Events

Angélique Kidjo Premieres Her Philip Glass Collaboration 'Ifé' With The San Francisco Symphony

Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo will perform the American premiere of her Philip Glass collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony.


Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo is set to make the American orchestral debut of Ifé: Three Yorùbá Songs, her collaboration with renowned composer Philip Glass on July 10 with the San Francisco Symphony. The piece, which is a tribute to the Yoruba kindgom, consists of three parts — "Oshumare," "Yemandja" and "Olodumare." "Ifé... is believed to be the place where the world was created," Kidjo explains. “The god Olodumare sent his Orishas Obatala and Oduduwa to the world in order to create the land, Yemandja ran away and joined the ocean. Oshumare, the rainbow snake, encircles the earth and prevents it from falling.”

Ifé: Three Yorùbá Songs will be arriving in San Francisco after its world premiere with the Philharmonie Luxembourg. “Together Angélique and I have built a bridge that no one has walked on before,” Glass proclaims. Watch an excerpt of Angelique performing "Olodumare" with the Luxembourg philharmonic as well as an interview with Glass discussing the collaboration underneath. Okayafrica is giving away two pairs of tickets (winners have been contacted) to the San Francisco concert, enter below for your chance to win.

>>>Buy Tickets To Angélique Kidjo Performing 'Ifé' with the San Francisco Symphony 

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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