Video

Ms. Lauryn Hill Mixes Fela Kuti And 'Lost Ones' At Black Girls Rock! 2016

Ms. Lauryn Hill brought straight Fela vibes to her performance of "Lost Ones" at Black Girls Rock! 2016 on BET.

Photo illustration by Aaron Leaf
Ms. Lauryn Hill brought straight Fela Kuti vibes to her explosive performance of "Lost Ones" at Black Girls Rock! 2016. The 10th annual awards show, which took place last Friday at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, aired Tuesday night on BET.

Ms. Hill had the entire crowd on their feet as she sang the Miseducation classic over a "Zombie" beat from her live band. She was joined by Fela dancers. The end result was nothing short of spectacular. Watch the full performance here.


Of course, this isn't the first time Ms. Hill has paid respects to Fela. On a trip to Lagos last year the singer stopped by the New Afrika Shrine, where she was accompanied by Seun Kuti, Kunle Kuti, her daughter Sarah Marley and Fela! cast member Shakira Marshall. Okayafrica TV was there to capture the moment.

Check out some reactions on Twitter to Ms. Hill's Fela-inspired Black Girls Rock! performance below.

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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