Video

Inna Modja’s ‘Sambe’ Video Is a Beautiful Prayer for the Youth in Mali

Malian-French singer Inna Modja showcases the rich spirit of Mali’s youth in her new music video for “Sambe.”

Malian-French singer Inna Modja showcases the rich spirit of Mali’s youth in her new music video for “Sambe.” Her new clip calls for a focus on the creativity and beauty coming out of Mali, as opposed to the usual narrative of a war-torn nation.


The striking visuals, which were shot in Bamako last summer, kick off with a poem and a shot of artist Hank Willis Thomas’ piece I Am A Man, before diving into shots of the many faces and dancers seen across the city’s streets.

“Sambe is a prayer in Bambara (Mali's official first language)," Inna Modja tells Okayafrica. "It is a prayer for The Youth in Africa to rise beautifully above all cliches the World holds sometimes against us. The poem I wrote as an intro is about the beauty and creativity we want the World to see.”

Watch our premiere of the video for “Sambe,” a single from Inna Modja’s Motel Bamako, above and read her poem in full below.

In the streets of Africa

Some might see Poverty

I see Poetry

Some might see Misery

I see Beauty

In the streets of Africa

I see Glory

We are not Scars of War

We are Stars of Art

Africa is not a Country

But We are a Family

Africa is not what you see on TV

Africa is Creativity

Africa is Now , Africa is the Future

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.