Music
Photo by Mavel Valdes, courtesy of Guampara Music.

Guámpara Music's New Music Video for 'Cubanéatelo' Is a Summer Treat

We premiere the latest visual coming from Cuba's first independent urban music label.

This August, OkayAfrica shines a light on the connections between Africa and the Latin-American world. Whether it's the music, politics or intellectual traditions, Africans have long been at the forefront of Latino culture, but they haven't always gotten the recognition. We explore the history of Afro-Latino identity and its connection to the motherland.

Guámpara Music catches up with OkayAfrica to premiere their music video for their new single, "Cubanéatelo."

Produced by JD Asere, Cuba's first independent urban music label stacked the track with voices you should know: the beastly flow of Niño Fony, the versatile rhythm of El Individuo, the reggae of Cuba Lions with the vocals of DJ Lapiz, the sultry voice of Sigrid and the poetry of Luz De Cuba.

Guámpara explains further that cubanéatelo is a made-up word that refers to a Caribbean state of being when you just have to go with the flow.

The track is perfect for every summer dance party, as the sound nods to the bakosó movement—a contemporary sound coming out of Santiago de Cuba that is heavily afrobeats inspired.


Photo by Mavel Valdes, courtesy of Guampara Music.

The label also translates a bit the lyrics for you to follow along:

Nino Fony opens it up with a killer dancehall intro, welcoming everyone to the party and warming up the crowd. El Individuo flows about the music and rhythm, and closes with a joke about how "hot" his flow is–or is it just the inescapable Havana heat?

DJ Lapiz picks it up from there, merging the themes of Fony and El Individuo: he talks about the heat, the beach, the sun, the party, the people–knocking down borders and assuring the audience that not even the police will shut things down. Then Sigrid drops in as a member of the crowd who's throwing off their "usual routine" and living for the joy of the moment.

Luz de Cuba unifies all of this. She sings of Olurum, the Yoruba god, who encompasses all–the music, the joy of the party, our bodies, the heat of the sun, the sand on the beach, the island of Cuba, the trees and dew and Mother Earth. Enjoy it, she reminds us. Because in the Yoruba faith you are as close to the gods dancing to music at a summer party as you are anywhere else.

Get into "Cubanéatelo" below.

To keep up with Guámpara Music, follow them on YouTube, Facebook, Bandcamp and Instagram.

Revisit DJ Jigüe's 'Afrosekuele' EP here.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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