Tag Archives: m.u.s.i.c

This Is Proudly African

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In the space of two days, thousands of Africans have risen up and made their voices heard. In Dakar, Senegal, crowds successfully protested against President Wade’s proposal to amend the constitution to create a monarchy.

In the tiny kingdom of Swaziland, a “fundraising” concert which was supposed to be given by Jadakiss for the royal family was boycotted. Not surprising given the fact that pretty much all the revenue in Swaziland goes to supporting the king’s outrageous lifestyle.

Buoyed by this impressive show of solidarity, I embarked on a Googling frenzy. Here’s links to a couple of inspiring stories I found:

In Malawi, an ambitious project is underway to turn the country’s oldest ship into a floating clinic. This is going to save a lot of lives and wages for the 25% population who live along Lake Malawi and currently have to make a 16-hour trip to get to the nearest hospital. They are giving the clinic the unfortunate name Chauncy Maples, but that’s nitpicking.

The Sierra Leone Refugee AllStars are a group of musicians who came together during their years living in a refugee camp in Guinea. Out of two old guitars, a microphone and a shared love of music, their powerful sound was born. They’ve done world tours, put out two albums and appeared on Oprah. They also feature on a cover of the Rolling Stone classic Gimme Shelter as part of the Playing for Change campaign and World Refugee Day. Tragedy to triumph, non?

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Counting my blessings

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“I’ve got something to live for
I’ve got surplus to give more
And we’re all welcome through His door
So I count my blessings”

Damian Marley says I should ‘give thanks to the Master’. And I happen to think he’s hot. So I’ll do what he says.

  • I’m thankful that I woke up to a great Friday morning, one of those sing-in-the-shower, crank-up-the-radio-volume, smile-at-strangers type of mornings;

 

  • I’m thankful that I can afford to pay quite some money to buy a def.i.ni.tion T-shirt*, even if it’s just to support family;

 

  • I’m happy that it’s Friday, after a hectic week, and I can put my feet up this evening and watch football with friends;

 

  • I’m grateful for friends who involve me in inane weekend activities like going to the zoo. No, seriously. I’m going to the zoo tomorrow – for the first time since I was 9;

 

  • I’m thankful for great music. For Marley’s wisdom, MJ’s funkiness and Sting’s laidback coolness;

 

  • And I’m grateful for my health. My weight-gain plan is having a slow start, but maybe after a few more Thursdays gorging on meat buffets, results will start to show!

Happy weekend! Count yours 🙂

*You don’t know what def.i.ni.tion is? You smell!

now ‘ear dis! (and a post with a lot of apostrophes)

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These Nigerians might be losing their World Cup games, but they are bringing it on the music front. In the car this morning, I listened to a J. Martins (or Jay Martins – it’s spelled differently on some sites) song – Iyanya. It reminded me somewhat of Bracket’s Yori Yori, but that’s okay because I love that song and two of them is definitely not a bad thing!

There’s D’Banj’s song Igwe (released in 2008, but we’re only hearing now) a fast-paced big-up to his Nigerian fans – if my understanding of pidgin is any good. I am liking this one too, very reminiscent of something from Femi Kuti.

Nneka’s latest album Concrete Jungle, her first US release. You might not know Nneka in other parts of Africa unless you watch TRACE or VOX Africa every once in a while. She’s a young Nigerian-German who sings in Igbo and English. My favorites off this one are Kangpe (“God no go give you anyting you no go fit deal wit”!) and Heartbeat.

The legendary Nigerian-Britsh Sade (OBE, apparently) has Soldier of Love out; after making us wait 10 years since Lovers’ Rock. I have yet to give the whole album a good listen, but so far, Babyfather does not disappoint!

And now for some humble-pie-eating: I dissed Distant Relatives before I’d really listened to it. My take being, “what do millionaire rap star Nas and a successful spawn of Bob Marley know about the suffering of Africans?! Pssh”. But that album has substance, most of the songs are driven and conscious with some ridiculous beats 🙂 Listen to Tribes at War, Africa Must Wake Up(both featuring K’Naan), Strong Will Continue and Patience*.

The chorus is in Bambara, the English translation is:

“Patience is worth everything/ Patience is good/ If you love someone, patience is worth everything”

Coming out of the Musical closet

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Every once in a while, my brain likes to shock me. Usually it does this by refusing to think of a witty comeback in time, or failing to pick something intelligent to contribute to a conversation with someone I am trying to impress, and other times by taking to something my heart swore it would never be caught alive enjoying.

Yes, I have strict rules on what’s likeable and non-likeable. It’s my replacement for Principles.

Justin Beiber, for instance. Non-likeable pre-teen twat with zero talent and my brain complied on that one. Avocado and bacon sandwiches, completely likeable loveable and that is never going to change.

When Brain does not co-operate, I find myself eating cheese and jam, bobbing my head to that song of Miley Cyrus, and singing along to Glee.

Yep. My latest obsession is a group of singing high school misfit teens (read young-faced twenty-something actors) whose only preoccupation is winning the ‘regionals’, climbing up the popularity ladder and getting as much pre-marital sex as possible on the way there.

I am not in it for the story line though, and that’s what is shocking me. It’s the music. It’s the 80s pop songs I’d forgotten about, it’s the Broadway tunes, it’s the mash-ups (a word I had never said aloud until this weekend). This from someone who only saw Grease because what else was there to do on rainy afternoon of a school holiday in the mid-90s? I lost a modicum of respect for Queen Latifah after Hairspray and I never as much as touched a High School Musical dvd for fear of contracting something contagious.

But that’s the thing – Glee is infectious, dammit. Besides the music, I love it because I can relate to being a high school oddball. I love Sue Sylvester and the spiteful passion she puts into her pointless rivalry against the Glee club teacher (a washed-up Justin Timberlake wannabe). And how can you not love lines like:

You know, for me trophies are like herpes. You can try to get rid of them but they just keep coming. Sue Sylvester has hourly flair ups of burning itchy highly contagious talent.

Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?

The way to get a man to follow you forever, take his virginity. Madonna wrote a song about it.

And thus, I spent much of my weekend infront of a laptop, singing myself hoarse and enjoying every minute of it. Positively gleeful 🙂

So Much Good Music!

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I love music and I love discovering new music. Usually it comes by way of recommendation, or as a soundtrack to a movie, but I especially love it when I stumble upon it.

Yesterday, I decided to take the afternoon off from work. My job is that cool 🙂 And I wasn’t supposed to go straight home, or pig out on the couch and watch BET (I barely ever watch Tv, let alone BET). But I thought, let’s see what the big deal is with 106 & Park.

And I saw him perform: B.o.B, aka Bobby Ray. I fell instantly in like with his music. The album is called The Adventures of Bobby Ray and is as full of diverse talented collaborations as a music lover could take! He works with everyone from  Lil’ C (from So you think you can dance), Hayley from Paramore, Janelle Monae, to Eminem, T.I., Lupe Fiasco and some new cats as well.

The music is tight. He has a good flow that reminds of Lupe Fiasco. I especially like rappers that do sick word plays, but I havent yet listened keenly enough to know if he does.

Then there’s K’Naan‘s Troubadour album. I was hesitant to jump on the K’naan bandwagon.  I liked this cat’s music from the Soobax days when he was just a skinny Somali boy yelling in an unintelligible (to many people) language. And then Dusty Foot Philosopher came out and everyone I knew was dick-riding! But hate as I tried, you can’t deny good music!

On a recent trip to Entebbe, my friends and I had Troubadour on repeat and that shit got under my skin. And I was glad. It’s amazing stuff, World Cup song aside (UBC has ruined that one for me). My favorites to repeat are T.I.A and Fatima.

There’s Drake; who is taking his time with his first LP (Thank Me Later) but good things come to those who wait. ‘Over’ and a couple other tracks have already leaked, and I ain’t complaining 🙂

Go forth, download this shit, enjoy and, uh, Thank Me Later!