Africa In Your Earbuds

AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #22: tUnE-yArDs

Download an Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape from tUnE-yArDs (aka Merrill Garbus) composed primarily of vintage finds from East Africa.


tUnE-yArDs' experimental creations have always carried, in structure or spirit, an aspect of the diaspora. Endless drum loops, stacks-on-stacks of vocals and ukelele, plus vast live improvisation gained the New England brainchild of Merrill Garbus comparisons to afrobeat and afropop — but tUnE-yArDs' tracks live in a much different space, incorporating aspects of R&B, lo-fi aesthetics and pop melodies to those African sounds.

For Africa In Your Earbuds #22, Merrill put together a mix composed primarily of vintage finds from East Africa — ranging from Ethiopia's Lema Gebrehiwot, Somali group Dur Dur and Tanzania's Mlimani Park Orchestra — with a touch of modern Naija pop and DRC ndombolo from 9ice and Koffi Olomide. We asked Merrill to explain her mix:

No doubt, I have a limited knowledge of African music, because, well, that's an entire continent and thousands of years of music, and a girl from Connecticut only has so many hours in a day. So for this mix I delved into my old favorites, artists who have influenced what I do now, as well as some things I've been introduced to fairly recently.

First: thanks to Matt from Domino Sound in New Orleans, who has been traveling to Ethiopia himself to release music from there. He just came back with several new vinyl records of not-new (70s) Ethiopian music that you've most likely never heard before. You can only get them if you give the guy a call and have him send them to you, or go there yourself! It's worth a trip to NOLA, I tell you. Second: my knowledge of African music has been jump started by DJ Fitz, our tour manager in Europe and one of the creators of DOODcast (subscribe for freeon iTunes and you'll hear what all the hubbub is about.) Fitz introduced me to Dur Dur, a grooving '80's band from Somalia. We play this jam before most of our tUnE-yArDs shows and the ending really gets me jazzed.

Music from Tanzania, whether the traditional Wagogo music of The Zawose Family or the Muziki wa dansi (dance music) tunes of the 80s, has really been an inspiration to me. As has Johnny Clegg and Savuka, one of the first mixed-race bands out of South Africa. I grew up on this "Moliva" track. And then a couple dance tunes that I can't stop listening to, one from a few years ago out of Nigeria by 9Ice. NICE! And then an ndombolo track from Koffi Olomide, which was what everybody was listening to when I was in Kenya in 2000.

Download AIYE #22: tUnE-yArDs below! Shout out Underdog for the cover artwork!

TRACKLIST

Lema GebreHiwot "Wondemiye (Wedding Song)" ft. Selamawit Gebre Selassie, and Zenebech Tesfaye (Ethiopia)

Dur Dur "Goromphmca: (Somalia)

Hukwe Zawose "Safiri na Muziki" (Tanzania)

Mlimani Park Orchestra "Tangazia Mataifa Yote" (Tanzania)

Johnny Clegg and Savuka "Moliva" (South Africa)

9Ice "Gongo Aso" (Nigeria)

Koffi Olomide "Loi" (DR Congo)

Previously on Africa In Your Earbuds: MATHIEU SCHREYERBLK JKSALEC LOMAMIDJ MOMA, AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICAPETITE NOIROLUGBENGA, RICH MEDINA, VOICES OF BLACK, LAMIN FOFANA, CHICO MANNDJ UNDERDOGDJ OBAHSABINEBROTHA ONACIDJ AQBTJUST A BANDSTIMULUSQOOL DJ MARVSINKANECHIEF BOIMA.

popular

15 South African Artists to Watch in 2019

Featuring Manu WolrdStar, Ranks, Dee Koala, Touchline, Sibu Nzuza and more.

Every year a wave of artists breaks in South Africa.

Last year saw young artists such as Mlindo The Vocalist, Muzi, Una Rams, Shekhinah, Sho Madjozi, KLY, Zoocci Coke Dope, Flame, J Molley, Rowlene and a whole lot more become household names and internet sensations. They released projects that shaped the country's musical landscape—a lot of them were on our list of 20 artists who could fuck up the game in 2018.

Alongside the aforementioned artists, there were just as many who were bubbling under, releasing singles that caught the attention of many fans. In 2019, these artists stand a great chance of expanding further and reaching more ears than they did last year.

From Manu WorldStar's lovely pop, to Ranks' version of ATM (African trap music), the refreshing Xhosa rap of Dee Koala, the street raps of Touchline, among others, we bring you a list of South African artists to keep an eye out for in 2019.

*The list is in no particular order.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief

Netflix Has Picked Up an Animated Musical Inspired by Shona Mythology

"Tunga" is the brainchild of Zimbabwean-born screenwriter Godwin Jabangwe.

The latest African story to become a Netflix original will be an animated, family-friendly musical based on Zimbabwean culture, Deadline reports. The streaming service won a four-way bidding battle for Tunga, created by Zimbabwean-born screenwriter and newcomer to the film industry Godwin Jabangwe.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
'Play Am' single cover.

Burna Boy Teams Up With Oritse Femi & Konshens on New Track 'Play Am'

Nigeria meets Jamaica on the Young D-produced dancehall-infused jam.

Fresh off his massive collaboration with Zlatan on "Killin' Dem," Burna Boy is back with another one.

The artist teams up with fellow Nigerian artist Oritse Femi and Jamaican artist Konshens for the dancehall-infused track "Play Am."

The song opens with a memorable verse from Konshens before both Oritse Femi and Burna join in, making for a unique fusion of Yoruba, Patois and Pidgin over the track's vibrant, multilayered production by producer Young D.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.