Moving on from “clubbing across the continent,” Africa Is a Country Radio is back on Worldwide FM with a new season. This time, each show will be inspired by a different work of African literature. In the first episode, we visit Ethiopia with Kenyan-American author Mukoma Wa Ngugi, who has just released a new novel called Unbury Our Dead with Song on Cassava Republic Press. In his latest work, Mukoma uses the Tizita, and its birthplace of Ethiopia, as an entry way to ruminate on the intricacies of love, war, life and death, the past, the future, faith and human expression. The Tizita, according to the book’s main character, John Manfredi, is:
… not just a popular traditional Ethiopian song; it was a song that was life itself. It had been sung for generations, through wars, marriages, deaths, divorces and childbirths. For musicians and listeners exiled in Kenya, the US and Europe, or trying to claim a home in Israel as Ethiopian Jews, the Tizita was like a national anthem to the soul, for better and worse.
Released in the shadow of Ethiopia’s latest conflict, the book is eerily relevant to the current moment. In this show, we will play some music inspired by different moments and characters in the book, and talk with Mukoma about his work.
Listen below or on Worldwide FM.