Muthoni Drummer Queen "Lover" cover.

The 11 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Muthoni Drummer Queen, Sauti Sol's latest with Burna Boy, Octopizzo and Ras Nebyu.

The shortest month of the year did not fall short when it comes to East African music.

From the cheesy love ballads that helped in making our Valentine's Day feel special to some under-the-radar hip-hop gems, here is a selection of the best songs of the month.

Yvan Buravan "Oya"

Yvan Buravan is one of Rwanda's most promising acts and with his steamy new single, "Oya," he is positioning himself to take on the rest of East Africa as well. His smooth vocals are complimented by the song's mellow and soulful instrumentation, resulting in a rich and sensual sound with almost endless replay value. It's exciting to see this young R&B; heartthrob's career unfold as he prepares to release his debut album later this year.

Nyashinski "Bebi Bebi"

Arguably Kenya's most popular solo artist at the moment, Nyashinski has been dominating the charts since his return to the music industry in 2016. The comeback king's latest single "Bebi Bebi" is a feel-good afropop tune that tells the story of a struggling young man in love. With its infectious melodies and lyrics, it's not surprising that the song is already the biggest in the region.

Radio & Weasel ft Spice Diana "Kyuma"

Before his unexpected death, one of Mowzey Radio's last collaborations alongside Weasel was "Kyuma," which also features one of Uganda's fastest rising songbirds Spice Diana. Earlier this month a music video for the song was released in his honor, and despite the difficult circumstances, the trio's chemistry on the screen is still enjoyable to watch. Spice Diana's sweet vocals blend beautifully with Radio and Weasel's signature style giving the song an undeniably catchy quality.

Mbosso "Nimekuzoea"

Mbosso is the newest member of Diamond Platnumz's star-studded WCB Wasafi Label. His second single under the record label "Nimekuzoea" is a lovely rendition of the traditional bongo flava style that is supremely popular in Tanzania. Mbosso was already known as a member of the famous Yamoto band which split due to irreconcilable differences in 2017 but it looks like he's found a new place to shine.

Ras Nebyu "Don't Forget" feat. Haile Supreme & Corbin Butler

Ethiopian-American rapper Ras Nebyu along with Haile Supreme and Corbin Butler, are known as The Washington Slizzards, a creative collective of artists coming out of the DC rap scene. They got together for a bass-heavy new rap tune "Don't Forget," a song about remembering all the good and bad things you have endured in life with as little regret as possible. What a jam!

Sauti Sol "Afrikan Star" feet. Burna Boy

East Africa's top music group Sauti Sol got us warmed up on Valentine's Day with their latest self-produced single "Afrikan Star" which features Nigerian hitmaker Burna Boy. The boys stay true to their original style with this guitar-driven love ballad which serves as another celebratory track for the black woman. You would think having two big names like this on a track would be overwhelming but the two powerhouses actually go well together. Nevertheless, it's really great to see the boys owning their sound and doing what they do best, wooing the ladies.

Charly na Nina "Try Me"

Before parting ways with their longtime manager Rwanda's top female music duo Charly na Nina served us one of the hottest singles of the month, "Try Me." The duo is one of East Africa's fastest rising acts and with them now taking management into their own hands we hope they can keep up the momentum they've been building up.

Dashie ft. Ruby "Mputa"

Tanzanian sensations Dashie and Ruby teamed up for an up-tempo bongo flava banger "Mputa". The duo's lively vocal delivery coupled with its fast-paced organic instrumentation makes this song really easy to love.

Muthoni Drummer Queen "Lover"

"Lover" is the latest single off Muthoni Drummer Queen's forthcoming SHE album, a concept record which aims to answer the question of what it's like to be a woman in modern Kenya. Each song on the Kenyan artist's upcoming album will take the view-point of a different female character. The energetic and buoyant track tells the story of a proud and unapologetic transgender woman who is "having the sex of her life" as she experiences the beauty and power of womanhood.

Mikal Yosief "Kemey Aleki" (Cover)

Mikal Yosief, a budding Eritrean singer covers "Kemey Aleki" a song by one of Eritrea's musical legends, Yemane Barya. The singer provides her own tasteful and laid-back rendition of the classic record.

Octopizzo "Past" feat. Nitasha Randhawa

"Past" is the latest single off Octopizzo's forthcoming album which is due in April. The Kenyan rap star goes in a different direction this time around experimenting with a more pop-tinged acid jazz production. Canadian singer Nitasha Randhawa contributes her sultry vocals as Octo spits in Swahili and sheng with his signature flow intact.

News Brief

The Trailer for Faraday Okoro's Tribeca Film 'Nigerian Prince' Is Here

The film is due to hit U.S. theaters October 19.

The trailer for Nigerian filmmaker Faraday Okoro's debut feature Nigerian Prince is here, Shadow and Act reports.

We're a month away from the film landing in U.S. theaters and On-Demand since the film got acquired by Vertical Entertainment.

Revisit the synopsis below.

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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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