Video

Gettin’ Down with David Byrne


David Byrne, arguably the funkiest nerd of all time, recently gave a talk on the topic of music and architecture. Byrne is best known as the front man of the iconic band Talking Heads, a group that owes as much to Stax and Fela as it does to conceptual art. The sense of architecture and awkward grace in their music is rivaled only by Byrne’s amazing hair.  Watch the T.E.D. talk above where Byrne addresses how musical genres are affected by venue and architecture.  For more, follow me after the jump.

Whether it be an African village or a Gothic cathedral, all musical genres, according to Byrne, are affected by venue and architechture. A lot of where he’s coming from is based on the famous Bauhaus philosophy that form follows function; at least that was the original idea. In this context it might be fair to say that form follows failure, causing adaptation. After hearing his talk Byrne’s background in conceptual art should come as no surprise. As the Talking Heads’ website explains:

"At Rhode Island School Of Design, David studied a functional design programme known as the Bauhaus Theory course. He also took a conceptual art course. The staff were not sure about David, particularly when he put on a performance in which he had his hair and beard shaved off onstage to a piano accordion accompaniment and a showgirl displaying cue cards written in Russian. The professors at RISD were less charmed, however, and David found himself out on the street. He had been at the RISD for one year."

Way to drop the ball RISD. Although, getting a shave and a haircut doesn’t exactly point towards budding genius or Remain in Light.

F.Y.I If you aren’t familiar with T.E.D talks you should check out their youtube channel. Honorable mention to Steven Levitt’s lecture, Why crack dealers still live with their moms?

Audio
(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Former President of Botswana Ian Khama Condemns Zimbabwean Government

Former Botswana President Ian Khama has condemned Zimbabwe's government and joined solidarity with #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.