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Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

Is Zanku Set to Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Breaking down what could become the year's new dance craze.

With last week's release of the video for "Zanku (Leg Work)," Zlatan Ibile has consecrated himself as the originator of the newest dance craze in afropop.

The specific origin of the name 'zanku' is uncertain but the dance itself, says Ibile in this interview from December, is one he noticed from his visits to The Shrine in Lagos and refashioned into a trend.

The best zanku, so far, works best in beats combining repeated foot tapping or pounding, with hands held aloft, and finished with a flourish—a stylised thrusting of one foot as if to knock down a door. Variations include a faster footwork, mimicry of slicing and screwing hand motions and the brandshing of a white kerchief, all of which is done with vigour and attitude.


ZLATAN - ZANKU (LEG WORK) OFFICIAL VIDEO www.youtube.com

Zanku is not new.

It was in Zlatan's video for "Jogor," which was released in back in August of 2018. That music video featured Lil Kesh—who started the shoki dance craze—and Naira Marley whose song "Issa Goal" was a big street and football anthem during the World Cup. But, with a World Cup afoot and the shaku dance at its most popular, the zanku had a slower intake into Nigerian pop consciousness.

The Zanku dance found ample berth in Chinko Ekun's "Able God," released in October of 2018, which features Zlatan and Lil Kesh as well. The video for "Able God" sees all three artists giving individual variations of the dance which, combined with the song's triumphalist theme of "no more insufficient funds," made it an endearing smash hit.

CHINKO EKUN - ABLE GOD ft LIL KESH X ZLATAN IBILE [OFFICIAL VIDEO] www.youtube.com

Zlatan has sensibly capitalised on his invention by making his new single explicitly about the zanku dance and titled after it, in a way that will crystallize the wave as his. That zanku wave is likely to dominate many dance floors, memes and Instagram posts of 2019.

That is not to say that shaku is dead. The footwork and hand gestures of shaku fit snugly with that of zanku. Even with the excitement of a new fun trend and cheap internet access, it could take weeks and probably months for zanku to fully dominate and finally eclipse shaku, as has happened to shakiti bobo and shoki before it.

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Photo: WH Moustapha

Mdou Moctar Announces Debut Album 'Afrique Victime'

The album is a collaboration between Mdou, his band members and his rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane.

Matador Records has announced that the eagerly anticipated album Afrique Victime by Mdou Moctar will be released on May 21.

Afrique Victime is an unprecedented collaboration between Mdou, his band members, and Ahmoudou Madassane, who's been his rhythm guitarist since 2008. The album will present an effortless fusion of Saharan and rock music; melding guitar pyrotechnics, full-blast noise, and field recordings with poetic meditations.

You might have come across Mdou on Off White's "Imaginary TV" channel, who designer Virgil Abloh called, "one of my favorite musicians Rn."

Mdou's desert village Agadez, in rural Niger, is his source of inspiration. He attributes his artistic style to traditional Tuareg melodies and YouTube videos of Eddie Van Halen's six string techniques. Mdou has also worked on film projects. He wrote, produced, and starred in the first Tuareg language film: a remake of Purple Rain called Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai– which translates to "Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It." This earned him approval from his community and popularity across West Africa. This soon led to world tours and albums on the independent US label Sahel Sounds, including 2019's landmark Ilana: The Creator, which earned Mdou an international audience.

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