News Brief

This Senegalese Music Video Asks For Respect For All Children

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba offer a timely video for "Salsa Xalel" in light of the U.S. family separations.

Senegal's Diali Cissokho and his bandmates in Kaira Ba are releasing their excellent new album, Routes, today.

Cissokho comes from a long line of Mande musicians. He moved to North Carolina from Senegal for love and, after many trials and practices, eventually found the perfect musicians to form the band, Kaira Ba, in 2012.

For Routes, Cissokho brought his American bandmates to Senegal in order to jam and create with artists across his home town of M'bour. The 11-song record was then recorded across both sides of the Atlantic, which gives it a unique Afro-rock groove.

Today, we're premiering the music video for album highlight "Salsa Xalel," a song that ponders our responsibility towards our children and the state we're leaving the world in for them.


Cissokho tells OkayAfirica that the video and song also could also be seen as a response to the horrible family separations happening at the US-Mexico border at the hands of the current U.S. government.

"Xalel means child in Wolof," Cissokho explains via his label Twelve | Eight Records. "This song asks what kind of world are we leaving for our children? What are they going to inherit from us? Are they softly singing us a song that we need to listen out for? They will soon be the musicians, the teachers, the presidents of this world. How can we show them the right way to live?"

"As for the music, my father always loved to sing and dance the salsa, and that always influenced me. In Senegal, we blend classic salsa with the most popular national dance music, mbalax, using local percussion instruments, koras, balafons, flutes, and traditional singing styles."

Watch our premiere of the new video for "Salsa Xalel" below and stream Routes underneath.

Routes is available everywhere now from Okaymusic.



Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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