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Vinka in "Love Panic"

The 7 ​Best East African Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Vinka, Harmonize, Maya Amolo, Zuchu and more.

From soothing Alt-R&B cuts to upbeat bongo flava bops, here's what we had spinnin' on the regular all through the month of July.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.



Maya Amolo 'Lush Green'

Maya Amolo is set to be one of the year's breakout starts in R&B. Her 7-track debut EP, Leave Me At The Pregame, takes you through a journey of self-acceptance and healing with mellow, and laid back instrumentals. She recently just released the music video for one of the projects most soothing tracks "Lush Green," and it's quite the visual delight.

Vinka 'Love Panic'

Uganda's top pop sensation Vinka returned this month showing off a softer side of herself with a new track called "Love Panic" which explores why she always panics in the company of her lover.

Zuchu Ft Khadija Kopa 'Mauzauza'

WCB Wasafi darling and newest signee Zuchu has released back to back hits in a 3 month period. She teams up with Khadija Kopa for "Mauzauza,", an instantly likable track which samples dansi instrumentals and brings the listener a lot of nostalgia.

Kahu$h x Chris Kaiga 'MaStingo'

Kenyan hit makers Chris Kaiga and Kahu$h team up to release a new single and music video of "Mastingo." In Nairobi slang, 'Stingo; means style, "Like that's my style that's my stingo. That's how we do," explains Chris. The duo write and deliver while blending unique rap styles on this feel-good trap anthem.

Spice Diana & Harmonize 'Kokonya'

Spice Diana is already one of Uganda's fastest-rising stars. With her latest banger featuring Tanzania's biggest act Harmonize, she's set to blow up in the region sooner than later.

Marioo 'TIKISA'

Tanzanian star Marioo just dropped a dancehall-tinged club banger called "Tikisa" and it's one of the most replay-worthy tunes we've heard this month.

Harmonize 'Mpaka Kesho'

Tanzania's Kondeboy releases yet another smash hit from his debut album Afrobongo. "Mpaka Kesho" has a traditional bongo flava feel and has been an easy favorite for the fans.


Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.


Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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