Africa In Your Earbuds


Download a meditative, all-vinyl Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape from James Blake's drummer, Ben Assiter.

When he's not touring as James Blake's drummer, percussionist/DJ Ben Assister can be found playing with London outfits Ruby and The Vines and Fur. Assiter developed an interest in African music through friends, which was cemented by a musical pilmigrage to Senegal and Mali. He tells us, "As a musician, and particularly as a drummer, I find it difficult not to be inspired by the wealth of different music that has come out of the African continent."

In Africa In Your Earbuds #26, Ben Assiter compiles a meditative, all-vinyl mix. The mixtape features a premiere of "Biannual Coffee Cups" by his group Fur, as well as tunes by Ruby and The Vines, Thomas Mapfumo, The Wings, and Owiny Sigoma Band. There's also a batch of tracks from around the globe:

I’ve included tracks from other parts of the world that demonstrate different forms of engagement with Africa. Technology has clearly had a big part in facilitating such cultural interactions... , and although I’ve been lucky enough to travel in Africa, the internet has definitely played a massive role in my African musical education. For me, several of the tracks have origins particularly close to home. There’s a small but lively African music scene in London, be it involving African artists who have relocated here, or local musicians who have been influenced by various African forms. I’ve picked a few tracks to play here which I feel have African inspirations below the surface somehow.

Londoners can catch James Blake's drummer, Ben Assiter, spinning at 1-800-Dinosaur, a new biweekly night at the sonic mecca Plastic People. Stream/download AIYE #26: Ben Assiter below. Hats-off to Underdog for the cover artwork.


Jarabi – Toumani Diabate [MALI]

Sanu Maakaan – Guelewar [GAMBIA]

Xale - Mark Ernestus presents Jeri-Jeri with Mbene Diatta Seck [SENEGAL/GERMANY]

Little Big Or Small - United Vibrations [UK]

Gone With The Sun – The Wings [NIGERIA]

Red Storm – Ruby And The Vines [UK]

Paulina (Pt. 1) – Orchestra Les Wanyika [KENYA/TANZANIA]

Biannual Coffee Cups – FUR [UK]

Butsu Mutandarika – Thomas Mapfumo [ZIMBABWE]

Odera Lwar – Owiny Sigoma Band [UK/KENYA]

Let Me Love You – Bunny Mack [SIERRA LEONE]

Stay Up Zimbabwe – Brother Valentino [TRINIDAD & TOBAGO]

Last Chance Dub (Joe Ariwa feat. Annie Brown) – Val Veneto [ARGENTINA/UK]


This YouTube Account Is Sharing South African Audiobooks For Free, And We Are Here For It

Listen to audiobooks by Steve Biko, Bessie Head, Credo Mutwa, and more.

Audio Books Masters is a YouTube channel that uploads audio versions of South African books and short stories.

Recent additions include Life by Bessie Head, Crepuscule by Can Themba, Indaba, My Children by Credo Mutwa, among others. South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who passed away three weeks ago, also gets read. You can listen to his poem No Serenity Here. More books you can stream include I Write What I Like by Steve Biko, Africa is my Witness by Credo Mutwa, among others.

Audio Book Masters was started by two friends, Bonolo Malevu (24) and Hahangwivhawe Liphadzi (23).

Malevu is a University of Pretoria BA Drama graduate, who is currently doing his LLB. Liphadzi is an LLB graduate, who is completing his LLM this year.

"I found a hobby of narrating books to craft my art skill after reading Credo Mutwa's Indaba, My Children," says Malevu in an email to OkayAfrica. "After reading the prologue, I knew that this book was meant to be converted [to] many different formats such as stage plays, series, movies and audiobooks."

Then came the idea of creating a YouTube channel. That was when Malevu teamed up with Liphadzi.

They both bought themselves high quality recorders, and started reading, recording and uploading.

Authors from the olden days such as RRR Dhlomo and HIE Dhlomo, whose audio versions of their books are available on the channel, are older than 50 years and their copyrights have since expired.

The rest, though, Liphadzi and Malevu say they are trying to get in contact with the publishers, but it's not easy.

"We have contacted the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) regarding this issue," they say. "We have been in contact with various copyright holders and we are still in the negotiation process. However we are finding it difficult to contact certain publishers, and the consistent uploading of their books is to attract their attention."

The two friends say they started the channel to bring books closer to people who otherwise wouldn't have access, and to get people to appreciate literature, especially African authors. "We want to bring such literature to the digital age in the form of storytelling which has been a unique African form of literature," they say. "The channel also helps develop our voices as we are a voice company that offers all kinds of voice services. We also identified how South African authors lack audio books, and found that there is a gap in this market, and this could really create many job opportunities in South Africa."

The two are currently developing stories in indigenous languages for children in English medium schools. "This is drawn from the fact that in such schools, a lot of African students struggle to speak their own native languages. So we approach various schools to sell them such literature. We are freelance voice over artists who also do radio, content production, news reading and radio adverts."

We are so here for this.

Subscribe to Audio Books Masters' YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter.


Nigerian Actor Sope Aluko On How She Landed a Coveted Role in ​'Black Panther​'

Marvel's Black Panther is already on the brink of being a blockbuster, as it already broke box office records within the first 24 hours of it's pre-sale. Beating Captain America: Civil War's record in 2016, Fandango reports results from a user survey, stating Black Panther was 2018's second most-anticipated movie after Avengers: Infinity War.

One up-and-coming actor who will star alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan (to name a few) is Sope Aluko. Come February 16, we'll see the Nigerian-born actor play 'Shaman' in the film. Her previous credits include recurring roles on Netflix's “Bloodline," NBC shows “Law & Order SVU" and “Parks & Recreation" and guest appearances on USA Network's “Burn Notice" and Lifetime's “Army Wives."

Her film credits include supporting roles in feature films including Identity Thief, 96 Minutes, Grass Stains, The Good Lie and more. Raised in the UK, Aluko studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). Aluko speaks four languages, including her native language, Yoruba, French, and Bahasa, an Indonesian language.

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Femi Kuti Spreads Some Much-Needed Peace In the Video For 'One People One World'

Watch the music video for the first single off Femi Kuti's upcoming EP "One People One World."

Femi Kuti drops the music video for his single "One People One World," the title song from his forthcoming 10th studio album.

The energy boosting music video sees Femi Kuti delivering an electrifying performance in the Kuti family-owned New Afrika Shrine in Lagos.

On the track, the accomplished musician promotes an unwavering message of peace and unity—things that the world could perhaps always use more of, but especially so in today's Trump-dominated political climate. His message of positivity is illustrated with graphics that appear throughout the video, showing various country flags and symbols of love and peace.

"Racism has no place, give hatred no space," Kuti sings atop brassy instrumentals. "Let's settle the differences, it's best to live in peace. Exchange cultural experiences; that's the way it should be," he continues.

"One People One World," (the album) is a plea towards global harmony and solidarity. When you look at what's going on in Africa, Europe and America, it's important to keep the dream of unity alive," the artist told OkayAfrica in November.

"When I was a boy, I listened to funk, highlife, jazz, folk songs, classical music and my father's compositions, so you will hear those things in the music."

"One People, One World" by Femi Kuti and his band, the Positive Force, drops on February 23 via Knitting Factory, and is now available for preorder.

Femi Kuti, 'One People One World' cover.

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