SXSW 2011: Okayafrica's Top 5 Picks

Our guide to African and diasporic acts at SXSW 2011.

SXSW 2011, home to all things music, film, interactive and indie, will host a touch of African and diasporic talent this year, including Club MC, Spoek Mathambo, desert songstress Khaira Arby, afro-freestyler Chico Mann, tropical producer Chief Boima, and baile maestro Zuzuka Poderosa. Representing the face of contemporary African music, these artists incorporate everything from computers to traditional instruments, and all of them radiate complex dance rhythms from the motherland. Here goes our top 5 event picks...

National  Geographics Present:

Khaira Arby, Toubab Krewe, Sway Machinery,  And More

Habana Calle 6 Saturday, March 19th Habana Bar Backyard 709 East 6th Street Austin, TX 8.00 pm.

Nat Geo Music is presenting their second annual showcase at this year's SXSW Festival in Austin, TX and features 11 live acts on 2 stages including Desert Songstress Khaira Arby,  Ashville's Toubab Krewe, and the Arby inspired, Sway Machinery.

Click here for more info.

Spoek Mathambo

Saturday March 19 12:00AM Malverde

The 24-year-old club-hopping MC and DJ sees himself as a part of a new wave of energy in Africa, which is intent on nurturing a sense of progressiveness while maintaining a pride in culture. Spoek has been remixed by the likes of tech-house producers such as Douster, Boys Noize, Canblaster, and Krazy Fiesta.

Click here for more info.

Chico Mann

Tuesday 15  Copa (10:45, Night Fever: SXSW Edition)

Wednesday 16 Scoot Inn (11:20, official sxsw showcase)

Thursday 17  Speakeasy Kabaret (12mid, official sxsw showcase)

Jersey City-based producer Chico Mann, aka Marcos García, brings his highly-energetic hybrid of Afro-Cuban rhythms, afrobeat and classic freestyle to Austin via beat machines galore and a heavy dose of dreamy chants.

Click here for more info.

Chief Boima

Friday March 18, 11:00PM Flamingo Cantina 21+ 515 E 6th St

Saturday March 19 12:00AM Venue Habana Bar 21+ 708 E 6th St

Techno Rumba, African House, Ghetto-Bass Disco; these are some of the sounds your body will be possessed by when you attend the 3 showcases Boima will play at SXSW including, Dutty Arts, and Nat Geo with "Brooklyn neighbor and close brethren, Uproot Andy," and "an unofficial party called Party After the End of the World, which takes place Friday afternoon. "

Click here for more info.

Also, be sure to download Chief Boima's mixtape right here.

Zuzuka Poderosa

Saturday March 19 11:45PM,  Prague 21+ 422 B Congress Ave

Hailing from Bushwick, via Brazil, Zuzuka studied jazz vocal improvisation, spun drum and bass, and developed her identity as a Funk Carioca MC after moving to NY when she was 16. Using classic Baile breaks as well as cleaner synth-based electronic production (Neuronic Bass), Zuzuka seduces with her dark and dirty club sound.

Click here for more info.


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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