News Brief

This Yoruba Meets Hip-Hop Ballet Set to Ibeyi is Everything

Watch footage from famed Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti's new ballet set to the music of Ibeyi.

As if the music of Ibeyi could get any prettier, someone went and made an entire ballet inspired by the Yoruba sounds of the Diaz sisters. That someone is the famed Italian choreographer, Mauro Bigonzetti.


Bigonzetti returned to New York’s legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater this June to create Deep, a piece that sets African and hip-hop dance to eight songs––“Eleggua (Intro),” “Oya,” “River,” “Think of You,” “Mama Says,” “Behind the Curtain,” “Ibeyi (Outro),” “Exhibit Diaz”––from Ibeyi’s self-titled debut album.

Deep comes from the body. The looking can be deep, the touch can be deep, the sense of the life can be deep, the roots can be deep,” Bigonzetti explained in a behind-the-scenes video.

Going off this recently-surfaced footage, the collaboration was one of the most exquisite mashups of contrasting music and dance forms since last year’s brilliant South African pantsula meets afrofuturistic jazz video.

“We are deeply honored and happy to be musically part of DEEP,” Ibeyi said in an Instagram post.

The 29-minute show debuted last month at Alvin Ailey. Watch highlights from DEEP in the video below.

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.