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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.

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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