Video

Nakhane Touré’s Stunning Surrealist Music Video For ‘The Plague’

South African singer Nakhane Touré shares the surrealist-inspired music video his for his single 'The Plague,' directed by Mark Middlewick.


Following the success of his massive Black Coffee collaboration “We Dance Again,” Nakhane Touré releases the visuals for his spirited anthem “The Plague.” In the 6-minute video, the South African singer and an unnamed young woman appear to be in a dreamlike state as they belt out the song’s lyrics inside a secluded house. “I will not be derailed,” the two sing as the video follows them around different areas of the home. They remain calm even as the song’s harmonies and strings escalate.

As much as 'The Plague' is a music video, we approached it like a short film. It's very sparse like our previous work together, and our aim was to play in the grey area between banal domesticity and surrealism,” mentions Mark Middlewick, the video’s director, in an email to Okayafrica. The video was inspired by the work of various surrealist artists, “visually we looked at the work of photographer Gregory Crewdson and the films of David Lynch, while also using the paintings of Caravaggio as a reference.” Check out the bracing song and video for “The Plague.” For more, revisit Touré and Middlewick’s previous video collaboration "In The Dark Room” and their award-nominated video for “Fog.”

**Ed. Note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly said that Nakhane Touré and Mark Middlewick collaborated on the music video for "Christopher."

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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