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Nine Female Artists From Egypt, Tunisia, And Libya Record 'Sawtuha'

Nine female artists from Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya record the 'Sawtuha' compilation, featuring production from Oddisee and the Knife's Olof Dreijer.


Earlier this month Egyptian songstress Maryam Saleh's Oddisee-produced "Nouh Al Hamam" landed a new Tunisian-based recording effort on our radar: the Sawtuha compilation of female artists from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt exercising their rights to freedom of expression. The full album, which along with Sudanese-American hip-hop scholar Oddisee features the production hand of Olof Dreijer (one half of the Knife) and remixes from french producer Blackjoy and Austrian beatsmith Brenk, takes the listener on a journey through French pop, Arabic infused hip-hop and accordion-heavy production.

On the Oddisee-produced languid ballad "Figurine," Nawel Ben Kraiem's vocals nod towards classical French influences (she sounds like a cross between Edith Piaf and Barbara), and yet they're layered with enrapturing Tunisian melodies. Olof Dreijer's distorted beats and pitched-down vocals provide a backdrop Medusa's flow on the head-nodding "Naheb N3ch Hayati" (a force in the Tunis hip-hop scene, we hear Medusa is a name to look out for). A protest against "corruption, despotism, patronization and narrow-mindedness, Sawtuha is purposeful fresh air. Stream the full compilation below, out now on Jakarta Records.

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Listen to Oddisee's Hypnotizing Remix of Alsarah & The Nubatones

First Listen: Stream our premiere of Sudanese MC/producer Oddisee's funky and hypnotizing remix of "3yan T3ban."

Alsarah & The Nubatones are readying the release of Manara Remixed.

The new album, which is due September 22 on Wonderwheel Records, will revisit songs from the band's excellent East African retro pop LP, Manara, through new remixes from Sufyvn, Captain Planet, DJ Khalab, Nickodemus, iZem, and more.

Today we're premiering one of our favorite tracks off Manara Remixed, Sudanese MC/producer Oddisee's funky and hypnotizing reinterpretation of "3yan T3ban."

Alsarah tells us about the background of "3yan T3ban" and its roots—which stem from the Blue Nile region of North Sudan to a refugee camp in South Sudan —below.

"I learned this song a few years ago when I went to visit the Yousif Batil Refugee Camp in Maban, South Sudan," Alsarah writes in an e-mail to OkayAfrica. "I was there working with filmmaker Hajooj Kuka on a documentary about war, music and identity in Sudan called Beats of the Antonov. When I arrived to the camp I found a thriving music culture with multiple music parties and gatherings taking place every night, ALL through the night."

Alsarah. Image courtesy of the artist.

"I learned so much about what it means to thrive, instead of just survive, even in the face of the most violent of obstacles that threaten to eradicate your entire life and way of being. Music was how people there chose to document their lives, struggles and stories. Amongst those stories were also love stories. People fell in love and sang of it. This song is written by Muna and her friends, aged 12 to 16 years old. Muna was the leader of the pack being the eldest and the one who could both drum and sing. They wrote collectively though. I wanted to do a remake of this song as an homage to them and all they gave me."

"For this remix I was very excited to work with producer, rapper and all around hip-hop artist, Oddisee. I've had the honor of working with him in the past leading up to the last elections in Sudan a few years ago. He's a friend, but more importantly he's an insanely gifted producer. I couldn't imagine anyone better to remix The Nubatones' reimagining of this song. I wish I could go back and share it with them but this has not been possible due to the explosive situation in South Sudan. I could not cross into the region anymore. The lyrics are very simple and roughly translate to:

Sick and tired, they drove me in the nissan truck, Oh this love

the lorry truck bumped me around, Oh this love

the one who took the sleep from my eyes, Oh this love

the lorry truck bumped me around, yes oh yes

the one who took the sleep from my eyes, Oh this love

Sick and tired, they drove me in the nissan truck, Oh this love

Sick and I will not get better, Oh this love

Even if they bring me a doctor, Oh this love

Sick and I will not get better, yes oh yes

Even if they bring me a doctor, Oh this love

"To find out more about Muna and her friends, I highly encourage you to watch the documentary. You can also listen to a sample of the field recordings I gathered here to get an idea of the wealth of sound the people of the camp so generously shared with me."

Stream our premiere of "3yan T3ban (Oddisee Remix)" above and pre-order Manara Remixed here.

For more on Alsarah read 10 Things She Loves About Sudan and check out our feature on 4 Artists From The New School of Sudanese Music, which Alsarah and Oddisee are both profiled in.

Muna and friends. Image courtesy of Alsarah.

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Oddisee Asks For Introspection and Understanding On His Stellar New Album ‘The Iceberg’

Rapper and producer Oddisee has released his latest studio album 'The Iceberg.'

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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