Music

Sun-El Musician’s ‘Africa To The World’ Album Knocks Hard

Sun-El Musician's debut album is potent.

South African producer Sun-El Musician scored one of the biggest hits last year. "Akanamali," which featured the singer Samthing Soweto, was a permanent fixture on radio, shebeens, living rooms and clubs alike.

On his recently released full-length album, Africa to the World, Sun-El proves he's capable of more.


The album's second single "Bamthathile" takes off where "Akanamali" left off. While the latter was chronicling dating while broke, on "Bamthathile," the singer Mlindo The Vocalist, mourns a lover who was taken away from him by another man. These things do happen, you see, and having a song to cry to helps.

But it's not all blues on Africa to the World. The opening song, "With You," features lush vocals by Desiree Dawson. Over a beat that sounds like a summer breeze, she sings of a special somebody whom she "see the sun when I look at you."

She sings on the second verse:

"I feel confused as my feelings show/ I know now, all the past I gotta let it go/ 'cause we here and it's clear that we belong this way/ so I'll just take your hand and kiss your lips again"

The album is packed with mid-tempo vocal house songs that excel in marrying vocals and beats seamlessly. Among the aforementioned songs are "Sengimoja," "Life We Live," "No Stopping Us," "Goodbye," "Umalukatane," "Sonini" and "Ntaba Ezikude," which are all near perfect vocal house tunes.

The instrumental songs "Random" and "The Wave" are strategically placed towards the end, just before "Bamthathile," as if to prepare you for the story of disappointment.

Sun-El managed to create different moods both sonically and through the vocalists he featured. And he managed to blend electro with South African house to create an album that can be enjoyed by locals and has great potential to be exported, which, according to the title, is one of his biggest goals.

Listen to Africa To The World below, and download it here.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.