Africa In Your Earbuds


Download an Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape from tUnE-yArDs (aka Merrill Garbus) composed primarily of vintage finds from East Africa.

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)


Photo: Sipho the Gift.

Watch Sipho the Gift's New Music Video for 'Hold Up'

The talented South African MC drops a vibrant visual for his latest single.

Sipho the Gift is the budding South African rapper who is known for his bold and thought-provoking lyricism.

He just released the music video for "Hold Up," his groovy new single.

"It's a song about young love and I wanted that to translate through to the visuals by telling a love story," he tells us.

Shot in Cape Town by Jasyn Howes with the help of VideoCartel, this video captures the subtle joys of youth and romance.

Check out Sipho the Gift's new music video for "Hold Up" below.

You can also watch the music video in full over at iTunes.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief

A Film Based on a Novel by Acclaimed Kenyan Author Ngugi wa Thiong'o Is In the Works

Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan is developing Ngugi's novel "Matigari" with Kenyan and South African filmmakers.

A novel by Kenya's own Ngugi wa Thiong'o is being adapted to a film, Brittle Paper reports.

Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan shared at the Africa Movie Academy Awards that Ngugi's 1987 work, Matigari, is in development with Kenyan and South African filmmakers, who have yet to be revealed.

Keep reading... Show less

Listen to Wizkid's Catchy New Track 'Gucci Snake' Featuring Slimcase

The highly anticipated track is finally here.

Wizkid has had a huge year, dropping a number of singles and unforgettable features, but he's not done yet.

Today, the Nigerian megastar has dropped the much-talked about single "Gucci Snake" featuring fellow Naija artist Slimcase. Wizkid had been teasing the highly-anticipated song throughout the year and it's finally here for fans to enjoy.

"Gucci Snake," is a catchy jam that sees Wizkid bragging over upbeat production. It's a departure from the mid-tempo vibes of many of his more recent singles like "Fever" and "Master Groove," which he released last month. This one is sure to be on rotation at all the parties as the holidays approach.

Early this month, the artist appeared on two tracks from star producer Metro Boomin's latest album, and according to the producer, we can expect more music from the two of them in the near future, which means we have even more Starboy to look forward to.

For now, listen to "Gucci Snake" below.

Wizkid – Gucci Snake Ft. Slimcase

get okayafrica in your inbox