Events

Win Tickets to See Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Live in NYC

Following in the footsteps of his father, Seun Kuti is set to perform on the very same stage of Fela's last U.S.A. performance.

Seun Kuti, the youngest son of the legendary Fela, is coming back to New York City.


Following in the footsteps of his father, Seun is set to perform on the very same stage of Fela's last U.S.A. performance! SOB's has been a home for the Kuti family for over three decades and on December 17, the legacy continues.

Don't miss out on an incredible show. Tickets available for purchase here.

For the latest from Seun, revisit his thoughts on Black Lives Matter, in which he stated that “Black America has a right to protect itself militarily, financially & politically,” and check out his latest music video for "Gimme My Vote Back" underneath.

RSVP here to win tickets to see Seun Kuti at SOB's

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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