Events

Pop-Up Amayo (Antibalas)


New Yawkers may have noticed a bunch of brightly painted pianos sitting pretty on street corners and parks around town (like little ladies of the night?). These are all part of non-profit Sing for Hope's Pop Up Pianos project in which 88 pianos (coinciding with the number of keys), each decorated by a designer or artist, are put out for passers-by to play for two weeks, after which they're donated to schools. Go to St. Nicholas Park in Harlem to check out the above piano which uses sacred Ndebele-inspired designs from South Africa. If you find yourself at the right time in the right place (ahem, July 1, 6pm, see above for directions) you'll be treated to a free concert by Antibalas frontman Amayo. Afterparty at The Shrine.

Audio
(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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