Photos

Instagram Via Nigeria: Brad Ogbonna's Intimate Journey

Photographer Brad Ogbonna shares with Okayafrica photos from his recent trip to Nigeria, one year after his father's death and the publication of memoir Jisike.


Incredibly talented photographer and friend of Okayafrica Brad Ogbonna has recently returned from a trip to his father's country of Nigeria and has graciously shared with us some of his work from the trip, along with a few words describing the experience. This is Ogbonna's second trip to the country as an adult, the first being one year ago to attend his father's funeral - the resultant work from that trip being the beautiful memoir project Jisike, which we covered here. Of this trip, Ogbonna explained to us,

In my village, it's custom to return one year after the death of a father to conclude the mourning period. I stayed in Nigeria for 15 days, and during that time I spent a week in Lagos, 4 days in Nkwerre, 2 days in Port Harcourt, a half day in Abonnema, and almost a full day traveling on a wretched charter bus from Port Harcourt to Lagos (the bus broke down 3 times on the way).

Ogbonna's original Jisike photo memoir is an intimate look at the beauty and dysfunction of his father's homeland, allowing readers to experience reflections on his father's legacy through his own eyes and words. One year later, these photographs display a familiar sentimentality, but with the added perspective of time passed. For more of Brad's work, head to his website or personal Tumblr, and you can purchase Jisike here.

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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