News

Ms. Lauryn Hill Is Playing A Surprise Festival 'Diaspora Calling!'

Lauryn Hill has teamed up with TIDAL X for Diaspora Calling!, a surprise music and arts festival being held at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre.


Ms. Lauryn Hill has teamed up with TIDAL X to announce Diaspora Calling!, a surprise music and arts festival being held this week April 13-15 at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre. The 3-day charity festival will "present a series of events, focusing on various forms of visual art, and featuring performances by artists from Africa, and throughout the African diaspora."

Performers include Ms. Hill, Stephen Marley, and Machel Montano, as well as Ghana's Stonebwoy, E.L, Jojo Abot and Nigeria's Mr. Eazi and Wondaboy.

Ms. Hill describes the festival, “Diaspora Calling! is a collection of works intended to celebrate the rich tapestry of artists from the African Diaspora while also illumining persistent and irrepressible themes... Even if we work independently, we are a resounding collective voice, both reconciling and embracing our relationship to history, our origins, our future and to ourselves.”

For Diaspora Calling! tickets and full info head to Ms. Lauryn Hill's website. The event will be live streamed on TIDAL.

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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