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The 8 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Diamond Platnumz, Khaligraph Jones, Alikiba, Harmonize x Yemi Alade, Redsan and more.

April featured a string of high-profile releases from the East side of the continent. Here are our best picks of the month.

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


Redsan 'Rio'

Kenyan dancehall legend, Redsan, is still making waves with his latest project, The Baddest, ever since signing a deal with Sony Music Entertainment. The stand out track from the project, "Rio," has a Latin vibe with Spanish lyrics and a stunning video shot in Brazil.

VINKA ft. Yung6ix 'ONLY FOR YOU'

Uganda's rising pop star, Vinka, returned this month with a banging new single featuring Nigerian rapper Yung6ix. "Only for you" is a seductive and catchy that is worth a couple of listens. We love her consistency.

OTILE BROWN X KHALIGRAPH JONES 'JAPO KIDOGO'

Kenyan heartthrob Otile Brown links up with Khaligraph Jones to deliver a more upbeat bongo flava tune called "Japo Kidogo".

Diamond Platnumz 'The One'

At this point, anything Diamond Platnumz touches turns to gold. The Tanzanian superstar gave his fans a romantic bongo track titled "The One"- likely a filler before he returns with something much bigger.

Alikiba 'Mbio'

The King of Bongo Flava breaks his silence with "Mbio," a love ballad that he wrote about ten years ago.

Ommy Dimpoz x Alikiba x Cheed 'ROCKSTAR!'

Tanzanian heavyweights Alikiba and Ommy Dimpoz teamed up for a dance-ready club starter titled "Rockstar!"

Harmonize ft. Yemi Alade 'Show Me What You Got'

Afrobongo superstar Harmonize and Nigerian pop princess Yemi Alade continue to explore their amazing musical chemistry on "Show me what you got," an upbeat club-starter produced by Krizbeatz.

Victoria Kimani 'Swalalala'

After her controversial remarks about Tiwa Savage and Ycee, Victoria Kimani is back with a new Masterkraft-produced track titled "Swalala". The video is shot in Kenya's biggest slum, Kibera.


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




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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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