Meet Afrotronix, the Chadian Producer Pushing Futuristic Rhythms

We talk to Afrotronix, the producer blending Chadian popular music with dubstep and deep house to create a potent club sound.

Take club beats, pair them with Central African rhythms, and you get the sound of Afrotronix.

The Chadian-born producer creates dance tracks influenced by a style of Chadian popular music called sai, which he blends with Mbalakh rumba (Mbalax), Tuareg blues, and elements of dubstep and deep house.

The result is a potent club sound that’s been gaining traction in his home base of Montreal and abroad—Afrotronix recently headlined the Afropunk Fest in Paris.

It’s also a sound that’s meant to reflect the multiculturalism found in Montreal and other modern-day metropolises.

Donning an all-white outfit and his signature helmet, which looks something like a highly-stylized combination between Alien and Sonic The Hedgehog, Afrotronix embodies the futuristic outlook of his productions.

Below, we talk to the Chadian producer about his project and his new music video for “Soudani.”

Who is Afrotronix?

I was born and raised in Chad. I moved to Montreal, Canada a few years ago and [have] now been traveling the world with my project, trying to use my music as a medium to carry a Pan-African message and showcase a different image of Africa.

We can and we must redefine the future of Africa and push the African music scene, aspire to a more futuristic view which is to me the idea of emancipation.

Most people only see Africa as a third world territory or think of African music only as world beat, tradition old music. It's time to show the world that we have a new generation of Africans who are here to show how dope our culture and music.

Simply, to show that Africa is part of the world and that the continent is a huge creative ground in all its diversity.

Let's talk about the helmet. How did that design come about?

It came from a mask we call Dôme in Sara (my language), it’s from an initiation called Ndo, boys wear it when they come out of the bush. So it’s something sacred.

I designed it myself with the help of a friend and consider it attractive headwear. It also allows me to the immerse myself in my music and keep my concentration when playing or mixing on stage.

What rhythms influence the Afrotronix sound?

I've always experimented with electronic music but at the same time, I was always looking for ways to incorporate my sound with tribal African sounds like Mandingo, Touareg blues and Chadian sai. I think that Afrotronix is a natural tribal mix of all these sounds.

The advantage with the digital sounds, is the fact that I can reinvent, explore endlessly, and experiment with new stuff. I'm very happy that I finally found the perfect way to mix my African influences with electronic music.

What inspired this new music video for “Soudani”?

The video portraits that idea of the perfect life that most Africans have when they think of America. They think once you come here everything becomes easy but unfortunately reality strikes and they find themselves caught-up in the vicious circle of debts, chaos and everything that comes with this fast life.

Is there a growing scene for African electronic music in Montreal?

I think that the African electronic music scene is still a little bit underground everywhere...Nigeria and Europe have a big music scene. America is catching on right now but for Montreal, it’s slowly getting there.

Still from YouTube.

'Entertainment Has Saved Nigeria'—Here's What Happened When Davido Spoke at Columbia University

The artist discussed his new album 'A Good Time' and changing perceptions of Africa through music with Melanin Unscripted founder Amarachi Nwosu.

A week ago, media platform and digital agency Melanin Unscripted along with Columbia University's African Students Association hosted none other than Nigerian megastar Davido for a talk entitled "Shaping the Image of Africa Through Music, which focused on the themes in his newly released sophomore album A Good Time as well as "the next frontier of afrobeats."

There was a feeling of pride and excitement as attendees—mostly African students from Columbia, gathered at Columbia University's campus in NYC. The night's two hosts quizzed the audience on Davido trivia, and ran through other Afrobeats-related questions to keep the audience entertained as we awaited the artist's arrival.

Once Davido finally came through—about an hour and a half later—the excitement still hadn't waned. Moderator, Amarachi Nwosu, the founder of Melanin Unscripted, asked the artist a range of questions that touched on the role of social media in helping spread African pop music, using his platform and influence to address social issues in his country—"music has saved Nigeria," the artist remarked—as well as the making of A Good Time. "I just got tired of Americans singing 'If' and 'Fall," the artist joked.

In line with the night's theme, the event was an overall "good time," complete with a fun conversation between Davido and Nwosu that highlighted the artist's humorous side and energetic personality. You can check out the 45-minute conversation in full below courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

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Watch Darkovibes & Runtown's New Video For 'Mike Tyson'

"Mike Tyson is a song for champions, pathfinders and trail blazers," Darkovibes' team says of the single and Accra-shot video.

A few months ago, Ghanaian artist and La Meme Gang member Darkovibes connected with Nigeria's Runtown for "Mike Tyson."

That addictive single now gets a new music video, directed by Zed, which follows both artists across Accra's High street and other city locations.

"Mike Tyson is a song for champions, pathfinders and trail blazers," a statement from Darkovibes' team reads. "It is for those who stand against popular opinions and make it. Runtown... touches on developmental issues in Nigeria. He also speaks on being bold in the face of institutional oppositions and signs out with a badman proclamation."

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From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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