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AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #26: BEN ASSITER [JAMES BLAKE'S DRUMMER]

Download a meditative, all-vinyl Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape from James Blake's drummer, Ben Assiter.


When he's not touring as James Blake's drummer, percussionist/DJ Ben Assister can be found playing with London outfits Ruby and The Vines and Fur. Assiter developed an interest in African music through friends, which was cemented by a musical pilmigrage to Senegal and Mali. He tells us, "As a musician, and particularly as a drummer, I find it difficult not to be inspired by the wealth of different music that has come out of the African continent."

In Africa In Your Earbuds #26, Ben Assiter compiles a meditative, all-vinyl mix. The mixtape features a premiere of "Biannual Coffee Cups" by his group Fur, as well as tunes by Ruby and The Vines, Thomas Mapfumo, The Wings, and Owiny Sigoma Band. There's also a batch of tracks from around the globe:

I’ve included tracks from other parts of the world that demonstrate different forms of engagement with Africa. Technology has clearly had a big part in facilitating such cultural interactions... , and although I’ve been lucky enough to travel in Africa, the internet has definitely played a massive role in my African musical education. For me, several of the tracks have origins particularly close to home. There’s a small but lively African music scene in London, be it involving African artists who have relocated here, or local musicians who have been influenced by various African forms. I’ve picked a few tracks to play here which I feel have African inspirations below the surface somehow.

Londoners can catch James Blake's drummer, Ben Assiter, spinning at 1-800-Dinosaur, a new biweekly night at the sonic mecca Plastic People. Stream/download AIYE #26: Ben Assiter below. Hats-off to Underdog for the cover artwork.

TRACKLIST

Jarabi – Toumani Diabate [MALI]

Sanu Maakaan – Guelewar [GAMBIA]

Xale - Mark Ernestus presents Jeri-Jeri with Mbene Diatta Seck [SENEGAL/GERMANY]

Little Big Or Small - United Vibrations [UK]

Gone With The Sun – The Wings [NIGERIA]

Red Storm – Ruby And The Vines [UK]

Paulina (Pt. 1) – Orchestra Les Wanyika [KENYA/TANZANIA]

Biannual Coffee Cups – FUR [UK]

Butsu Mutandarika – Thomas Mapfumo [ZIMBABWE]

Odera Lwar – Owiny Sigoma Band [UK/KENYA]

Let Me Love You – Bunny Mack [SIERRA LEONE]

Stay Up Zimbabwe – Brother Valentino [TRINIDAD & TOBAGO]

Last Chance Dub (Joe Ariwa feat. Annie Brown) – Val Veneto [ARGENTINA/UK]

Previously on Africa In Your Earbuds: JAKOBSNAKE, CHRISTIAN TIGER SCHOOLSAUL WILLIAMSTUNE-YARDSMATHIEU SCHREYERBLK JKSALEC LOMAMIDJ MOMAAWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICAPETITE NOIROLUGBENGA, RICH MEDINA, VOICES OF BLACK, LAMIN FOFANA, CHICO MANNDJ UNDERDOGDJ OBAHSABINEBROTHA ONACIDJ AQBTJUST A BANDSTIMULUSQOOL DJ MARVSINKANECHIEF BOIMA.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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