Audio

1980s Niger Space Synthesizers From Mamman Sani

Sahel Sounds' have just released Mamman Sani's new album Taaritt, a stellar collection of Nigerien synthesizer music from the late 1980's


Last time we checked in on our friends over at Sahel Sounds, they had just released Balani Show Super Hits and were the subjects of a forthcoming documentary focusing on the work of founder Chris Kirkley. This time around they've brought us Taaritt, a new album of blissed-out synths from Niger's Mamman Sani. Described as "a proposed relaxation guide, sonically lying somewhere between ambient library music and minimal wave", this stunning collection of never before released tunes was recorded in Niger and France between 1985 and 1988, and is the second offering from the Nigerien electric organ maestro on Sahel Sounds. The cover artwork by Maria Joan Dixon features a Tuareg alien spaceship hovering over the Agadez Grande Mosque  which speaks to the record's position as an interstellar vehicle that is meant to take us on a journey through sonic landscapes of the past, present and future with every listen. Stream Taaritt in full below and purchase either on vinyl or digital download.

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Here's Some Future Synth Music From Niger

Nigerién keyboardist Hama transforms Saharan folk songs into psychedelic electronic gems in his new album, Houmeissa.

Hama is a composer and keyboardist based in Niamey, Niger making something we haven't really much of: electronic desert folk songs.

Hama, also known as Hama Techno (real name Mouhamadou Moussa), spends his days working as a private driver in Niamey and came to doing music almost as an accident when a neighbor gifted him a synthesizer.

It was that gift that led him to start reinterpreting popular desert folk songs through an electronic lens.

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Events

Win Tickets To See The Tuareg 'Purple Rain' Remake 'Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai' At The New York African Film Festival

Enter here to win a pair of tickets to see the Tuareg remake of Prince's 'Purple Rain' at the New York African Film Festival.

Mdou Moctar in Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai
The 23rd edition of the New York African Film Festival gets underway this week. Presented under the theme “Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Filmmaking” (a nod to the 50th anniversary of the “Father of African Cinema” Ousmane Sembène’s first feature, Black Girl), this year’s festival includes 25 feature-length films and 27 short films from a total of 26 countries. As in previous years, the festival begins with a week of screenings and events at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (May 1 + May 4-10) before continuing throughout the month of May at Maysles Cinema in Harlem (May 13-15) and over Memorial Day Weekend at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of BAM’s DanceAfrica festival (May 26-30).

Okayafrica is teaming up with the NYAFF to offer up a pair of tickets to see Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (“Rain The Color Blue With A Little Red In It”) on Saturday, May 7th, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Akounak, if you recall, is Sahel Sounds founder and filmmaker Christopher Kirkley’s remake of Prince’s Purple Rain starring Nigerien musician Mdou Moctar. The project marks the first time a full-length film has been shot entirely in the Tuareg language.

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14 Cultural Events You Can't Miss this December in South Africa

OkayAfrica's guide to must-see events during South Africa's festive season.

South Africans will tell you that December is not just a month, it's an entire lifestyle. From beginning to end, it's about being immersed in a ton of activity with friends and family as well as any new folk you meet along the way. Whether you're looking to turn up to some good music or watch some provocative theater, our guide to just 14 cultural events happening in South Africa this December, has something for everyone.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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