Africa In Your Earbuds

AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #19: ALEC LOMAMI

Download an Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape from Congolese producer/rapper Alec Lomami.


For years, Alec Lomami was a man in limbo. Born in Belgium and raised in Kinshasa, Lomami was visiting relatives in the US in 1998 when the outbreak of The Second Congo War forced him to stay and seek political asylum. “Because I wasn’t born in Congo, (Congo) didn’t want to take me in,” he tells AfriPOP! in an account of his ordeal. “And because I wasn’t a Belgian citizen, they didn’t want to take me in.” Thus began a near-decade of nomadic living which culminated with Lomami landing in a US immigration jail.

A "cultural bastard," as he dubs himself, Lomami broke into the scene with two tracks — "Kinshasa" and "Pop Revolution" — crafted from strings of his multifaceted identity and experience. French raps, electronic undertones and a drive towards African modernity all encompass Lomami's work and can be heard in his Africa In Your Earbuds installment, which he sent over from his current home in Harare.

Lomami's AIYE #19 escorts you through the crew of contemporary artists breaking barriers in modern African music including Chief Boima, Dirty Paraffin, Petite Noir, Seye, Baloji, The Very Best, Amadou & Mariam and many more. Not a DJ but an excellent curator, Lomami got his friend and previous Earbuds host Brotha Onaci to mix this batch of tunes.

Stream/download Africa In Your Earbuds #19: Alec Lomami [Mixed by Brotha Onaci] below. Lomami's upcoming Melancholie Joyeuse EP will be available for free June 30 on his bandcamp. In the meantime follow him on facebook, twitter and tumblr. Big up to Underdog for the mixtape cover!

TRACKLIST

1.DRC Music feat Bokatola System – Departure DRC

2. Amadou & Miriam - M'bifé blues – Mali

3. Mamou Sidibe – Bakoye – Mali

4. Petite Noir – Till we Ghost – DRC/SA

5. Chief Boima feat Sori Kondi – Without No Money No Family– Sierra Leone

6. Azekel – New-Ish – Nigeria/UK

7. Sam – Marijuana – DRC

8. Youssoupha feat Tabu Ley Rochereau – Les Disques de Mon Pere – DRC/FR

9. Well$ - XX – USA/DRC

10. Dirty Paraffin – Drip dry – SA

11. Alec Lomami Feat Well$ – Pop Revolution – DRC

12. Mr. OK Feat Larose – Yaya – Haiti

13. Rimer London Feat Cata Pirata – Love Dagger – SA/Netherland

14. Anbuley – Hesisinumo’ – Ghana/Austria

15. Seye – White Noise – Nigeria/UK

16. Davido – Dami Duro – Nigeria

17. Bana C4 – Ca Donga (part 2) – DRC

18. The Very Best feat Baloji – Super Mom – Malawi/DRC

19. Stromae – Alors on Danse – Rwanda/Belgium

Previously on Africa In Your Earbuds: DJ MOMA, AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICAPETITE NOIROLUGBENGA, RICH MEDINA, VOICES OF BLACK, LAMIN FOFANA, CHICO MANNDJ UNDERDOGDJ OBAHSABINEBROTHA ONACIDJ AQBTJUST A BANDSTIMULUSQOOL DJ MARVSINKANECHIEF BOIMA.

 

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A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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