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Simphiwe Dana Shares New Single ‘Usikhonzile’ from Upcoming Album ‘Bamako’

Listen to Simphiwe Dana's new single 'Usikhonzile.'

Simphiwe Dana recently released the first single from her upcoming studio album. The song, which is titled "Usikhonzile" is a dedication to an undisclosed character who the South African jazz/soul musician sings praises to and who's who is a friend of many people in this country" as she told News Central in a recent interview. "It's basically meant to give him his 'flowers' while he is still alive. It's about praising him for the work he has done for many people," she told the website.

The artist's ethereal voice finds a home over electric guitars; it's reminiscent of her 2015 album, the experimental Firebrand.

"Usikhonzile" is the first single from Dana's album which will be titled Bamako. "I have a strong affinity for West African music, particularly Mali and Senegal," Dana told News Central. "Last year, I took the opportunity to produce some of the songs on the album while in the Malian city of Bamako, where I stayed for almost a month. It was my first time in Mali and I experienced the country's culture through Bamako and this is how I came up with the title, Bamako."

Bamako, which arrives on in March, will be Dana's fifth studio album which joins monumental releases such as Zandisile (2004), Kulture Noir (2010), One Love on Bantu Biko Street (2006) and the aforementioned Firebrand (2014). Bamako comes with two fitting appearances from Malian legend Salif Keita who appears on the songs "Masibambaneni" and "Ndizamile."

Stream "Usikhonzile" below and pre-order/pre-save/pre-add Bamako on your streaming platform of choice.


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Ami Faku. Image courtesy of artist.

Watch Ami Faku Break Down Her Song ‘Imali’: ‘Many people never get the break they need’

South African soul artist Ami Faku speaks about the inspiration behind her hit 'Imali' on Apple Music's Song Stories.

Ami Faku's hit single "Imali," which is a collaboration between the Eastern Cape-born artist and the duo Blaq Diamond from Durban, is an undeniable hit.

For the latest episode of Apple Music's Song Stories, Ami Faku breaks down the inspiration behind the song.

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Angelique Kidjo performs onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony at Microsoft Theater on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

'Take Africa Out of It and There's No Music for Y’all,' Angelique Kidjo on Success, ‘World Music’ & Championing New African Talent

OkayAfrica caught up with the legendary Beninese singer following her recent Grammy win and her feature on the collaborative electronic track 'Milambi.'

Last month, Angelique Kidjo won her fourth Grammy in the 'Best World Music' category. But it wasn't quite like every other year she had been nominated for the award. This time she shared the nomination with fellow African act Burna Boy, the first artist of the continent's current afropop scene to earn a nomination. While there's no question that Kidjo, who won for her 2019 album Celia, was beyond deserving (this was by no means a Kendrick-Macklemore scenario), Kidjo made the conscious decision to dedicate her award to Burna and urged viewers to pay attention to the wealth of new talent coming from the continent. "The new generation of artists coming from Africa are going to take you by storm and the time has come," said the artist.

Her vocal support for African talent isn't new though. As Kidjo notes, she gave a similarly memorable speech when she won four years ago for her album Sings, and she sounds fierce and impassioned as she speaks about it over the phone. After all, Kidjo has always been notably forward-looking in life and in music—experimentation doesn't scare her. Her latest work is on a futuristic, electronic project from Swiss DJ and producer Pablo Nouvelle and she expresses excitement about the novel methods in which African artists are creating and amplifying their music.

We caught up with Kidjo following her latest Grammy win and the release of her joint single with Nouvelle, "Milambi," to discuss her support of the new crop of talent emerging from the continent, fame, the controversy around the 'Best World Music' category, and remaining true to her identity in a Western-oriented music industry.

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"Zion 9, 2018" (inkjet on Hahnemuhle photo rag)" by Mohau Modisakeng. Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

South African Artist Mohau Modisakeng Makes Solo NYC Debut With 'A Promised Land'

The artist will present the video installation 'ZION' and other works centering on the "global history of displacement of Black communities" at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Brooklyn.

Renowned South African visual artist Mohau Modisakeng presents A Promised Land, his latest solo exhibition, opening at Brooklyn's Jenkins Johnson Gallery this month. This marks the New York debut of Modisakeng's ZION video installation, based on the artists's 2017 performance art series by the same name. It originally debuted at the Performa Biennial.

"In ZION the artist deals with the relationship between body, place and the global history of displacement of Black communities," reads a press release. "There is an idea that all people are meant to belong somewhere, yet in reality there are millions of people who are unsettled, in search of refuge, migrating across borders and landscapes for various reasons."

In addition to the video, the show also features seven large-scale photographs that communicate themes of Black displacement. From 19th century Black settlements in New York City, which as the press release notes, were eradicated to clear space for the development of Central Park, to the scores of Africans who have faced conflict that has led them to life as refugees in foreign lands.

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Rema in "Beamer (Bad Boys)" (Youtube)

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Tony Allen x Hugh Masekela, Sarkodie, Rema, Costa Titch x Riky Rick x AKA and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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