Audio

Ethiopian Records Shares 'Running Shoes' And Criticizes Western-Imposed Genre Labels

Endeguena Mulu aka Ethiopian Records releases a new single entitled 'Running Shoes' from his new 4-track EP 'Letu Sinega (The Dawn).'


Ethiopian Records shares his latest single "Running Shoes," one of the four tracks that make up his recently released EP Letu Sinega (The Dawn)The 6-minute song, produced in the 'Ethiopiyawi Electronic' style, begins with shadowy piano chords accompanied by jumpy clinks before morphing into a pulsating polyrhythm filled with sharp high-hats and repetitive vocal samples. At the halfway mark the beat shifts rapidly, showcasing the producer's masterful synth work. "Running Shoes" provides an airy, atmospheric feel, perfect to vibe to at daybreak. "People running under the rising early morning sun — this track is basically the soundtrack  [to] that time in the early morning," the musician tells Thump.

He also addresses the detrimental effect of using constricting labels such as 'world music' when describing the work of non-Western musicians, "[They're] born from the untrue, unsaid, unexpressed thought that everything that comes from the West is the pinnacle of everything, the top, the one thing that is happening in the world that is worth taking the time to enjoy, the only way forward the only way to the future. If it was only in the West and by Westerners that this view was held, it wouldn't have bothered me much, but thanks to education and entertainment all over the world being heavily Westernized, it's people who are owners of the cultures that are being diminished who also hold these views, looking down on their own 'third world' culture and praising the 'Western civilized developed first and second worlds."

Listen to "Running Shoes" below and purchase Ethiopian Records' new Letu Sinega (The Dawn) EP here.

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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