Audio

AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #41: JON THEODORE

Download an gem African music mixtape from Jon Theodore, former drummer of The Mars Volta/Queens of the Stone Age and others.


Jon Theodore is an all-around drumming virtuoso whom most might know from his days in The Mars Volta — during which he played an integral part in creating what's widely-held to be their best LPs De-Loused in the Comatorium and Frances the Mute. Since (and before) then Theodore's held down the rhythm section for such notable acts as Queens of the Stone AgeOne Day as a Lion with Zack De La Rocha, Trans Am, HiM, and many others.

For this installment of Africa In Your Earbuds Jon Theodore rounds up a batch of dynamic vintage gems from the corners of Guinée, Congo and Kenya by the likes Kalum StarSuper Boiro Band, Collela Mazee & Victoria B Kings and more. Theodore sent us this striking description of the allure that African music had on him:

Fela Kuti [of course, the first time I heard "Zombie" it blew my mind but I don't need to get into that because EVERYONE any of us knows has the same story (Tony Allen?!)], but also some great old Ghanaian highlife, the amazing discotheque compilations from Guinée, gems from Syliphone, Syllart, and the Sterns catalog, the Malian National and Regional Orchestras of the 60s and 70s, and the unbelievably stacked Rail Band, to name only a few — these records exposed me to a beautiful new language of music that was way off the grid and wholly free of the trappings of the contemporary standards.

The rhythms, grooves, melodies, and harmonies were remarkable, the sounds were raw and powerful, and it was fast, loose, and beautifully played. The recordings were uncluttered by over processing and allowed the vibe and soul of the players and their environments to shine through most prominently. The voice, mostly in unfamiliar tongues to me, became a lead instrument like a horn or guitar, carrying the wordless music right past my brain and straight into my heart and soul. This music was as fresh as anything I'd ever heard before and it continues to be a never ending source of inspiration. Every song in this mix changed my life.

For more from Jon Theodore keep an eye out for his upcoming release with Phil Manley's Life Coach. Stream and download AIYE #41: Jon Theodore below! Big thanks to Underdog for the cover artwork.

TRACKLIST

01: Lalaba- Kalum Star- Guinée

02: Azda- Franco & Le Tout Puissant OK Jazz- Congo

03- So I Si Sa- Super Boiro Band- Guinée

04- Philo- Collela Mazee & Victoria B kings- Kenya

05- Boro- Sorry Bamba & Regional Orchestra Of Mopti

06- Samba- Balla Et Ses Balladins- Guinée

07- Eyi Yato- Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey & his Inter-Reformers Band

Like African music? Previously on Africa In Your Earbuds: DESMOND & THE TUTUSMATHIEU 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

Interview
Image supplied by the artist.

Interview: Master KG Talks 'Jerusalema' and Taking Bolobedu House to the World

Prolific South African artist Master KG talks about the international success of 'Jerusalema' , his next music project and hints at an epic collaboration with a certain music heavyweight.

If you haven't heard about South African musician and DJ Master KG then you have definitely been living under a gigantic rock for the past few months. With the international success of his 2019 release "Jerusalema" featuring Nomcebo Zikode, whether you're in America or Europe, New Zealand or Africa, Master KG is an artist on everyone's playlists––and for good reason.

The 24-year-old Limpopo-born artist is behind the viral #JerusalemaDanceChallenge that has seen fans across the world participating not only for social media but even as "team building" exercises at their various workplaces. Admittedly, as the world continues to figure out what life alongside the COVID-19 pandemic looks like, Master KG's music has provided a much-needed moment of reprieve for so many people other than just South Africans.

Aside from "Jerusalema" however, Master KG has a number of hits within his extensive discography in the uniquely South African bolobedu house genre, a "mixture of Afro house instrumentals and bolobedu melodies usually sung with high-pitched autotune (a staple in the subgenre)". Tracks like "Skeleton Move", "Waya Waya" and "Di Boya Limpopo" have become almost anthemic for South Africans particularly during the festive season. For this, Master KG has received and been nominated for several awards including the MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act and Best Male Southern Africa at the African Muzik Magazine Awards (Afrimma). And while he was surprisingly snubbed at this year's South African Music Awards (SAMAs), it's quite evident that that was a huge mistake on their part and one they won't be making again.

We caught up with Master KG to talk about the international sensation that "Jerusalema" has become, some of the other major projects he's working on, repping hard for Limpopo and how he's hoping to take bolobedu house to the rest of the world.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Burna Boy Vocalizes Nigeria’s Grief In New Track '20:10:20'

The Nigerian star channels pain, frustration and disappointment in his latest release.