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AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #40: DESMOND & THE TUTUS

Download a new African music mixtape from Pretoria based indie rock group Desmond & The Tutus.


Pretoria-based Desmond & The Tutus play infectious, guitar-flanked indie pop/rock injected with the kind of carefree humor apparent in their name. For this installment of Africa In Your Earbuds, lead singer Shane Durrant crafted a chronological, three-part mix to soundtrack a transition from youth to adulthood in Pretoria. He told us,

We grew up in suburban Pretoria, attended public school in a mixed area. So naturally the music we grew up on wasn't always what was playing on MTV. I was a big fan of early 90s kwaito and hip-hop, when I left school I started discovering that South Africa has an amazing wealth of great pop music. In my early twenties I got in touch with my honky roots and started learning about rock music, and when we formed the band around 2005 I was drawing on a pretty weird collection of music for inspiration.

The mixtape goes through three sections: School Daze on the golden age of kwaito and the mid 90s, Education on SA pop and 80s discoveries, and Now on current alternative music coming out of South Africa.

Grab AIYE #40: Desmond & The Tutus below! Big up to Underdog for the amazing cover artwork. For more, check out our exclusive interview with Desmond & The Tutus.

TRACKLIST

SCHOOL DAZE

Alaska - Accuse

Makendlas - Iminwe

Trompies - Magasman

Mashamplani - Is Fokol Is Niks

Boom Shaka - Thobela

EDUCATION

Chicco - We Can Dance

Thomas Chauke - Baji

Harari - Give

Yvonne Chaka Chaka - Thank You Mr DJ

Mahlatini & the Mahotella Queens - Kazet

NOW

Beatenberg - die for you

Rambling Bones - baby shoes

Yo Grapes - it's nice outside

Thomas Krane - build us a tower

Shortstraw - underfed

Like African music? Previously on Africa In Your Earbuds: MATHIEU SCHREYER IIYOUNG FATHERSBBRAVE OF AKWAABAOLD MONEYDJ NEPTUNESAHEL SOUNDSBEATENBERGM1 [DEAD PREZ]BODDHI SATVAL’AFRIQUE SOM SYSTEMENOMADIC WAXTHE BROTHER MOVES ONLVBEN ASSITER [JAMES BLAKE'S DRUMMER]JAKOBSNAKECHRISTIAN TIGER SCHOOLSAUL WILLIAMSTUNE-YARDSMATHIEU SCHREYERBLK JKSALEC LOMAMIDJ MOMAAWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICAPETITE NOIROLUGBENGARICH MEDINA, VOICES OF BLACK, LAMIN FOFANA, CHICO MANNDJ UNDERDOGDJ OBAHSABINEBROTHA ONACIDJ AQBTJUST A BANDSTIMULUSQOOL DJ MARVSINKANECHIEF BOIMA

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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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