Africa In Your Earbuds

AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #76: Teju Cole x Chief Boima

For our latest AIYE, Nigerian-American author Teju Cole and DJ Chief Boima showcase the West African & Caribbean sounds heard out in NYC.

For our latest Africa In Your Earbuds, Nigerian-American author Teju Cole continues where his 'One Night In Lasgidi' mixtape left off.


Instead of Lagos, Teju's new selections—which are expertly mixed here by Chief Boima—soundtrack one of his nights out in New York City. "For a Lagosian like myself," he explains in his accompanying original short text, "New York City is a continuation of Lagos." 

Get lost in Teju Cole and Chief Boima's AIYE #76 mix of Nigerian, West African, and Caribbean sounds below and read Teju's thoughts about the his nights out in NYC underneath. 

One Night in New York City

It’s a trick title, of course, since there’s no single “one night in New York City” that can stand in for them all. There are sixteen million nights in New York City every night. But it’s also true that “one night in New York City” might make people think of the downtown scene of the '70s, or CBGB, or The Factory.

They want you to think New York at night is white people doing white people things, the same way they fooled the world into thinking Sex and the City, Friends, and Seinfeld represented this place. Or, if black, then we are talking about African-American culture: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, jazz clubs in times gone by, and the glory days of hip-hop.

But we all live in a highly particularized “now.” I’m thinking now about something the novelist Aleksandar Hemon said, if he was the one who said it, if my memory is correct. He’d written something, in his brilliant and unconventional way, and an editor had said, “Actually we don’t say it that way.” Hemon had responded: “Well, now we do.”

What is one club night in New York City? Highly subjective. Mine are many and varied. But more and more, they’re neither white nor, in any simple way, black. What they are is Nigerian, and West African, and African. They are Caribbean, and African-American, and black diasporic, all mixed up together.

This playlist reflects one such night, crammed largely with recent Naija pop. In a strange sort of way, for a Lagosian like myself, New York City is a continuation of Lagos, and it’s only logical that my New York City playlist continues seamlessly where my Lagos playlist ended.

With each passing year, there are more and more spots in the city where this precise combination of sounds—Afrobeats, hip-hop, coupé decale, dancehall, ndombolo, and R&B—is the order of the night. Are you in Bed Stuy or Harlem or Victoria Island? It gets hard to tell. Just about everyone in the crowd has a flexible foot in some other world.

These, by the way, are the places where you meet the most insouciantly gifted dancers in town. If someone is tempted to say that maybe that’s not really classically New York City enough, I’d spin Hemon’s line and say: now it is.

Shout out to the brother Chief Boima for his mixological ear and his international heart.

Catch Chief Boima playing with Kondi Band at Transmusicales Festival in Rennes on November 30.

AIYE #76 cover artwork by DJ Underdog.

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.

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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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Music

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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