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This 1970s Sudanese Jazz Album Will Revive You

The music of Kamal Keila, known as "the James Brown or Fela Kuti of Sudan," gets re-released.

Kamal Keila's new album, "Muslims & Christians" is a pleasant, welcomed dream presented in the unique form of Sudanese jazz.

Released by Habibi Funk Records, Keila's album promotes the unity of a people who, for decades, have been led apart by completely different beliefs, while reciting the political history of Sudan at the same time. Once you get past its funky, soulful beats, you'll be uplifted by the message behind them.


The idea to release Kamal Keila's tracks was inspired by Habibi Funk's want to incite a grander musical experience that would touch the listener beyond the notes. The label's discussion with Sudanese artist, Sharhabeel, about re-releasing some of his old music turned into a personal discovery of Sudanese culture and music.

Habibi Funk's learning and traveling endeavors with blogger and Sudanese jazz & IT expert, Yassir Awad, led to the spark of the re-release of "the James Brown or Fela Kuti of Sudan," Kamal Keila's great music.

Kamal Keila's album is a time capsule of Sudan's history dating all the way back to the 1970s. It features Ethiopian, Sudanese jazz, funk, blues and soul sounds that compliment powerful lyrics. Keila is transparent in each track as he calls for peace between Muslims and Christians, and weeps for the inevitable fate of the "Shmasha," war orphans.

Let your day be made by Kamal Keila's album, Muslims & Christians, which you can find below.

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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