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Chadian Producer Afrotronix Wants to Redefine Afrobeat In His New Album

On his latest release Nomadix, the forward-thinking producer Afrotronix flaunts the different production styles he's acquired over the years.

DIASPORA—On his latest release Nomadix, the forward-thinking producer Afrotronix flaunts the different production styles he's acquired over the years. The Chadian-born, Montreal-based artist has a lot of influences that bleed through on his new album.


“This album is a good reflection of who I am,” says Afrotronix in an e-mail to OkayAfrica. “I sing in Sara, the language from my country Chad. I mix mandingo music from west Africa with Tuareg blues from the Sahara and present it in an electronic futurist package.”

Dubstep, house, reggae and EDM, are fused with Mbalakh rumba and sai on Nomadix, making the album a virtual journey around some parts of the world.

“I want to redefine the meaning of Afrobeat. I want to present a new Africa,” says the artist. All nine tracks on the album are different from each other. The vocals, which are sometimes digitally enhanced with effects on some songs, make it uniquely Chadian. You also won’t get enough of those guitar solos that are prevalent throughout the album. 🔥

Listen to Nomadix below and revisit our 2016 interview with Afrotronix here.

 

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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