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Video: Wanlov the Kubolor's "For the River" & New Single "African Gypsy"

Wanlov the Kubolor - activist, environmentalist, and all around musical genius - has just released “For the River,” a reimagining of New Zealand singer Hollie Smith’s Pop-Gospel (Pospel?) song “Bathe in the River.” While the new version retains the same humanist spirit as the original, Wanlov couples his distinctive Pidgin rapping style with a decidedly environmentalist twist. While he’d like to bathe in the rivers of his native Ghana, it would be hard to rejuvenate the spirit amidst sewage, oil, and garbage. Despite the morose nature of the lyrics, the song has an upbeat sound. It’s a juxtaposition that is representative of Wanlov himself, a barefoot socially-conscious rapper that isn’t above making a dance track or two.


The video was conceived as a segment for New Zealand DJ and TV personality Nick Dwyer’s traveling music show Making Tracks. In a recent episode Dwyer traveled to Ghana to meet the Wanlov aka The Prince of Pidgin, and have him rework Smith’s smash hit.

The song couldn’t have come at a better time. The Environmental Film Festival of Accra kicks off June 7 and runs through the 19th, and “For the River” has been named the official video of the festival. Wanlov is also set to embark on a European tour next month to promote the debut of his latest album, Brown Card - full tour dates after the jump.

Check out the first single from Wanlov’s new album, “African Gypsy.”

Wanlov The Kubolor - African Gypsy ft Keziah Jones by Wanlov

Wanlov the Kubolor’s European Tour Dates

June 3 - Würsburg Africa FestivalGermany

June 5 - Auditorium Parco della Musica (Suona Francese), Roma, Italy

June 7 - London/Richmix, England

June 9 - Bordeaux / Rocher de Palmer, France

June 12 - Angoulême - Musiques Métisses, France.

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Photo: Felipe Maia.

Making Music Between the Cracks In Senegal

Navigating mbalax, hip-hop, and afropop, Senegalese artists are sticking together to make their music heard.

Taking a stroll in Dakar is an overwhelming sonic experience. One of the busiest metropolises of West Africa, Senegal's capital is flooded by taxis with lousy tailpipes and drivers who are keen to honk every now and then while cruising long avenues by the seaside. All over the city, several minarets' speaker boxes remind the prayer times throughout the day, adding chants to daily people's chats in different languages and dialects.

At first, it may not seem too different from other big cities in Africa, but one kind of music sets a unique dakarois tone. Whether in a clothing store, having a thieboudienne for lunch or taking a cab, one's ears will be caught by mbalax music.

A new generation of artists wants to bring different sounds to the main stage of the Senegalese arts. They are the likes of the electro-fueled trio Guiss Guiss Bou Bess, the big afrobeat-ish band Sahad & The Nataal Patchwork and the experimentalist sound-maker Ibaaku. He's one of the founders of Kandang, a newly-born platform that aspires to build up a healthy environment that could develop the work of Senegalese musicians through concerts, workshops and promotion.

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