News

Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew: Declaration of Boldness (via Revivalist)


Today our sister channel, jazz-inspired Revivalist, goes in-depth with our favorite Sierra Leonean pop stars, Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew - excerpt below:

Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew, a ferocious trio from Sierra Leone, who’s lyrics pack a political punch–and who’s energetic performances have involved acrobatics and other physically impressive maneuvers of that caliber–have brought their message to the U.S. in a most surprising way. Growing up during the 11 year conflict, and being eye-witnesses to the mass violence that was inflicted upon their homeland, Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew members, Bajah, Dovy Dovy, and A-Klazz still have an air of love and gratitude that they exude in their everyday lives and certainly in their music, despite living in conflict for over a decade. The Revivalist spent an afternoon at Photo Rob’s studio for a fun shoot with the guys as we picked their brains about bearing witness to war, the initial culture shock of moving to the United States, and how their music has affected change in their communities where they are hometown superstars.

Check out the full interview with the dynamic trio HERE, and also see the rest of Photo Rob's awesome flicks!

 

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.