Video

Watch Sjava Perform ‘Umama’ on A COLORS SHOW

Sjava performs a song from his latest album on Germany's A COLORS SHOW.

Sjava is the latest South African artist to grace the German YouTube show A COLORS SHOW. He performs his latest single, the popular "Umama," which is an ode to the artist's mother.


"Umama" is from Sjava's latest album Umqhele, which was released towards the end of 2018. "Umama" is one of Sjava's most successful singles; its music video reached a million views on YouTube within 14 days of release, a huge accomplishment by South African standards.

Sjava is the third South African artist to grace the show, after rappers ByLwansta and Yugen Blakrok, who appeared on A COLORS SHOW in 2017 and a few weeks ago, respectively.

Watch Sjava's performance below, and revisit Umqhele underneath.

Sjava - Umama | A COLORS SHOW www.youtube.com



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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