Music

Your Soul Needs This Hypnotic New BCUC Album More Than You Know

The 'Emakhosini' consists of three songs and spans a whole 40 minutes. Get lost in it.

When I was growing up in Swaziland, every now and then, I would be exposed to sangomas and gatherings involving the honoring of the ancestors. I observed some rituals being performed. Those rituals involved a lot of signing, dancing, chanting, screaming, stomping of the ground and the sound of drums.

The music of BCUC, aka Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, the 7-piece "afro psychedelic" band from Soweto, reminds me of those ceremonies.


The singing contains the same eeriness. The bongo drums create an environment that makes even the faithless consider that maybe there's more to life than meets the eye.

Just like on their 2016 debut album, Our Truth, the band's latest album, Emakhosini, is hypnotic. It contains just three songs that are, on average, 15 minutes long each. Only the third song, which is the album's lead single, is the standard length at 3:25.

It takes a lot to make long songs long that feel short. And the songs on Emakhosini aren't just long for the sake of it. It's like a long form essay that boasts colorful details that you can't fit in a byte size piece. The songs on the album often feel like many songs preceding each other at times, but the ever-present bass guitar and percussions always tie them together.

The songs meander, contort, dip and peak; with extensive transitions in between that make all these changes make sense.

The music is highly spiritual in nature—"Nobody Knows" plays out like a Zion church hymn, and the chants and screams just remind me of church. It's the bongo drums and the rapping (if I may) that give it a twist.

The first two songs are like the soundtrack of the rituals and sessions I mentioned earlier. As the name of the album says, you are among your ancestors and kings.

Emakhosini will hypnotize you for a whole 40 minutes, and just like with most pieces of art that are highly spiritual, the effect will differ from one individual to another.

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

WATCH: How Ilê Aiyê Brought Blackness Back to Carnival

Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

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This EP Blends the Afro-Brazilian Rhythms of Bahia With Bass Music

Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

Through the 7-track Ré_Con Ba$$ EP, him and Pomar mold and transform the diverse music of Bahia, fusing its rhythms with afrobeat, future house, deep house and much more.

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