Audio

Ethiopian Records Shares Genre-Bending EP 'In My Sleep'

Addis Adaba-based producer Endeguena Mulu aka Ethiopian Records releases his booming new experimental EP "In My Sleep".


Ethiopian Records – the production moniker of Addis Ababa-based musician  Endeguena Mulu – releases his latest EP In My Sleep, a seamless blend of traditional Ethiopian folk music and elements of jazz, electronic sounds and UK garage. In My Sleep is the first of a two-part project that the visionary beatmaker will release this year. The EP, which has been a decade in the making, sees the artists showcasing his intricate production skills as he artfully mixes booming percussion with staticky strings and vocal samples.

E.R. is one of the architects of the 'Ethiopiyawi' electronic genre, but he's careful not to limit his sound by overwhelming it with labels; he penned a personal statement where he urged listeners to look past labels when seeking out new music, "forget about all the labels even if you found the music you are listening to through passing by in this or that section in the music store. Just forget about where you found it. Close your eyes and absorb yourself in the moment. Listen, truly listen, and try to feel what the music is doing to you. If you are able to do that then maybe, maybe you are able to release the taint of those narrow labels and connect with the work with the piece of music, like you should." Stream In My Sleep below, and be on the look-out for the second half of his project to drop in October.

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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