News Brief

Listen to Oddisee's Hypnotizing Remix of Alsarah & The Nubatones

First Listen: Stream our premiere of Sudanese MC/producer Oddisee's funky and hypnotizing remix of "3yan T3ban."

Alsarah & The Nubatones are readying the release of Manara Remixed.

The new album, which is due September 22 on Wonderwheel Records, will revisit songs from the band's excellent East African retro pop LP, Manara, through new remixes from Sufyvn, Captain Planet, DJ Khalab, Nickodemus, iZem, and more.

Today we're premiering one of our favorite tracks off Manara Remixed, Sudanese MC/producer Oddisee's funky and hypnotizing reinterpretation of "3yan T3ban."

Alsarah tells us about the background of "3yan T3ban" and its roots—which stem from the Blue Nile region of North Sudan to a refugee camp in South Sudan —below.

"I learned this song a few years ago when I went to visit the Yousif Batil Refugee Camp in Maban, South Sudan," Alsarah writes in an e-mail to OkayAfrica. "I was there working with filmmaker Hajooj Kuka on a documentary about war, music and identity in Sudan called Beats of the Antonov. When I arrived to the camp I found a thriving music culture with multiple music parties and gatherings taking place every night, ALL through the night."

Alsarah. Image courtesy of the artist.

"I learned so much about what it means to thrive, instead of just survive, even in the face of the most violent of obstacles that threaten to eradicate your entire life and way of being. Music was how people there chose to document their lives, struggles and stories. Amongst those stories were also love stories. People fell in love and sang of it. This song is written by Muna and her friends, aged 12 to 16 years old. Muna was the leader of the pack being the eldest and the one who could both drum and sing. They wrote collectively though. I wanted to do a remake of this song as an homage to them and all they gave me."

"For this remix I was very excited to work with producer, rapper and all around hip-hop artist, Oddisee. I've had the honor of working with him in the past leading up to the last elections in Sudan a few years ago. He's a friend, but more importantly he's an insanely gifted producer. I couldn't imagine anyone better to remix The Nubatones' reimagining of this song. I wish I could go back and share it with them but this has not been possible due to the explosive situation in South Sudan. I could not cross into the region anymore. The lyrics are very simple and roughly translate to:

Sick and tired, they drove me in the nissan truck, Oh this love

the lorry truck bumped me around, Oh this love

the one who took the sleep from my eyes, Oh this love

the lorry truck bumped me around, yes oh yes

the one who took the sleep from my eyes, Oh this love

Sick and tired, they drove me in the nissan truck, Oh this love

Sick and I will not get better, Oh this love

Even if they bring me a doctor, Oh this love

Sick and I will not get better, yes oh yes

Even if they bring me a doctor, Oh this love

"To find out more about Muna and her friends, I highly encourage you to watch the documentary. You can also listen to a sample of the field recordings I gathered here to get an idea of the wealth of sound the people of the camp so generously shared with me."

Stream our premiere of "3yan T3ban (Oddisee Remix)" above and pre-order Manara Remixed here.

For more on Alsarah read 10 Things She Loves About Sudan and check out our feature on 4 Artists From The New School of Sudanese Music, which Alsarah and Oddisee are both profiled in.

Muna and friends. Image courtesy of Alsarah.

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Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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