Film

Congo In Harlem Film Series Returns October 16th-26th

The 2014 Congo In Harlem film series returns to Harlem's Maysles Cinema in October for a weeklong showcase of Congolese arts and culture.


The sixth installment of Congo In Harlem kicks off next week (Thursday, October 16th) featuring an array of feature films, documentaries and animated shorts to be screened at Harlem's Maysles Cinema. The curators behind the weeklong film and event series, which launched in 2009, have compiled an engaging series of panel discussions, art exhibitions, musical performances and filmmaker Q&A sessions that offer attendees the chance to partake in dialogue that will broaden their perspective on the cultural, environmental and socio-political issues facing the DRC today.

Some highlights from the preliminary screening schedule include the opening night 20-minute short Sister Oyo, directed by prolific Congolese documentary filmmaker Monique Mbeka Phoba, Orlando von Einseidel’s documentary Virunga– which looks at the conservation efforts of a group of park rangers living and working at the DRC’s Virunga National Park amidst armed conflict– and a special presentation of archival footage from Muhammed Ali and George Foreman's Rumble in The Jungle on the occasion of its 40th anniversary (an event also recently commemorated by Blitz The Ambassador). Follow Congo In Harlem on twitter and facebook for more information. The series runs October 16th-26th.

>>>Details On Congo In Harlem Film & Event Series 2014 (Oct 16th-24th)

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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