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Introducing Swedish-Kenyan Singer Beldina Malaika

Singer Beldina Malaika is an exciting talent from Kenya via Sweden. Watch her attention-grabbing new video 'What Can I Say' and her covers of Rihanna and Robyn


If you keep an eye on hot young designers, you may recognize Beldina Malaika as one of the many beautiful Gold Coast Trading models. Although her good looks and legs for days give her great model credentials, Beldina is actually a singer with a supple soprano and an ear for pop. About a year ago she created five 'Coverstories', her reinterpretations of much-loved pop tracks by Robyn, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and Adele. Her mash up of Rihanna's 'We Found Love' with that infectious Dauwd track 'Ikopol' fixed Beldina as one to watch. In 2011 she released her debut EP Best Kept Secret (2011), laid her deftly autotuned vocals over a glitchy track for the single 'Here We Go', and featured on Childish Gambino's track 'Not Going Back'.

She spent the last year on the grind in the studio in LA, and a few days ago released some of the fruits of her labour. 'What Can I Say' is the first single off her debut album, which is set to drop sometime this year. Complaints that the video for her last single 'wasn't sexy or flirtatious enough' (which she addressed on her blog) will find no ground here: the video opens with Beldina on a highway in her thong and bra. She's clearly back and in fine form. Although the track doesn't showcase her vocals as well as some of her earlier music, 'What Can I Say' promises pop hits in the works.

Here's the video + one of those brilliant 'Coverstories' + the first single 'Here We Go'. Follow her on twitter for updates:

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Beldina x Rihanna's 'We Found Love' x Dauwd's 'Ikopol'

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Beldina 'Here We Go'

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Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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