Events

Come Through Pierre Kwenders' 'MAKANDA' Album Release Party at Okay Space!

Congolese artist Pierre Kwenders is releasing his new album MAKANDA—and we're hosting a special album launch party at Okay Space this Friday.

Montreal-based Congolese artist Pierre Kwenders is readying the release of his sophomore album MAKANDA—and we've got a special album launch event planned for it at Okay Space this coming Friday.

Join us as Kwenders will be performing and showcasing tracks from his new album at our gallery space in Brooklyn.

MAKANDA carries the heritage of a modern Africa in which Congolese Rumba is at the forefront. The album, recorded in Seattle, was produced by Tendai Baba Maraire, one-half of the Seattle-based hip hop duo Shabazz Palaces.

Pierre Kwenders’ musical depth is present throughout the 11 tracks, which interweave new wave world music, rumba trap and indie afro. He sings and raps in four languages (lingala, french, english, shona), allowing him aesthetic and lyrical options most artists do not have. These four languages are the album’s cornerstones.

RSVP for Pierre Kwenders' MAKANDA album release party

This album puts Pierre Kwenders at the forefront of the Montreal’s afrocentric music scene. "I wanted to reflect a certain sensuality in my lyrics and my singing. There are a lot of love-related songs in this album. I wanted to dedicate it to women, especially," the artist explains. This ode to love is certainly present on the voluptuous song "Sexus Plexus Nexus," while on "Zonga" he remembers a childhood sweetheart and on "Rendezvous" he sings about taking his dream woman to Paris. The women in Pierre Kwenders’ life give him strength, hence the title Makanda (which means ‘strength’ in Tshiluba).

Pierre collaborated with many talented Seattle-based artists, including SassyBlack, Tanyaradzwa and Hussein Kalonji (a member of Chimurenga Renaissance) who played most of the guitar riffs on the album. He also collaborated with rapper Ish, AKA Ishmael Butler, the second-half of Shabazz Palaces. He is a Grammy-Award winner and former member of legendary group Digable Planets.

With MAKANDA, Pierre reinvents himself, moving away from the up-tempo beat of his debut album Le Dernier Empereur Bantou (2014). He drew inspiration from Congolese rumba legends, wanting to explore new sounds and push the boundaries of his own art.

Listen to the singles "La La Love" and "Tuba Tuba." Plus, watch the music video for "Sexus Plexus Nexus" above.

RSVP for the party is open now here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, Kofi Annan, Has Died

The celebrated Ghanaian humanitarian and the first black African to serve as head of the UN, passed away on Saturday at the age of 80.

Kofi Annan, the seventh UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away on Saturday morning following a brief illness. "His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during the last days," read a family statement. He was 80.

Annan was the first black African to serve as head of the United Nations, holding the prestigious position from 1997 to 2006. He was lauded for his global humanitarian work, eventually earning Annan and the UN a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for "their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."

Annan was head of the UN during the onslaught of the Iraq War, proving to be one of the most challenging global events to occur under his time as Secretary General and one of the most divisive of the early 21st century. "I think the worst moment of course was the Iraq war, which as an organization we couldn't stop—and I really did everything I can to try to see if we can stop it," he said in 2006.

Annan was also the founder of the Kofi Annan foundation and chairman of The Elders, an international humanitarian organization of global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela.

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Janet Jackson Returns With Afrobeats-Inspired Song & Video 'Made For Now' Featuring Daddy Yankee

The icon's latest is a nod to the sound, fashion and culture of the diaspora.

Ms. Jackson is back.

The iconic artist returns with her first single since the release of her 2015 album Unbreakable, and it's a timely nod to the "made for now" influence of afrobeats fashion, sound and culture.

On "Made For Now," which features Puerto Rican reggaeton titan Daddy Yankee, Janet Jackson does what she's done successfully so many times throughout her decades-long career: provide an infectious, party-worthy tune that's fun and undeniably easy to dance to. "If you're living for the moment, don't stop," Jackson sings atop production which fuses dancehall, reggaeton and afrobeats.

The New York-shot music video is just as lively, filled with eye-catching diasporic influences, from the wax-print ensembles and beads both Janet and her dancers wear to the choreographed afrobeats-tinged dance numbers, which see the dancers hitting the Shoki at one point in the video. The train of dancers travel throughout the streets of Brooklyn, taking over apartment buildings and rooftops with spirited moves.

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Audio

You Need to Hear Juls' New Single 'Saa Ara'


New hip-hop and highlife grooves from the celebrated UK-based Ghanaian producer.

By merging the diverse influence of growing up in Accra and East London, Juls has managed to cultivate a hybrid afrobeats style that has set him apart from the rest.

For his latest single, "Saa Ara," he teams up with award-winning rapper Kwesi Arthur and gifted lyricist Akan.

The brilliant fusion of vintage highlife instrumentals and booming hip-hop beats, along with Kwesi Arthur's lively chorus and Akan's fiery delivery gives the song a very spiritual and classical feel.

Soothe your soul this weekend with these tasteful sounds from Juls.

Listen to "Saa Ara" by Juls featuring Kwesi Arthur and Akan below.

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