PHOENIX AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA [PAO] proudly carries the musical and social torch that was first lit by the powerful duo of FELA KUTI and TONY ALLEN, original inventors of the Afrobeat sound. Led by funky heiress Camille Sledge, the 16-strong orchestra is comprised of the most ambitious and outrageous musicians in Phoenix today – making it the hottest super-group on the hot city scene!
Beginning with a strict repertoire comprised of classic Afrobeat music, PAO has now penned an abundance of original material that melds the eclectic heritage of the ensemble with that classic Afrobeat style. The outcome is a truly powerful sound that pays homage to the masters while maintaining a fierce individuality. Details of upcoming releases are in the works now, so keep your ear to the pavement.
From concert hall to street fair, fashion show to fundraiser, PAO has shared the stage with such musical icons as George Clinton and The Roots, as well as lesser-known masters as wide-ranging as Turkuaz and Morris Alan.
Arouna Diarra, originally from Burkina Faso, West Africa, is an accomplished n’goni & balafon player. Performing a tradition of folk songs reflecting topics from war to building love for one another, Arouna sings with spirit, nostalgia, and great joy, in his native language, Bambara. Arouna brings a dynamic repertoire to the table, full of timing changes and improvisational prowess. He plays the kamale n’goni, a 14-string harp-like instrument (which he makes himself), with a melodic and percussive sensibility.
Arouna was born into a family composed of musicians, poets, and storytellers. Arouna, a twelfth generation musician was destined to bring traditional West African music into the modern day, further developing it while remaining true to it’s roots. Whether performing on stage at Red Rocks, the jungle of Costa Rica, or intimate community settings Arouna and his band bring joy, harmony, and a connection to traditional folk music.