News

‘Tech Afrique’ Eli Fola Is Back With His New Hypnotic Electro-Jazz EP: ‘The Platform’

The new project continues to follow the distinctly jazz-electronic sound Nigerian-born Eli Fola has been developing.

EP cover courtesy of Eli Fola.


Back in January, Okayafrica interviewed Eli Fola, a Brooklyn-based and Nigerian-born musician, where we highlighted his music video for his song, 'Evolve.' Fola got his music start, “at the age of 9, while attending church with his parents in Nigeria where he joined the children’s choir, and started learning to play different musical instruments such as local African drums, congas, piano, and eventually settling with the saxophone.”

The video for 'Evolve' chronicles Fola’s unique DJ performances across NYC subway platforms. The song itself refreshingly incorporates the electronic sounds of house and techno all the while maintaining a distinct jazzy aesthetic.

'Evolve' is the introduction to his new, aptly named EP, The Platform, which Fola began work on while taking production courses at Dubspot NYC back in early 2015. It's just been released and is now available for you and yours to stream on Soundcloud. The EP continues to follow the distinctly jazzy, yet electronic sound trajectory Fola has been developing.

The lone feature on the hypnotic project appears on the track, 'Apocalypse' with the live string quartet known as the New York Virtousi laying down some smoothness.

If you haven’t already, press play on the dazzling visuals for 'Evolve,' peep the captivating new six tracks off The Platform EP and be on the lookout for more news about the talented Eli Fola.

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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