keeping track of african and africa-related culture in the media (film, photography, television, and print)

africa.music_video: Spoek Mathambo “Control” video (dir. by Pieter Hugo)

Posted: February 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: music video, photography | Comments Off

New video from Spoek Mathambo for the song “Control”. Snip from Dazed Digital article premiering the video:

In collaboration with one of South Africa’s most influential photographers Pieter Hugo, and cinematographer Michael Cleary, the new video explores township cults and teen gangs. Shot on location in a squatted train boarding house in Langa, Cape Town, the video features a cast mostly made up of local neighborhood kids who run their own dance troop, Happy Feet.

Very nice.

Pieter Hugo?: “Permanent Error”

Movimento Brasil

Posted: April 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: music, music video | Comments Off

Movimento Brasil Long form commercial commissioned by Brazil’s Brahma beer on the launch of their beverage in the US market. Great inspiration video to watch as the mercury rises and we shed insulation layers here in the northern climes (does any one other nation know how to express muenjoyo than the Brazilians?) Awesome soundtrack, particularly for the samba and capoeria segments.

UPDATE: See also: Clip/excerpt below from the commercial describes in more detail, the roots and goals of capoeira.

Weekend Music: Freddie Gwala, King of the Pantsula

Posted: March 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: fashion, music, music video | Comments Off

Amadamara by Freddie Gwala

Freddie Gwala: After completing a jail sentence for car theft, Freddie Gwala embarked on a successful international musical career in the 90’s; his personal style/street cred made him a pantsula icon. [via Throwing Shade]

Pantsula?:Pantsula is a South African township dance form that emerged in the ’50s. It represents a way of life, dress and speech (tsotsitaal) and is considered symbolic of township culture.

Weekend music (and fashion): Oumou Sangare

Posted: February 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: fashion, multimedia, music, music video | 1 Comment »

“Seya” (version ORTM) by Oumou Sangare

African music/style icon Oumou Sangare is back with a new album called “Seya” (Joy). The production values of this video remind me of the stuff I see on the screens of the TVs in the African stores here in NYC, but it highlights some wicked Malian fashion. It also shows bits and pieces of how the intensely rich fabrics that Sangare wears come about, following Sangare around as she purchases fabric, takes it to get dyed and distressed before being tailored. Most cool.

SEE ALSO: Speaking of fashion, here are highlights from The African Fashion Collective show at the recently completed Fashion Week here in New York City. The show included designs from Xuly Bet (who used another music/style icon, Grace Jones, as one of the models), Stoned Cherrie, Momo and Tiffany Amber.

African Fashion Collective Fall 2009 runway show at the New York Fashion Week

weekend music: Summer in the City

Posted: January 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: music, music video | Comments Off

As I write this the temperature outside here in New York City is 7 degrees … Fahrenheit. The wind chill is 0 degrees. I have images of warm places firmly planted in my head (Diani beach, midday in February) to avoid trying to wrap my head how cold 0 degrees really is. I’ve also been listening to a lot of jazz lately. The cold must then be why I’m trying to link in a single post early 70’s jazz fusion and jazz funk that evokes languid warm days in summer with “golden era” hip hop that was inspired by 70’s jazz funk and jazz fusion.

“Summer in the City” by Quincy Jones (audio only)

“Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde [YouTube] (contains sample from “Summer in the City”).

“Red Clay” by Freddie Hubbard (audio only)

“Sucka Niggas” by A Tribe Called Quest [YouTube] (contains sample from Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard).

“Where I’m From” (remix) by Digable Planets

AV_M Top 8 for 08

Posted: December 31st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: books, fashion, globalization, magazine, museums, music video, photography, politics | Comments Off

screenshot of website image, “Blue Print, Rio” © The Sartorialist

Herewith, a randomly ordered year end list of stuff of note from 2008 here at casa forota.

1. MUSIC: Post everything music: BLK JKS, Esau Mwamwaya, Santogold, Vampire Weekend, Radioclit, Diplo, et al found new ways to mash up musical, cultural, epochal influences to create music influenced by everywhere, but of nowhere. Brilliant soundtracks for our rootless time.

2. PHOTOGRAPHY: Most Favorite Image: “Blue Print, Rio” at Sartorialist. Not sure why but I kept coming back to this image.

3. PHOTOGRAPHY: Second Most Favorite Image: “Kwaito in the streets of Alexandra” by Krisanne Johnson from FADER 52. Another image I cannot get enough of.

4. POLITICS: Obama vs Palin. A vote for the open, interconnected, inclusive future vs the insular, backward looking, divisive past. Choice was pretty clear.

5. MAGAZINES: Vogue Italia: A Black Issue. Proved it is still an issue to be black in the beauty business if one needs an issue for black people. Intriguing step forward, though.

6. BOOKS: Chemise by Malick Sidibe. Hipsters, on perusing Sidibe’s images: “Oh look, African hipsters from long ago!”

7. RACE: Black but not Black: Rising Black American middle class, emergence of “Afropolitans” or second generation African immigrants, growing awareness among Afro-latinos is rendering the label “Black” and its connotations pretty obsolete. See also: The End of the Black American Narrative by Charles Johnson.

8. ART/MUSEUMS: “Flow” at Studio Museum of Harlem. Nicely curated collection of Afropolitan art. Also cool: Exhibitions of works by Kehinde Wiley and Barkley L. Hendricks.

“Kwaito in the streets of Alexandra Township” © Krisanne Johnson

Weekend Music: Space Is the Place

Posted: December 13th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: hip hop, music, music video, race, video | Comments Off

A pan African vision of remembering your origins and imagining a future that honors those but moves forward.

Tricia Rose on the definition of Afrofuturism.

Tricia Rose is a professor of Africana (???) Studies at Brown University. In the audio clip above from the NPR show “Studio 360” she weaves a thread of futurism through black american music linking Sun Ra’s space jazz (“Space is the Place”) with Parliament/Funkadelic’s ghetto sci-fi funk of “Mothership Connection” and Afrika Bambaata’s epic electrofunk in “Planet Rock“. In the present, Lupe Fiasco becomes a robot in “Daydreamin'”. The impetus behind futuristic music in black American pop culture comes from a desire to escape the f**keupness of the current situation (slavery, inner city violence/poverty) and to imagine a better self using the vehicle of science fiction.

See also:

MUSIC: “I’m Not a Robot” by Newcleus. Although immortalized for the frivolity that is “Jam On It”, Brooklynites Newcleus explored sci-fi and spirituality in most of their work.

FILM: Brother from Another Planet. Black space alien crash lands in New York City and ends up in Harlem where the residents, sympathetic to his alien status, accept him and protect him from galactic bounty hunters seeking to return him to the slavery of his home planet.

Weekend Music: Kwaito: DJ Mujava

Posted: November 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: music, music video, video | 6 Comments »

Township Funk: DJ Mujava

Kwaito: (noun): “A music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa in the early 1990s. It is based on house music beats, but typically at a slower tempo and containing melodic and percussive African samples which are looped, deep basslines and often vocals, generally male, shouted or chanted rather than sung or rapped.”

Love this song. In sound it is a tribute to the original mid-80’s Chicago house that was just stripped down drum and bass beats with vocal samples (check out breaks in the last 30 seconds). Where, where, where can I find more of this?

SEE ALSO: Adonis: No Way Back [YouTube, audio only] Speaking of, here is some OG Chicago house from the pioneer house label Trax Records.

UPDATE: Wait! There’s more. As usual it seems like I was the last one to hear about DJ Mujava; this song blew up in the last couple of months, but has been bubbling under for about a year. However in its wake there has been a lot of interest in the kwaito scene, especially because of its similarities with the European electronica/dance scene. Fact Magazine has done a small survey of the kwaito scene from the more edgy, stripped down Chicago house to the more “friendly” garage, grime related sounds. Here are some YouTube links to the songs featured in the article:

Cassablanca: MZO Bullet
DJ Cleo: Don’t Run Away
DJ Teakay: Ngifuna Wena

Weekend Music: South Africa: Jazz-influenced Afropop/Afrosoul

Posted: November 8th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: music, music video | 1 Comment »

So where were we? Oh, yeah, looking for and sharing afromedia goodness around the Internets. Now that I am only checking out the Daily Kos, Politico, and Huffington Post twice a day instead of twice an hour, I can get parts of my life back.

South African popular music that has long been influenced by American jazz and gospel. In the 40’s and 50’s a jazz/urban sound hybrid flourished in Sophiatown, Jo’burg’s racially integrated (for a while) neighborhood that was immortalized in DRUM the magazine and the movie. Letta Mbulu and Miriam Makeba were part of that scene. The influence of gospel and jazz continues today in the work of female singers like Thandiswa and Simphiwe Dana.

Letta Mbulu: “Mahlalela” (audio only)

Miriam Makeba: “Pata Pata”

Thandiswa: “Zabalaza” (audio only)

Simphiwe Dana: “Ndiredi”

Weekend Music: Pan African Funk

Posted: October 17th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: music, music video | 2 Comments »

So … it is early 1970’s Nairobi. Petrol is still cheap. The city is clean, safe and orderly; the City Council picks up garbage regularly. The Kenya Bus Service is still the way to get around town. Matatus are not yet ubiquitous (who wants to ride in the back of a pickup outfitted with benches, anyways?). Kenyatta Conference Center, the coffee boom, inflation, economic collapse, the deaths of JM and Ouko, stifling corruption, AIDS, famine, megaslums are all still in the future. And from the Voice of Kenya (VoK), a University of Nairobi campus student can pick up on his transistor radio a newfangled African urban music, the cultural response to James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Isaac Hayes, to post-civil rights/post-independence Black pride and a re-energized vision of pan-Africanism.

Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa”

Osibisa: “Music for Gong Gong”

Fela Anikulapo Kuti: Early performance from “Ginger Baker in Africa”