November 29, 2010 § 2 Comments
Yes, yes, it’s been several months since DC hip hop artist Wale released “My Sweetie” as an iTunes bonus track on his album “Attention Deficit.” The song is a celebration of sorts of his Nigerian heritage, as his lyrics are rife with references to African parties (“…make my jollof with lots of peppeh…”) and culture (“…when I meet your Mom I’m a still dobaleh…” (bow down) So you can kinda get it: “My Sweetie,” produced by the Apple Juice Kid, features a heavy sample of Sierra Leone music great Bunny Mack‘s 1979 classic “Let Me Love You.” That song became a dance floor smash worldwide, and the extended 12″ vinyl record can still command a hefty asking price. And, of course, it still packs the jams. So it was a pretty smart choice for a sample. But what about Bunny Mack? « Read the rest of this entry »
November 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
The DC Diaspora of music is celebrating the creme de la creme of young hip hop talent in Washington, DC as they roll out rappers Levelz and Phil Ade for their DC Diaspora Thanksgiving Kickoff event. They are both of Nigerian descent, and together with a new crop of young rappers are poised to pull DC hip hop out of the hulking shadow of go-go music, where it has been languishing since the 70’s. We can go way back in history to radio stations not supporting quality hip hop (“Radio stations, I question their Blackness, they call themselves black but we’ll see if they play this!” – Public Enemy, “Bring the Noise” 1988) but in DC, they really take it to ridiculous levels. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 23, 2010 § 1 Comment
If you watch a lot of African movies, some of these names would probably be familiar to you: Ramsey Nouah, Jim Iyke, Genevieve Nnaji, Van Vicker, Jackie Appiah. Well, a few of these stars are currently in DC for the premiere of a new Nollywood production, “Crazy in Love,” which stars Jim Iyke and Liberian actress Danieline Moore. The producers are planning a major red carpet movie premiere on December 4, 2010, with a host of movie stars from both Nollywood and Hollywood! The movie is directed by Martin Gbados and will no doubt capitalize on the new buzz being generated by Nollywood filmmaking. Read More
November 22, 2010 § 1 Comment
OK, Promised to bring you some Jimmy Cliff video after his recent performance in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Only a brief clip is available right now (it takes quite a while to FTP that hi-def video). Many thanks to our crew over there for grabbing Jimmy Cliff right after his rousing performance in front of the crowd at the ECOWAS Peace Pageant 2010. With his hat pulled over his eyes, he does look like he’s ready to hit the pillows! But he still managed to talk with Zoe Hamilton about being in Sierra Leone and his message for the youth.
So this past weekend another reggae artist made it to Sierra Leone: Beenie Man.
November 16, 2010 § 5 Comments
Rita Marley, reggae artist and humanitarian, and widow of Reggae icon Bob Marley, sat in regal serenity at the Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala in Washington, DC last week, giving little inkling of the true fighter that she is. For her passion and dedication to social justice and equal rights, she was being honored with the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Caribbean Studies. For Rita Marley – born Alpharita Anderson in Santiago, Cuba, raised in Trench Town, Jamaica and now living in Ghana – there is a special gratification to this honor. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 14, 2010 § 3 Comments
Perhaps Jimmy Cliff‘s performance of his hit song “I Can See Clearly Now” at the end of the Ms. ECOWAS Peace Pageant should have given the audience an indication of the slant his closing remarks would take. The reggae superstar took on a serious tone as he delivered a call to Sierra Leoneans to “never let foreigners come in and take what is yours.” He had made similar comments on
November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
It’s official (at the last minute, as it can often be in Sierra Leone): Jimmy Cliff has already arrived at Freetown’s Lungi Airport for the 2010 ECOWAS Peace Pageant, where he is scheduled to perform in just a few hours. Senegalese star Youssou N’Dour was already confirmed, but only rumors surrounded whether Jimmy Cliff would actually be brought over. Thirty beauties from the 15 ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) nations will compete for the honor of becoming the Peace Ambassador for the sub-region. It promises to be an exciting night showcasing the best of West African fashion, art and music. For more information on the pageant, you can visit their website. Afrofusion Lounge will keep you updated on results! Photo Courtesy Aram Kilimli. Bless…
November 12, 2010 § 4 Comments
Back in the late 80s when some radio stations were still reluctant to play rap music, Public Enemy’s Chuck D vowed he’d one day “treat it like a seminar, reach
the bourgeois and rock a boulevard…” Hip hop’s reach has, of course, extended way past the bourgeois; beyond what most people imagined at that time. In the late 70s, a group of young kids rose from poor, seemingly hopeless conditions in South Bronx, New York to create amazingly beautiful art and become the world-famous Rock Steady Crew. Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón, one of the original members of that crew, recently took a trip to Uganda to teach seminars and workshops on breakdancing. He was invited by Abraham “Abramz” Tekya, a young visionary B-Boy who started Breakdance Project Uganda to uplift and empower disadvantaged youth using hip hop and breakdancing.
November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
Question: What exactly is “Salsa?” If you do not know, think you know, or know you know, you’ll still be in for a surprise if you haven’t yet seen the documentary movie Yo Soy, del Son a la Salsa (1997). You can watch it for FREE(!) Thursday night at Sutra Lounge in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC, at a special DC edition of AFROCUBA! According to several reviews, it is the most thorough historical treatment given on film to the dance music we now call Salsa. Many practitioners continue to disagree over what exactly it is – Celia Cruz, the great Afro-Cuban singer « Read the rest of this entry »
November 8, 2010 § 2 Comments
Behind the “glamour and the glitter,” to paraphrase Buju Banton, is no “bed o’ rose!” “It’s Not an Easy Road” is what ran through my head when I finally caught up with African recording artist (who launched her career in Canada) Di’ja and her crew at a small recording studio in Northern Virginia. After weeks of trying to pin them down, it was somewhat satisfying to witness this young lady working on her music. Turns out Di’ja has been working almost non-stop, recording tracks for her new album and working on the video for her breakout hit “Rocksteady” (which they are planning on releasing in just a few weeks!) « Read the rest of this entry »