Audio

Video: Tabu Ley Rochereau


The heart of Africa has produced rhythms that sentimentally match the soundscape of the continent. With piercing percussion, sensual strums, and soul-stirring vocals, the music of the Congo has stretched far and wide throughout the world, but we here also enjoy tracing it back to those pioneers of recent history who have claimed it, named it, and shared it for our auditory pleasures. One such pioneer being Tabu Ley Rochereau.

At the age of 14, Tabu Ley had begun creating the sounds that would resonate through the Soukous tradition. He joined African Jazz, where he met future musical partner, Dr. Nico Kasanda. The two would go on to create Africa Fiesta, blending Rochereau's phenomenal composing abilities with Kasanda's genius guitar playing. After only a few successful years together, they split and created their respective bands, with Rochereau establishing Afrisa International. The success of Afrisa International can be marked by several things, Rochereau becoming the first African to play at the Paris Olympia, launching the talented M'bilia Bel, and that the band is still touring and relevant today. Some say he's the Frank Sinatra of Africa, we think he's got his own lane, but check out the smooth brothers in the video!

[embed width="600"][/embed]

Interview

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.