in 2011 to educate folks about the connections between West African music and other genres. Today he still uses the band to demonstrate West African songwriting and the qualities of instruments like the djembe. Host Frank Stasio talks with Rorie about the origins of the group and how its music has been received in North Carolina.

The group also performs live in studio with Rorie on vocals, djembe and electric guitar; Lamar Lewis and Elisha Harris on percussion; William Darity on vocals and electric guitar; and Butler Knowles on electric bass. Africa Unplugged performs Saturday, Sept. 2 at Beyu Caffe in Durham at 7 p.m. 

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.