Photos

Ugandan Chief Ham Mukasa's Historic Notes Re-Interpreted

Ugandan artists reinterpret the historic notes of Chief Ham Mukasa in HIPUganda co-founder Andrea Stultiens' 'Go Forward' exhibition.

Earlier this month photography archive project HIPUganda (History In Progress Uganda) launched the second e-book in their Ebifananyi series, featuring the vintage Western Ugandan portraits of self-taught photographer Musa Katuramu. For their next project, HIPUganda turns to the archives of Ugandan chief Ham Mukasa (ca. 1870-1956). An early literate and Christian convert, Mukasa documented specific moments and phenomena from Ugandan history in a series of notes. HIPUganda co-creator Andrea Stultiens found a list of "described images" that should have accompanied Mukasa's notes on the reign of three kings of the Buganda Kingdom. Though in her research Stultiens found that these illustrations were never actually made. In Go Forward, Stultiens asks a group of Ugandan artists and art students to interpret Mukasa's notes. The instillation, which takes its name from the Luganda title of a book triptych written by Mukasa (Simuda Nyuma), spotlights a collection of photographs from the Mukasa family archive in addition to re-interpreted art from Stultiens' collaborators (Achola Flight Captain Rosario, Lwanga Emmanuel, Eria Nsubuga SANE, Nathan Omiel, Ian Mwesiga Ian, Papatrill SpokenWord, Sanaa Gateja and students from Uganda Christian University and Academy Minerva). The exhibition is on display now through December 12th at Academie Minerva in Groningen, Netherlands, and will likely continue to travel. Look for the Ham Mukasa volume of HIPUganda's Ebifananyi series to be published in July 2015.

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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