News Brief

Burundi Bans Women Drummers, Loses the Beat

What the hell, Burundi? Women can't be stopped from drumming so don't even try.

The Burundian government, under the leadership of President Pierre Nkurunziza, has put into place strict laws prohibiting women from taking part in the country's celebrated ritual dance of the royal drums.

The new restrictions also forbid drumming at "unofficial events" including weddings and parties. While woman are outright banned from the practice, men who want to engage, must first register with the Ministry of Culture and gain government approval if they seek to perform the ritual outside of official ceremonies, reports Times Live.

The presidential decree states that any organizer looking to have drummers at their event, must pay a fee of around $280.

The lauded dance of royal drums was placed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2014. Prior to the government establishing restrictions on the practice, drums were widely performed at weddings. Though historically male-dominated, groups consisting of woman drummers have formed over the years.

Many have criticized the increasingly authoritarian government for its wanton and discriminatory actions against woman drummers and its obvious attempt to profit off of the sacred drumming tradition, which is, in fact, the opposite of actually protecting its cultural value.

OKA TV

Amaarae Breaks Down Her Hits In OkayAfrica's New Video Series 'Decoded'

In Decoded, our favorite African artists dive deep into their music, lyrics and share notable behind-the-scenes moments.

We're launching Decoded, our brand new pop-up style video series featuring the latest, buzzing African artists' music and influences.

We kick things off with Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter-producer Amaarae who has been making waves with the release of her debut album, The Angel You Don't Know.

In our first-ever Decoded episode, Amaarae breaks down hit songs like "Trust Fund Baby", "Jumping Ship" with Kojey Radical as well as her Southern rap musical influences. She also mentions being inspired by an op-ed that she penned for OkayAfrica in 2019, and her mother's role in helping her coin the album title The Angel You Don't Know.

When all is said and done, Amaarae just wants to give other young women "an option not to have to be the archetypal female African artist, and give them an opportunity to expand all of their possibilities, explore all the different genres, and still be successful and get this money." Amen to that!

Check out our first episode of Decoded with Amaarae below.

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