Events

Catch King Sunny Adé's Special 70th Birthday Concert in Brooklyn

The legendary King Sunny Adé celebrates his 70th birthday and his 50th year as a performer with a summer concert in Brooklyn.

This summer the legendary King Sunny Adé celebrates his 70th birthday and his 50th year as a performer on the world stage with a concert in Brooklyn.


Join us next Friday, August 19th at 9pm for the closing of his historic 30-city North American tour at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.

King Sunny Adé, whose jùjú music has paved the way for artists across the continent since the 1960s, will be joined by afro-soul songstress Wunmi and Wizkid-signee DJ Tunez.

Don’t miss out on another epic night of afro tunes to keep the summer alive.

Grab your tickets here to see King Sunny Adé at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple on August 19th.

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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