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Rina Mushonga. Image courtesy of the artist.

You Need to Hear Rina Mushonga's Cosmopolitan Pop

The Dutch-Zimbabwean musician shares her ambitious new full-length, In a Galaxy, taking new risks at merging the disparate worlds of indie rock and Afropop.

One can imagine that as pop music evolves, cultural borders will topple and genres might blend and blur the way rays of light shoot out from a prism. If so, Rina Mushonga and her new brilliant cosmopolitan pop album, In a Galaxy, are at the forefront of this radiant movement. Raised between Asia, Africa and Europe and born of Dutch and Zimbabwean parents, Rina's general take on life is one of a global citizen—absorbing disparate influences with humbleness and reverence and allowing that energy to seep into the music.

In a Galaxy takes cues from the dance productions and intimate songwriting of electronic pop and R&B savants like Empress Of and Blood Orange. But there's hardly a song on this 12-track LP that doesn't weave the dynamic rhythms and jubilant melodies of Afropop into the mix. The electronic-folk experimentation of Francis Bebey also helps color these dynamic tunes, as well as the shimmering, jit music grooves of Zimbabwe ensemble Bhundu Boys.


Rina Mushonga - 4qrtrs [Official Music Video] www.youtube.com

Despite wide comparisons to the invigorating soul-folk of Tracy Chapman in the wake of her 2012 album The Wild, The Wilderness, Rina's newly defined vocal presence occupies fresh new territory that bares little resemblance to any active singer. Sometimes deep and sensuous ("Tropix"), other times high-soaring and in possession of bewildering strength ("i miss you so much"), her voice commands utter attention. Even her most scathing song—a sassy scorning of males against #MeToo titled "Narcisc0"–flows with an ease that's uncanny, bolstered by a downtempo Chimurenga guitar riff. Here, as with most of her tunes, the worldly singer-songwriter applies a timeless beauty to her future-thinking pop music.

Rina Mushonga's other songs reflect on the brilliant highs and devastating lows of romance, focusing on the process of personal transformation that takes place during these emotionally turbulent moments. "I made my mind up but I wasn't ready/ I cling to you but I feel unsteady," she sings on the album's title track, weary but confidently embracing love over a bouncing reggae-pop beat.

Working with two separate producers between her hometown Amsterdam and new home of London, Rina worked over half a decade to perfect this clever combination of modern electronic pop and contemporary Afropop. The songwriter and commanding vocalist surely gained new appreciation for these songs when she gave birth to her daughter Zora during the final stages of the album's release. Graced with deep revelations and bold political statements, Rina folds the sounds of her rich, globe-trotting life into this majestic record.

'In a Galaxy' is available now.

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Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Black Coffee’s ‘Africa Is Not A Jungle’ Showcase Lockdown Edition Will be Hosted Online Every Week

Black Coffee's 'Africa Is Not A Jungle' showcase goes online amid the lockdown.

With festivals, concerts and events around the world having been postponed and cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Black Coffee's company Soulistic Agency will be presenting a Lockdown edition of Africa Is Not A Jungle. A Is Not A Jungle is the South African house music superstar's tour which had dates across South Africa and other parts of the continent—Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola and Uganda. The tour was put on hold in March soon after President Cyril Ramaphosa banned social gatherings of more than 100 people.

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Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

The day before his Instagram Live mini-show, Mabandla spoke to OkayAfrica on lockdown from his home in Newtown about the lessons he's learned from making the album, his new-found love for Bon Iver, and how he's going to be spending his time over the next few weeks.

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Photo (left) by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Warner Music; Photo (right) by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images.

Burna Boy and Idris Elba Set to Star in Global Citizen Concert

Global Citizen's upcoming 'One World: Together At Home' concert, which aims to support healthcare workers at the frontlines of the global coronavirus outbreak, will feature an array of artists and celebrities.

Global Citizen recently announced their upcoming concert dubbed "One World: Together At Home".

The concert, which was curated in collaboration with American singer Lady Gaga, has already raised USD 35 million which is supposed to help healthcare workers and various relief efforts amid the global COVID-19 outbreak.

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Stogie T’s Visuals for ‘Love & War’ Use Contrasting Colors to Explore the Complexity of Heroism

Stogie T shares polarizing visuals for 'Love & War.'

A few months ago, Stogie T highlighted the song "Love & War" as a single from his latest EP The Empire of Sheep, released in November 2019. After releasing a deluxe version of the project last week, today the south African emcee shares a music video for "Love & War," which features the emerging vocalist Lucille Slade.

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