Arts + Culture

Bombino's Tuareg Guide to Touring the U.S.

Bombino brings us his guide to touring the U.S. as a Tuareg musician.

Our new City Guide series features our favorite artists dropping insider knowledge on the best spots to hit up in the places they know best. For our latest edition we took things on the road, enlisting the help of Niger's psychedelic nomad Bombino. Between recording earlier this year at Dan Auerbach's Nashville studio and becoming a step-inducing highlight of this summer's festival circuit, who better to ask for tips on navigating North America than the electric blues outlaw? Joined by bassist/manager Eric Herman (who also plays bass in Brooklyn's afro-gyspy-funk crew Mamarazzi), Bombino's Fender-wielding caravan drops its guide to touring the U.S. as a Tuareg musician.

Favorite Venue for Blues:

Bombino: Zombie Shop, Nashville

*Bombino at the Zombie Shop, Nashville. Photo by Diana Lee Zadlo.

Favorite Venue for Afrofunk:

Eric: Jackie O's, Athens, Ohio

Favorite set caught while on tour:

B: Gogol Bordello in Memphis.

E: Wood Brothers at Governor's Island.

Bluesiest City:

B: New Orleans.

E: New Orleans.

U.S. festival where the Festival au Désert spirit is most alive:

B: Globalquerque.

E: Burning Man.

Favorite North African dining experience:

B: A Tuareg restaurant in Montreal

Favorite Record Store:

B: Amoeba records, Berkeley, CA.

Best souvenir to take back to Niger:

B: A man gave me a beautiful silver bell yesterday. He said my music saved his life in the hospital and he wanted me to have it.

Favorite American Guitar to Play:

B: Cort and Fender guitars, for sure.

For more city guides read up on Alec Lomami's lowdown on Kinshasa and Christian Tiger School's favorite spots in Cape Town.

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Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.

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Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Beyoncé Wore These 2 African Designers in Her Music Video for 'Spirit'

Queen Bey continues to include and give a nod to African talent in her visuals.

As we draw even closer to Disney's The Lion King opening in theaters this week, Beyoncé continues to lead the way with her new music video for "Spirit"—the first single off of the film's album she produced and curated, The Lion King: The Gift.

Shot in the Havasu Falls in Arizona's Grand Canyon, Beyoncé and her legion of beautiful dancers are one with nature and its various elements as she beckons us to be brave and hear the calling of spirit. As we noted when she announced the album, the track opens with a call and response in Swahili that translates to "Long live the king": Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme—uishi kwa.

Keeping our eyes peeled for African influences in the music video, it's evident that is seen in the choreography. We even spotted our extended fam with the afrobeats moves—the AVO Boys: Stephen Ojo and Caleb Bonney—as two of her dancers in the video.

Beyoncé continues to also give a nod to African talent through the looks she donned in "Spirit" styled by her mainstay, Zerina Akers.

Take a look at the two African designers she wore in the video below.

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