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The 7 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring J.Derobie, Harmonize, Burna Boy, Shane Eagle x Nasty C and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.



Harmonize 'Afro East'

Harmonize recently dropped his latest offering, an 18-track album titled Afro East, which is the follow-up to his 2018 EP Afro Bongo. The album, which is the Tanzanian artist's first project since leaving Diamond Platnumz's record label, features Burna Boy, Phyno, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Falz, Skales and several others. Afro East is another of Harmonize's projects that showcases his ability to seamlessly fuse Afropop with Singeli and Bongo.

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J.Derobie 'Back It'

Ghana's J.Derobie turned heads last year when he arrived in a big way with his hit single "Poverty." The track, released through Mr Eazi's emPawa, was one of. our top picks for the Best Ghanaian Songs of 2019. J.Derobie is now returning with the brand new music video for his latest Uche B-produced dancehall banger, "Back It," which we're premiering here today. The new Accra-shot music video was directed by Babs Direction. "The idea was to create a song to show resiliency, to show courage, to show that you are not weak, and you can handle challenges that come your way," J.Derobie tells OkayAfrica. "To prove that yeah, you are a man."

Burna Boy 'Odogwu'

Burna Boy has released the music video for this first official single of 2020 "Odogwu." The new video, directed by TG Omori, follows Burna Boy and a crew through a number of striking scenes—from a supermarket to the waterside. As we've previously written, "The name of the rhythmic track ("Odogwu") refers to the title given to a victorious leader, particularly a man, who is believed to have accomplished great things in Igbo culture... the title seems fitting as Burna sings of his status and success atop pulsing percussion and strings by Nigerian beat-maker Kel P."

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Masterpiece 'Amanumber k'phela' feat. Vigro Deep

In "Amanumber K'phela," a new single by Vigro Deep and Masterpiece, the latter's vocals take inspiration from the late kwaito star Makhendlas' classic "Emenwe" released in 1998. Masterpiece appropriates the classic's hook and embellishes it with his own lines and a modern-day swagger. Vigro Deep adds reverb to most of the layers of his production, which gives the song an overall spacious feel—even the customary amapiano keys are drenched in reverb.

RAFIYA 'Po na yo'

Congolese singer RAFIYA rolls through with the new music video for "Po Na Yo," a song that explores the crazy things love can make us do. The track is built on Congolese guitar, an afrobeats-infused beat and lyrics sung in both French and Lingala. Get into it above.

Available now

Shane Eagle 'PARIS' ft. Nasty C

Shane Eagle enlisted the scrupulous eye of Imraan Christian. The Cape Town filmmaker and photographer has positioned himself as a conceptual storyteller who depicts black people (especially Coloured people) with the care they deserve, but are usually denied in most mainstream media. Shane Eagle has never been one to half-step when it comes to his music videos. He has constantly worked with like-minded director Armsdeal for his visuals which to expand on the stories he tells in his music. A great example is the audio visual project "YellowVerse."

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Maya Amolo 'I Know'

Upcoming R&B/Soul singer Maya Amolo has just dropped her latest track titled "I Know." While the New York-based Kenyan singer's first official release for this year, "I Know" is a track that showcases the artist's diverse vocal ability. The soft and raspy tones of Amolo's sound coupled with structured melodies, allows her to delve into the complexities of self-love and love for the other in a unique way. The track, as is the case with a lot of Amolo's music, dissects the duality of love as both beautiful and ugly, healing and hurtful.

Find out more

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.


Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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