AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

MUSIC

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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 theirs (‘76’ and ‘People of the light‘ come to mind) before bouncing right back into material from their

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...

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The State Of African Hip Hop In 2014

In 2014, African hip-hop has graduated from the bedroom and walked into the boardroom. It’s left its cape (baggy jeans) at the door and picked up a pair of tight-fitting pants. In extreme cases, hip-hop has shed...

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...

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The music that changed my life

The Cape Town suburb of Observatory is known for being a small bohemian enclave, providing low cost housing for students, artists and ‘free spirits’ of all sorts. Walk down Lower Main Road past the quaint mini-Victorian houses...

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Erykah Badu and hero worship in the times of Twitter

On April 24, style icon and queen of neo-soul, Erykah Badu performed for King Mswati III–the absolute ruler of Swaziland since 1986 when, at 18, he succeeded his father King Sobhuza III–at his birthday party. When the...

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Africa is a Radio: Episode 2

Just in time for the weekend, episode 2 of Africa is a Country Radio is here! (It went live first on Groovalizacion last week.) This month’s episode opens with a dedication to Suriname, and ends with an audio accompaniment...

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

20 Years of Freedom in South Africa: What do hip hop heads in Cape Town make of elections

Having been hosted by the likes of DJ Ready D, Big Dre, Shameen, and Wanda, just to mention a few, Headwarmaz is now in the hands of the new generation of Cape Town hip hop in the...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Tumi Molekane’s New Song

With no Volume to his name, it seemed almost impossible to imagine South Africa-based self-proclaimed poet/emcee Tumi Molekane as a solo artist. He had released two albums before forming a band: A dream led to this and Tao of...

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The African Hip-Hop Generation Arrives

I remember it like it was yesterday. My older brother had just returned from his freshman year of secondary school and the loud engine of my father’s old Nissan Stanza pulling into the compound had sent us...

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Basil Breakey’s images: An important recording of South Africa Jazz

A few weeks ago, the Central Library in the Cape Town made a book maze from books that were intended to be pulped. Inserted in between the stacks of books that were packed on the first floor,...

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

The Shifting, Sonic Geography of Cartagena, Colombia

It had been three years since I’d visited Cartagena, and I was shocked by all the changes. They must have been bubbling under the surface the last time I came, because they seemed so drastic. On my first...

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Jazz in Cape Town

In Cape Town jazz here is not just jazz. It’s a whole lot more. For one, it is a dance style that continues to be the predominant feature of successive generations of Cape Flats families. Almost similar...

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Old Money’s Mothership Is Here to Save Us All

Dutty Artz, the New York-based record label I run and release music with, just put out a new EP by Old Money. This morning I put my remix of the title track ‘Mothership’ on Soundcloud, and for a limited...

Friday, April 4th, 2014

No, we have not forgotten that it was Bra Hugh Masekela’s 75th birthday today

It's Bra Hugh's birthday today. Well into his seventies, Hughie as his friend Dizzy Gillepsie used to call him, demonstrates no interest in laying off from touring. To celebrate, we'll bump a bit of "I Am Not...

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The Expat

"Even though I’m an immigrant, (my music) mirrors what a lot of African Americans experience because it’s such a black story. I’ve found inspiration from that community and they embrace me and allow me to do their...

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Happy Africans

By 11am this morning Pharrell Williams' pop friendly and infectious "Happy" had racked up 138,948,968 views on Youtube and obviously making him and his record company a lot of money. If it's not enough that it is...

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