STUFF WE LIKED: Afro Swing 2019, Every Swing Scene in China, Filipino Jazz and What is Swing, Anyway?

afro swing group.jpg

Last year in Cape Town, I had the pleasure of learning from two talented dancers from Mozambique, Eugenio Macuvel and Judith Novela, part of the organization Hodi Maputo Afro Swing. The way that they connected African traditional movement to vernacular jazz left a deep impression on me.

From March 11-17, 2019, you can experience Afro Swing yourself at the Afro Swing Exchange in Maputo, Mozambique. Check out their wonderful promo video.

Don’t you just want to book a plane ticket now?

Other Stuff We Liked This Week:

  • Closer to home, we loved this beautiful drone-powered video of Bay Area favorites the Hot Baked Goods performing at the new Salesforce Park, in downtown San Francisco back in September. Head to the Shimmytown Facebook page to find out about future “Swingin in the Sky” concerts at Salesforce Park. Video shot and edited by Tim O'Brien.

  • What is Swing? You might answer, “You know it, when you feel it.” But for a more technical and entertaining explanation, check out short video by music producer Dave Wave. Dave’s explanation is a bit simplistic, but certainly gets across the interesting interplay among the different instruments in a swing number. Some of his other videos include “What is Ragtime?” and “What is Boogie Woogie?

  • For a deeper dive into jazz, check out this longer, but deeper explanation of the music from jazz pianist and bandleader Barry Harris. I love this line: "Jazz musicians go and play, and you say 'Dawg, you can't dance to it or nothing?' All we did was dance to jazz. That's the only way I learned about jazz was dancing."

  • Lindy hop is booming in Mainland China, as I found out during a recent trip to Shanghai. Local organizer Orchid has helpfully created this list of 19 Chinese cities with active lindy hop organizations.  If you visit, WeChat is the local messaging service to use to get the skinny on all the dance happenings there. (No Googling or Facebooking allowed.)

  • In other Asian dance news, check out this blog post by Apache on the fascinating links between “The Philippines, Swing Dance, and Jazz.” Clearly this is still a work-in-progress. But I like where he’s going with this research.


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