Video

Bissau-Guinean Poet & Beatmaker Alexandre Francisco Diaphra's 'Blackbook Of The Beats' Short Film

Lisbon-based, Guinea-Bissau bred MC/poet/beatmaker Alexandre Francisco Diaphra shares the 'Blackbook of the Beats' short film.


Alexandre Francisco Diaphra is a Lisbon-based, Bissau-Guinean multimedia artist crafting tracks that blend off-kilter hip-hop beats, experimental jazz, and psychedelia with Portuguese spoken word and rapping. Following an award at the 1st International Poetry Slam in Rio de Janeiro and a European tour as part of Angolan-Portuguese project Batida's band, the MC/producer/poet is now releasing his own 15-song album Diaphra's Blackbook of the Beats. 

The full-length release is based on improvised beats and eclectic samples, featuring live instrumentation played by invited artists and Diaphra's own spoken and rapped poetry. Today, Diaphra is premiering an extensive 30-minute short film pairing to his Blackbook of the Beats album, soundtracked by the LP's compositions, which follows the artist as he gathers inspiration and makes beats across his global journeys — including stops in Lisbon and San Francisco. Diaphra's Blackbook of the Beats is available now on iTunes and will be released in digital, CD, limited vinyl and Deluxe “Moleskine” notebook edition, including both CD & DVD with all videos, by Mental Groove Records/Bazzerk. Watch the Blackbook of the Beats film below.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.