Sia Tolno and Afro Dead at Cooper Field


Sia Tolno with Afro Dead. Photo provided

PUTNEY, Vt. – The Next Stage Bandwagon Summer Series presents Guinean musical artist Sia Tolno and international musical collective Afro Dead, live at Cooper Field on Sunday, June 18, 2023, at 6 p.m. Sia Tolno will perform both solo, and as the lead vocalist of Afro Dead, which reimagines the music of the Grateful Dead in an African style.

“Sia’s already cultivated a name for herself in Africa and Europe. With this being her first U.S. tour, I imagine she will turn a lot of heads on this side of the Atlantic,” says Keith Marks, Executive Director of Next Stage Arts. “Her backing band, Afro Dead, is composed of some heavy hitters in the European jazz and jam band scenes – it’s a perfect pairing of European and African artists. Grateful Dead tunes in Afrobeat stylings, followed by a rising star from Africa.”

Sia Tolno is an award-winning global touring and recording artist, vocalist, and songwriter from Guinea/Sierra Leone, steeped in Afrobeat, Afro-blues, Mandinga, and soukous styles of African popular music. Her music is both personal and universal, singing about her unique past while making it relevant to the global masses. She has worked with Tony Allen – musical director for Fela Kuti – and Lusafrica records, and her new album is being recorded in Barcelona, produced by Aaron Feder in collaboration with Slow Walk Music.

Afro Dead is a musical collective from Africa, Europe, and the U.S.A., which is music directed by Aaron Feder and featuring the talented Guinean singer Sia Tolno and Diakanké guitarist Yaya Dambakate. Aaron Feder is the founder of Alma Afrobeat Ensemble – credited with five albums and four U.S. tours – and is a multi-instrumentalist with many years of extensive experience with Grateful Dead music, including playing and recording with members of Phil and Friends, Oteil and Friends, Peter Rowan, and more. Sia Tolno, an award-winning recording artist, vocalist, and songwriter, brings to the collective her years of extensive global live performance touring. Yaya Dambakate is a Griot musician who comes from a long tradition of modern and traditional musicians, and has toured and recorded with an endless list of African musical royalty.

This performance is co-presented with The Stone Church, and sponsored by The Richards Group.

The Bandwagon Summer Series is a family-friendly outdoor cultural performance series running from early May through mid-October. More than 20 performances, ranging from a diverse group of musical styles, circus arts, dance, and theater, will take place at ballfields, farms, and parks throughout Windham County. Kids under 12 always get in for free, and a dedicated play area will be available at all shows. Refreshments are sold onsite, including the return of the hugely popular Barr Hill cocktails. Bring a picnic and a blanket or fold-up chair to enjoy our concerts.

Support for the Bandwagon Summer Series is provided by Brattleboro Reformer, Landmark College, Oak Meadow, Barr Hill, Vermont Public, The Porch Café & Catering, and Southern Vermont Solar.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or at the gate for an additional fee. Children under 12 are admitted for free. Join us on June 18, at 6 p.m., at Cooper Field, located at 41 Sand Hill Road in Putney.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Next Stage website at

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