News

Fatoumata Diawara & Oliver Mtukudzi Will Play At BRIC House In Brooklyn This Spring

This coming April Brooklyn arts center BRIC House will put on shows by Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara and Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi.


Brooklyn arts institution BRIC House has revelead an exciting line-up of concerts for their Spring 2015 season. Most notably, their Spring season will feature performances from both Fatoumata Diawara and Oliver Mtukudzi amidst other noteworthy shows from the likes of Virginia singer/songwriter Matthew E. White and Cuban pianist/composer Omar Sosa. Malian singer Diawara, who previously played with The Roots at the Clinton Global Initiative and features as an actress in Timbuktu) will perform with her band at the BRIC House Ballroom on April 7. While the legendary Zimbabwean singer/songwriter Mtukudzi, who released his 62nd album this past fall, will also play the BRIC House Ballroom with his group The Black Spirits on April 21. Tickets for the Fatoumata Diawara concert can be found hereOliver Mtukudzi tickets can be found here

>>> See The Full BRIC House 2015 Line Up

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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