News Brief

Celebrated Malian Singer Kassé Mady Diabaté Has Passed

Kassé Mady Diabaté was Mali's "Golden Voice."

Kassé Mady Diabaté, one of Mali's most renowned musicians, has passed away. He was 69 years old.

Diabaté, whose career took of in the early 1970s as part of the band Super Mande, came from a distinguished family of griots—West African praise singers, storytellers—who were widely celebrated in Mali. The griot is there to weigh in as a peacekeeper in family conflicts," he said in a 2015 interview with Rhythm Passport. "It's someone you go to just for advice, say between a husband and wife, couples, between tribe and tribe, even country and country. So it's a real peacekeeping role. It's still like that and people still have that respect for griots."

He recorded his first solo album Fode in 1988 upon moving to Paris. According to Rhythm Passport, the singer was given his nickname, Kassé, from the Bambara word kassi, meaning to weep, because his rich voice was known to move people to tears.


He is known for his work with fellow Malian griots, as well as his international collaborations with artists from Cuba and Brazil. He collaborates with celebrated US blues musician Taj Mahal on his 2014 album, Kirike, which according to his website was listed as one of Barrack Obama's favorite albums of all time.

Folks have been sharing messages of condolences on social media, and remembering the artist for his contribution to Malian music.





Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.
Interview

Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.

From being a backing vocalist for some of Eswatini's household names like Bholoja, Siyinqaba and Nomalungelo Dladla, Velemseni has gone on to soar to greater heights.

The Eswatini guitarist and soul singer's debut album, We are People (2014), showcased soothing vocals and strong musicality. The project was received well, getting airplay in the country's major radio stations (EBIS1 and 2).

The 11-track project was produced by David F from France, Martin Berauer from Austria and Eswatini's Bholoja. It led to Velemseni embarking on a US mini-tour in 2014.

Keep reading... Show less
Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Interview: 'Carpe Diem' Is Olamide's New Way of Life

Olamide communicates his current mood of living on his own terms, gives us his thoughts on #EndSARS, and tells us about fulfilling his singing desires while introducing the current sound brewing underground in Nigeria.

The death of Dagrin, who through hip-hop championed a course for the underground slums of western Nigeria, was a blow. While Nigeria inadvertently sought a progeny, an underground rapper silently picked up steam through bluetooth shares and word of mouth. By the end of 2010, Olamide broke into mainstream consciousness after releasing "Eni Duro," a street freestyle that caught the attention of ID Cabasa who then signed him to Coded Tunes where he released his debut album, Rapsodi in 2011.

In 2012, Olamide teamed up with a handful of relatively unknown producers, rappers for his sophomore album YBNL, which he also christened his own record label, marking his exit from Coded Tunes. YBNL has now become one of Nigeria's leading record labels having produced talents like Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Fireboy DML, and more. It comes with no surprise that the recording artist born Olamide Adedeji, revered as the "voice of the street" has become one of Nigeria's most successful rappers ever. He's now known for his multilingual tracks which showcase his ability to rap and sing in English, Yoruba, Pidgin. His knack for lacing wordplay into his music stems from experiences of his formative years in Bariga, a rural part of Lagos.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Watch Burna Boy & Chris Martin's Electric Performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2020

The Nigerian star performed "Monsters You Made" in front of a backdrop of #EndSARS protest footage as Coldplay's Chris Martin lent his voice virtually.