AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

MUSIC

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

It may be time to drop the ‘world music’ label (and The Brother Moves On has something to say about it)

Last week the second Cape Town World Music Festival (CTWMF) took place, and warmed up a very cold and wet “Mother City” weekend. The notoriously lax Cape Town audience (myself included) got out from under our duvets to check out some of the best bands in South Africa, as well as some international acts, such as

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Watch’s Umlilo’s new music video “Magic Man” here first

You’ve seen the teaser, now see the video. Umlilo, is back with his fifth music video single, ‘Magic Man’ from his upcoming EP, ‘Aluta’. 

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

South African Hip Hop Series: Rap Songs About Weed

Hip-hop’s love affair with marijuana is a much-publicized affair. Artists such as Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg have built careers by co-opting the good ganja crop and working it into their public personas. Of late, the likes...

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Goma Rap: The 9th annual Salaam Kivu International Film Festival

When the M23 militia took control of Goma, the capital of North Kivu in Eastern Congo, in late 2012, the premises of Yole Africa were quickly occupied by a large crowd of youngsters. Some of them were...

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

South African Hip Hop Series: Interview With Khuli Chana

On the morning of 28th October 2013 – a Monday – South Africa woke up to news that rapper Khuli Chana’s vehicle had been shot at by the police after they mistook it for that of a...

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

South African Hip Hop Series: Ill Skillz In Five Videos

Cape Town’s self-proclaimed two dope boyz Uno and Jimmy Flexx are Ill Skillz. At the end of 2013 they released Notes from the Native Yard (NFTNY), a collection of songs steeped in the tradition of great storytellers...

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

This Studio Of A Life–The Tale Of A Great Producer

Inyambo Imenda is the birth name of producer Nyambz (or Nyambo). He went to high school in the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere’ — a small town called Harrismith in South Africa’s Free State Province where him and a rapper friend...

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

On being young, black and queer in South Africa

Umlilo (previously profiled on Africa is a Country here) continues to push societal boundaries, crushing the norms of sexuality and gender roles with ‘Magic Man’, a track from his latest album, which will be released in July...

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Pretoria’s Forgotten Hip-Hop Scene

In 2010, documentary filmmaker Sara Chitambo packed up five years’ worth of life in Cape Town and relocated to the eGoli, ePitori to be precise. Among her long list of priorities was to immerse herself the Pretoria...

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Music: Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali goes global

Listening to Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali’s newest album Tzenni is like enjoying a complex and meticulously prepared meal. Like an aromatic spice, her striking voice adds richness to each song, combining gorgeously with guitar, bass, drums...

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Africa is a Radio: Episode #4 (World Cup Special!)

I’m shortening the name of Africa is a Country Radio. From now on (save for when I slip up) the show will be known as Africa is a Radio! This month’s show dives fully (rather than the...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The World of Ridiculous Youtube Music Videos: First Bangs, then Ice JJ Fish, Kwality, now Berenice

Singing or rapping off key in an expensive or sometime low budget music video is now a cottage industry in the rabbit hole that makes up Youtube.   The African diaspora have not been spared. The pioneer of...

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

A Few Thoughts About The Rapper AKA

“What do you like about the guy?” asked a friend after I told them about an album listening session the rapper AKA had hosted a day earlier. “I don’t know, I don’t get the guy; and maybe...

Friday, June 27th, 2014

#Belated: Tumi And The Volume

Their stage act resembles an inside joke; they play tricks on the audience with a wry sense of humour which underlies the whole scenario. The guitarist will sommer play a lick off of a well-known song of...

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

New Sounds from Mozambique

Most of Mozambique’s music stars and musical genres known abroad come from the south of the country and the capital Maputo. That’s why Wired for Sound—the mobile recording studio we wrote about previously—toured the central and northern regions...

Friday, June 20th, 2014

We ́re not Monkeys or Panthers: The Rap of Z’Africa Brasil

Race in Brazil has never been simple. In the midst of the protests leading up to the current World Cup, all eyes turned to Brazilian soccer players as yet another object lesson in blackness, racism and Africanity...

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Discovering Prophets Of Da City

One late afternoon while milling about at the University of Cape Town’s main campus, I ran into Adam Haupt, the Associate Professor of Media Studies who’s authored books such as Static: Race and Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media...

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The Rules of South African Hip Hop in 2014

South African hip-hop has become too safe. Cutting edge rappers are being sidelined in favour of tried-and-tested mainstays – creating a cycle of regurgitated talent that receives preferential treatment by radio stations, booking agents, and sponsors. Doubtless, the...

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

James Baldwin at 90, Part 3: Black Style in an Age of Sights for the Speechless

In Take This Hammer, Baldwin’s guide, Orville Luster, positions him in San Francisco’s Lower Fillmore District across the street from the Booker T. Washington Hotel. As they approach the hotel on Fillmore Street, Luster says, “now, off...

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

South African Hip Hop–An Outsider’s Perspective

One evening while channel surfing at home, I stumbled upon what sounded like a rap cypher* on the radio. Quickly, I got up to look for an empty cassette tape nearby. Once I found one (a see-through Sonotech C-60 if...

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The World Of Ridiculous Internet Videos: Who is Kwality?

I wasn’t sure of how to react when I opened the Youtube link to Kwality’s “Official Lion King.” video, first uploaded on May 17. What is this, and who is he, I wondered. While waiting for the video to...

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Heart of a Lion

Cape Town singer Crosby is about to release his new album “Better Place.”  Since I was in Cape Town for a few months, he asked me to direct the music video for his single, “Heart of a Lion”...

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The Fader goes to Cape Town

So I’ve been following the Sprite Obey You Collective video series on The Fader website. They have been profiling some young South Africans doing great things. I liked the idea. I saw the Okmaloomkat clip. I liked...

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Kickin’ It With Christian Tiger School

I arrive in Braamfontein twenty minutes early, at 6pm, for a meeting with Sebastiano Zenasi (or Seb), Luc Vermeer, and their manager Aaron Peters. It’s the night of their album launch, their second since 2012’s Third Floor...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Toto’s Africa–The Disco Edition

Came across this nice little disco edit of Toto’s “Africa.” Since we have a running series going, thought it would be nice to add it to the bunch. So deeejay! Take us awaaaay to Aaaaaafrica!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Afrobeat, Brazilian Style

The following is a guest post from Wolfram Lange, a Brazilian music aficionado based in Rio de Janeiro. A few months ago Sean and I were discussing the upsurge in interest in (Fela Kuti’s) afrobeat music in...

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Why Is No One Else Talking About These Musicians?

I got the chance to be part of the Redbull Basscamp in Johannesburg during October 2013. For six days, a unique cross-section of hand picked South African musicians holed up in central Johannesburg for lectures from music industry heavyweights in...

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Rap Battle of the Week on Reddit: Johannesburg’s Tumi vs Atlanta’s Ness Lee

Two weeks ago, Club Zen in downtown Johannesburg got packed to its rafters with hip-hop afficionados who came by the carloads to support Scrambles4Money, a South African battle rap circuit established in 2012. The auspicious Talk is...

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

James Baldwin at 90, Part 2: Toward a Writing “Immune to Bullshit”

In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin frames the crux of his consideration of cultural and personal awareness: “It is the responsibility of free men to trust and to celebrate what is constant—birth, struggle, and death are...

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