Audio

Ethiopian Beatmaker Mikael Seifu's 'Tuff Ruff'

Stream Ethiopian beatmaker Mikael Seifu's latest ethereal single "Tuff Ruff" out September 23rd on 1423 R


Earlier this year, we found ourselves vibing to the ethereal soundscapes of Ethiopian beatsmith Mikael Seifu after the title track from his debut Yarada Lij EP surfaced online. Seifu's introductory suite, released July 1st via Washington D.C- based indie label 1432 R, gave us four tracks that played like hazy fusion of techno, house, electronica, UK garage, secular azmari folk and sacred music traditions of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Now, the 26-year-old producer —who lists Burial, Endeguena Mulu, Scott Storch and Zion Rebels among his influences — has returned with a new single titled "Tuff Ruff." The ambient track harkens back to the atmospheric melancholia he served up on Yarada Lij, marked by rattling percussion and hypnotizing strings that mesh with the entrancing cadence of the Amharic vocal samples. In a recent interview with FACT Magazine Seifu said, "To me, my music is about vibrations. When I make that stuff, it does something to me and I want to immediately share that with people. It’s not Eastern, Western, Martian… it’s about that impact. If that impact is not shared, it doesn’t matter.” Stream Mikael Seifu's latest below ahead of its September 23rd release. In the meantime, pre-order the single here and keep up with the emerging producer on Facebook and Soundcloud .

[H/T The Fader]

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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