Video

Somali Songstress Cherrie Hersi Premieres The Chilling Visuals For 'Tabanja'

Swedish-based, Somali singer Cherrie Hersi premieres the Stockholm-shot music video for her gripping, socially-conscious single "Tabanja."


In June, we featured Swedish-based, Somali songstress Cherrie Hersi's first single "Intro" on our list of Songs By Somali Singers & Rappers To Listen To This Summer. The singer, who grew up in Finland and began her singing career just two-and-a-half years ago, is  now back with the premiere of the music video for her latest single. "Tabanja," which is a Swedish slang word for 'gun,' is a song which the singer's camp says "shows a suffocating truth of a world caught in a downward spiral." Cherrie's ethereal voice lends itself  seamlessly to the track's bass-heavy production as the song's notably poignant message is unexpectedly wrapped in a beat fitting for a house party or club. "It invites you to dance, it forces up hands in jubilation, but it also tells an important story of the city's periphery, the hard choice that people face daily when reality penetrates." The black-and-white visuals were shot in the Rinkeby neighborhood of Stockholm where Cherrie currently lives and features performances from some of the singer's closest friends. The three-and-a-half-minute music video carries the song's weighty message by presenting chilling imagery of death and ruin, all while maintaining "a tiny ray of hope." Watch the gripping visuals for Cherrie's "Tabanja" below.

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.

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