Popular
(Photo courtesy of DAT Films)

Watch a New Documentary on Ghana’s DJ Katapila

PREMIERE: The Ghanaian DJ is known for blending techno and asafo music to create a style that is entirely his own.

No longer one of Ghana's best kept secrets, the world is about to learn of the singular musical stylings of DJ Katapila. The DJ and singer, born Ishmael Abbey, has developed a unique sound that got the attention of label Awesome Tapes from Africa manager Brian Shimkovitz and catapulted his career to international realms.


Now,with the help of DAT Films, he has a short documentary to tell the story of where he comes from and what kind of music he makes with the world. According to the filmmakers, "DJ Katapila's sound is an insane bass-heavy hybrid of traditional hiplife from Ghana's coast and Detroit techno. For the last 20 years, Katapila has been blasting his unique sounds all over Accra, from house parties to funerals, inspiring generations of Ghanaians to get up and dance like they were born to."

Named after the Caterpillar (or Cat) machines—the ubiquitous line of yellow construction vehicles at every building or demolition site—DJ Katapila is relentless in his work ethic and has various abilities to entertain. Coming from Jamestown, one of Accra's most notorious neighborhoods, DJ Katapila uses music to, in his words, educate people, and he does that through entertainment. Katapila blends a mix of techno beats with Ghana's coastal rhythms and melodies to create a sound that is lively, pulsing. He then chants, raps or sings in Twi, English and Ga to relay lessons he's learned on the streets and in his life. He's hoping that these messages, delivered in this fashion, can inspire change and action in a country that is developing quickly.

Watch our premiere of the film below to get a sense of Accra's techno scene, the intensity of DJ Katapila's music and to see the celebration unfold at a funeral in Gbawe while Katapila himself plays to honor the lost.

News
Photo: Alvin Ukpeh.

The Year Is 2020 & the Future of Nigeria Is the Youth

We discuss the strength in resolve of Nigeria's youth, their use of social media to speak up, and the young digital platforms circumventing the legacy media propaganda machine. We also get first-hand accounts from young creatives on being extorted by SARS and why they believe the protests are so important.

In the midst of a pandemic-rife 2020, the voices of African youth have gotten louder in demand for a better present and future. From structural reforms, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and derelict states of public service, the youths have amplified their voices via the internet and social media, to cohesively express grievances that would hitherto have been quelled at a whisper.

Nigerian youth have used the internet and social media to create and sustain a loud voice for themselves. The expression of frustration and the calls for change may have started online, but it's having a profound effect on the lives of every Nigerian with each passing day. What started as the twitter hashtag #EndSARS has grown into a nationwide youth revolution led by the people.

Even after the government supposedly disbanded the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) unit on the 10th of October, young Nigerians have not relented in their demands for better policing. The lack of trust for government promises has kept the youth protesting on the streets and online.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: 808x On Crafting Different Sounds For the Diverse Innanetwav Roster

808x, the in-house producer for South Africa's popular hip-hop collective/label Innanetwav, breaks down his working process with artists and the importance of energy.