Arts + Culture

Wayna's Ethiopian Guide To D.C.

'The Expats' Ethiopian-American soulstress Wayna delivers her Ethiopian guide to DC.

It's been a minute since we've rolled out a fresh City Guideyou know, where we enlist our favorite artists to share the best spots in their hometowns. For this series installment we tapped Ethiopian/DC-based songstress Wayna, fresh off the release of The Expats LP. Her latest full length is a celebration of the contradictions that result from being raised with multiple cultures, an exploration of her diasporic upbringing through a concoction of Ethiopian musical heritage and the influence of idols like Ms. Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley. Below, the newly crowned first lady of freak soul discusses the best spots for Ethiopian food, live music, and more in her homebase of Washington, D.C. Listen to The Expats and read on for Wayna's Habesha guide to D.C.

Best Music Venue:

Wayna: My favorite overall music venue in the city is still the 9:30 Club, because the sound is great, it's not too massive, and you can always get a great

view of the stage. But for Ethopian music in particular, Saturday nights at Jolleys in VA and Sunday nights at Babylon in VA is the place to be for most Abeshas.

Best night/event for Ethiopian culture:

Wayna: By far, the best spot for an Ethiopian cultural show is Dukem Restaurant on Wednesday night. There is a traditional Ethiopian band there that sings and plays massinko (violin) and kerar (guitar). The lead singer, Setegn Setenaw did a feature on my new album and literally blew the roof off the studio in two takes. Cats were shaking his hand after like "I don't know what you just did, but thank you!" Definitely, a must see.

Best spot for Ethiopian food:

Wayna: I personally love Dama Restaurant in Pentagon City for their "special shiro" and the Kitfo, which is the best in town. They also have the most amazing bakery next door that sells vegan pastries during fasting season that will blow your mind. They did my wedding cake years ago, and I've been a faithful customer ever since.

Best record shop:

Wayna: Crooked Beats has the best organized vinyl collection in DC I've found, and their world music section is growing. But if you don't mind digging, I've found more than a few gold mines for under $5 at a used bookstore in the basement of the Wheaton Public Library on Georgia Ave, called "Friends of the Library." Props to DJ Roddy Rod for giving me that tip years ago.

Best spot to have a picnic:

Wayna: The drum circle on Sunday afternoons at Malcolm X Park is still one of the best free shows in town and the most energetic. When I had a regular 9 to 5 years ago at the Clinton White House, it was my secret for starting the work week with a bang and reminding myself not to get too caught up in the beltway mindset.

Best coffee in town:

Wayna: Sidamo Coffee on H St NE is incredible and so is Sankofa Cafe on Georgia Ave, where you could also very likely bump into owner and legendary filmmaker Haile Gerima (Sankofa, Teza) and/or find an obscure book or a movie by or about Africans in the adjacent book store. Their 4-espresso-shot "dirty chai" is pretty pretty Larry David good!

Best Ethiopian drink in town:

Wayna: Coffee probably is the best Ethiopian drink, but you can get a nice bottle of 'Tej' Ethiopian honey wine at Addis Ababa Restaurant on Fenton St. in Silver Spring, MD.

Catch up on City Guides from Alec Lomami [Kinshasa], Christian Tiger School [Cape Town], Bombino [U.S. Touring], Blitz the Ambassador [NYC], Just A Band [Nairobi], and Vanessa Mdee [Dar es Salaam]. Wayna's 'The Expats' is out now via Y2 Music.


Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.

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Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Beyoncé Wore These 2 African Designers in Her Music Video for 'Spirit'

Queen Bey continues to include and give a nod to African talent in her visuals.

As we draw even closer to Disney's The Lion King opening in theaters this week, Beyoncé continues to lead the way with her new music video for "Spirit"—the first single off of the film's album she produced and curated, The Lion King: The Gift.

Shot in the Havasu Falls in Arizona's Grand Canyon, Beyoncé and her legion of beautiful dancers are one with nature and its various elements as she beckons us to be brave and hear the calling of spirit. As we noted when she announced the album, the track opens with a call and response in Swahili that translates to "Long live the king": Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme—uishi kwa.

Keeping our eyes peeled for African influences in the music video, it's evident that is seen in the choreography. We even spotted our extended fam with the afrobeats moves—the AVO Boys: Stephen Ojo and Caleb Bonney—as two of her dancers in the video.

Beyoncé continues to also give a nod to African talent through the looks she donned in "Spirit" styled by her mainstay, Zerina Akers.

Take a look at the two African designers she wore in the video below.

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