tUnE-yArDs‘ experimental creations have always carried, in structure or spirit, an aspect of the diaspora. Endless drum loops, stacks-on-stacks of vocals and ukelele, plus vast live improvisation gained the New England brainchild of Merrill Garbus comparisons to afrobeat and afropop — but tUnE-yArDs’ tracks live in a much different space, incorporating aspects of R&B, lo-fi aesthetics and pop melodies to those African sounds.

For Africa In Your Earbuds #22, Merrill put together a mix composed primarily of vintage finds from East Africa — ranging from Ethiopia’s Lema Gebrehiwot, Somali group Dur Dur and Tanzania’s Mlimani Park Orchestra — with a touch of modern Naija pop and DRC ndombolo from 9ice and Koffi Olomide. We asked Merrill to explain her mix:

No doubt, I have a limited knowledge of African music, because, well, that’s an entire continent and thousands of years of music, and a girl from Connecticut only has so many hours in a day. So for this mix I delved into my old favorites, artists who have influenced what I do now, as well as some things I’ve been introduced to fairly recently.

First: thanks to Matt from Domino Sound in New Orleans, who has been traveling to Ethiopia himself to release music from there. He just came back with several new vinyl records of not-new (70s) Ethiopian music that you’ve most likely never heard before. You can only get them if you give the guy a call and have him send them to you, or go there yourself! It’s worth a trip to NOLA, I tell you. Second: my knowledge of African music has been jump started by DJ Fitz, our tour manager in Europe and one of the creators of DOODcast (subscribe for freeon iTunes and you’ll hear what all the hubbub is about.) Fitz introduced me to Dur Dur, a grooving ’80’s band from Somalia. We play this jam before most of our tUnE-yArDs shows and the ending really gets me jazzed.

Music from Tanzania, whether the traditional Wagogo music of The Zawose Family or the Muziki wa dansi (dance music) tunes of the 80s, has really been an inspiration to me. As has Johnny Clegg and Savuka, one of the first mixed-race bands out of South Africa. I grew up on this “Moliva” track. And then a couple dance tunes that I can’t stop listening to, one from a few years ago out of Nigeria by 9Ice. NICE! And then an ndombolo track from Koffi Olomide, which was what everybody was listening to when I was in Kenya in 2000.

Download AIYE #22: tUnE-yArDs below! Shout out Underdog for the cover artwork!

Lema GebreHiwot “Wondemiye (Wedding Song)” ft. Selamawit Gebre Selassie, and Zenebech Tesfaye (Ethiopia)
Dur Dur “Goromphmca: (Somalia)
Hukwe Zawose “Safiri na Muziki” (Tanzania)
Mlimani Park Orchestra “Tangazia Mataifa Yote” (Tanzania)
Johnny Clegg and Savuka “Moliva” (South Africa)
9Ice “Gongo Aso” (Nigeria)
Koffi Olomide “Loi” (DR Congo)



13 Replies to "AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #22: tUnE-yArDs"
Kene D. says:
July 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Really love these Africa in your Ear-buds mix-tapes. I heard another one earlier this month, now this. Great work. They bring me such nostalgic feelings of where I’m from. Despite all the nonsense on twitter, I can truly say i’m glad a created an account and followed the people i did. Without that i wouldn’t have found this links. Now i’m even curious about Dur Dur. The search begins.

Thank you for the music.

    Swank says:
    July 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you for the comment! It reminds us why we do this!

July 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm

there is no surprise at how awesome this is. Tuneyards please keep kicking ass and letting hear more AFRICAN JAMS! Always down for so much more world music, and now I can finally hear some of those crazy traditional percussion instruments the artists have from this mixtape! One of the tracks reminds me of some of the alien music from star wars, the one with the synthy bagpipe sounds specifically.

Ryan says:
July 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

Awesome!! I don’t know a lot about African music, but am very interested in it, and this seems to be a great place to start! Really enjoying this, can’t wait to listen to more.

  • Pingback: Merrill Garbus Puts Africa In Your Earbuds « Tragic Farce

  • Pingback: Africa in your earbuds #22 « jusi i love ✌

  • Pingback: Mix: tUnE-yArDs – Africa In Your Earbuds « COOL BREEZY

  • Brett Thornton says:
    September 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    I love the first “Wedding” song, especially the beautiful voice of the singers, and the hand clapping. Does anyone know any artist that make songs like these I can search? I can’t find anything when I search Selamawit Gebre Selassie, and Zenebech Tesfay…

  • Pingback: AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #22: tUnE-yArDs | One Fat Diva

  • sdk says:
    October 31, 2012 at 2:06 am

    one of my fav mixes of 2012 — thanks for this :-)

  • Pingback: sellingaide.com » Africa In Your Earbuds: Kool A.D. – ‘CHANGOHOLICS’ [Mixtape Download]

  • Pingback: The Influence: Legends’ Thoughts On Fela Kuti | MyZeen Social Infomatics,Africas Leading Social Network and TagboardMyZeen Social Infomatics,Africas Leading Social Network and Tagboard

  • Pingback: Tune-Yards – FIYA

  • Post Your Comment
    We will never send yoiu spam or publish or share your email information.