News

This East African Meets West African Love Story Will Have You in Tears

Even though his mother doesn't approve, Lionel won't let cultural differences tear him and his girlfriend, Mary, apart.

Last week, the CBC posted a clip from the finale of their airport-based television show Hello Goodbye Canada. 


The video shared the story of Mary and Lionel, two young lovers from opposite sides of the African continent— Mary from West Africa and Lionel from East Africa.

Warning: the video below might trigger unwanted emotions and possibly cause you to "ugly cry."

Sadly, Mary and Lionel's story is one that some of us are all too familiar with. The pressure to be with someone whom your parents approve of can be very real, and it makes it even harder when you add regional and cultural differences to the mix, but it seems the love that these two have for one another is even more real.

I really didn't want to be in my feelings this Valentine's day, but after watching this heartwarming story, that clearly won't be happening.

via GIPHY

Happy Valentine's Day, guys!

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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