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Photo courtesy of Harmonize.

Listen to Harmonize's New Album 'Afro East'

The Tanzanian artist features Burna Boy, Phyno, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi and several others on his latest project.

Harmonize recently dropped his latest offering, an 18-track album titled Afro East, which is the follow-up to his 2018 EP Afro Bongo.

The album, which is the Tanzanian artist's first project since leaving Diamond Platnumz's record label, features Burna Boy, Phyno, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Falz, Skales and several others.


Afro East is another of Harmonize's projects that showcases his ability to seamlessly fuse Afropop with Singeli and Bongo.

The artist takes the first track on the album, a mid-tempo number titled "Bedroom", by himself. He then jumps onto the bouncy track "Your Body" with 'African Giant' Burna Boy while exploring an infectious instrumental on "Pain" with the inimitable Yemi Alade. Recruiting Mr Eazi and Falz on "Move", Harmonize makes use of some ominous-sounding synths while "Rumba", which features Skales and DJ Seven, is definitely a standout track with a strong dance element.

Produced by Hunter, Kriz Beat, Abba, Wills Give Them, Fanatix, and Black, Afro East sees Harmonize dabbling in a number of genres which include love-laced rhythms, inspirational songs as well as some dance-ready bangers.

While trying to adopt a more international sound to reach a larger audience, Harmonize does well by not compromising the core elements of his artistry with which we've become so familiar.

Listen to Afro East on Apple Music:

Listen to Afro East on Spotify:

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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