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(Photo Courtesy of Awesome Tapes From Africa)

Antoinette Konan, Vanguard of Ivorian Music, Gets a Comeback

The singer and percussionist is getting a reissue via Awesome Tapes from Africa.

Prepare your ears and ready the dance floor for the return of the "Queen of the Ahoko." Awesome Tapes from Africa (ATFA) is reissuing the queen Antoinette Konan's eponymous 1986 album in the coming weeks. For music aficionados, crate diggers and those new to Konan's music alike—this is excellent news.


This album burst across the international scene in the late '80s as what the label calls "a veritable UFO of instrumental force and contemporary pop sensibility landing in a boiling pot of diverse, creative characters inhabiting Abidjan, Ivory Coast." Perhaps this is why Brian Shimkovitz of ATFA says Konan's album is "highly original and powerful music that I've been obsessed with for a long time." Shimkovitz claims that Konan approached traditional and regional folk music of the Baoule in a way that brought it into a modern, synthesized and electronic world. She has a way of taking something well-established and making it exciting.

You can hear this all over the album. For instance, one of the star players in Konan's music is the ahoko, a wooden percussion instrument that looks simple with only three pieces (see album art). When Konan pairs it with a bit of psychedelic bass and a hypnotic melody, however, the instrument grows to sizes it never knew before. The other star player in her music is her voice—so bold and crystal clear that it makes any listener lean in. And audiences have been leaning in for decades. Konan is essentially a household name in Ivory Coast, but her prowess and mark on African music has yet to reach new international generations in the way it did when Antoinette Konan was first released.

Shimkovitz hopes to change that with this reissue and digital release. As he tells OkayAfrica:

"Most people in America don't know about the music scene and crucial history of Ivorian music, it's so important and influential across Africa and beyond. I hope this reissue introduces some more people to how much different music is happening in Abidjan and Ivory Coast, it's overwhelmingly vast. This is just one example of how indigenous music mixes with more club-oriented sounds there and if you look around there are enormous numbers of singers, producers, djs and dancers doing insanely creative stuff in Ivory Coast."

The reissue of Antoinette Konan will be released on November 15. You can preorder the album here.

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Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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