Music Brief
Still from Djembe Monks

Djembe Monks' new single "Nhliziyo Yam'" is a fusion of djembe drums, techno and deep house.

Listen to Djembe Monks' New House Single 'Nhliziyo Yam' Featuring Thandy Dhlana

Zimbabwean afro-house collective Djembe Monks' latest single, featuring Thandy Dhlana, is a soothing tribal house dance track (perfect for the heartbroken).

Zimbabwean drumming collective Djembe Monkshave returned with a new, grounded house single "Nhliziyo Yam", with vocals from the melodic Thandy Dhlana who also co-wrote the song. This follows their resoundingly successful single "Rainmaker" that dropped in August 2020. "Nhliziyo Yam'" is a fusion of djembe drums, techno and deep house which reminds us to guard our hearts after experiencing a spate of heartbreaks.

The track carries elevating piano keys that create a spirit-sweeping effect. Staying true to their form, Djembe Monks' distinct tribal sound resonates with both dance-floor regulars and fans of alternative, yet modern African music. Thandy Dhlana's lyrics convey a heavy-laden heartsore message in which she forewarns love interests from encroaching upon her heart. All music fans, even those new to Djembe Monks' sound, will fall for the track instantly.


The collective is invested in creating music that calls people to gather, dance and celebrate. Their 2020 single "Rainmaker" was later accompanied by amazing visuals and choreography depicting the traditional rain dance ritual by the BaKalanga people of North Eastern Zimbabwe. The track, released in the midst of the global pandemic, pointed to water scarcity as another pandemic. Message wise, "Nhliziyo Yam'" verges on a different tangent , yet maintains Djembe Monks' ethos to remember self, to return to the soil and free movement, as shared in an interview with Eventive.

"We love travelling and dancing. Dancing is one of our favourite things. When on the dance floor we are free. It's our way of motion meditation. The dance-floor is our church, really. It makes us happy... Our sessions gather people together in a musical ritual of pure, unadulterated foot-stomping, graceless dancing, if you will, maybe without art or skill but most certainly with some enjoyment!

Djembe Monks have been around since 2010. The trio thrives on concerts and joy shared between people. They have performed at various music festivals, including the Victoria Falls Carnival, Intwasa Festival KoBulawayo, HIFA and Shoko Festival which have since been halted in light of the pandemic.

Djembe Monk's last album release was their 2015 EP Bang The Drum EP, which came after Deep Love Drums, released in 2013. We're crossing our fingers that there's a full album in the works.

Listen to "Nhliziyo Yam'" on Spotify.

Listen to "Nhliziyo Yam'" on Apple Music.



News Brief
Photo by Jekesai Njikizana

Zimbabwean Author Tsitsi Dangarembga Found Guilty of Instigating Violence

The renowned novelist was given a suspended prison sentence for her role in staging a peaceful civil rights protest.

Celebrated Zimbabwean author, award-winning film maker, and cultural activist Tsitsi Dangarembga has been given a suspended prison sentence after she was found guilty for inciting violence by the masses after she planned a peaceful protests to demand political reform. Dangarembga, who is also an activist, was initially arrested in 2020.


In 2020 Dangarembga, along with another activist, Julie Barnes, got arrested while holding placards calling on the government to reform some of it's policies and release investigative journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, who was also accused of inciting violence for speaking out against the Zimbabwean government. In addition to receiving a suspended sentence, Dangarembga and Barnes were each charged 70,000 Zimbabwean dollars, which is an equivalent of $217.39 USD.

Dangarembga's six-month jail term was suspended for the next five years on the condition that she would not repeat what happened. Since news of the event broke, PEN International has since shared a statement condemning the actions, and calling the conviction a "mockery of justice." In 2021, Dangarembga was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize by English PEN. In the same year, Dangarembga, became the first Black woman to win the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

Since news of the verdict broke, several social media users also went online to share their thoughts on the recent development, with many supporting Dangarembga, and others agreeing with the verdict.

Last month, we spoke to Dangarembga about this case and her work. She told us:

"I think the state targets dissenting voices. Some of those dissenting voices are women’s voices... I think the effect of taking action against women is particularly shocking because women’s dissident voices are usually not violent. Peaceful protest is a constitutional right in Zimbabwe.”

News Brief
Photo: Ayra Starr/Orienteer.

Ayra Starr & Kelly Rowland Connect For Ultra Sultry "Bloody Samaritan" Remix

"I've always been a huge fan of Kelly Rowland, and when this came up, I could barely keep in the excitement," mentions the young Mavin Records star.


Ayra Starr has joined creative forces with Kelly Rowland to create a remix of her "Bloody Samaritan" record. The Mavin Records artist has been putting effort into her craft, and her recent collaboration with Rowland is an indication of her growing musical prowess.

Connecting with Rowland, who is a music icon, is another step in the right direction for the young Afro-pop star. The initial release of "Bloody Samaritan" was a well-received record that amassed over 60 million TikTok views and was also featured on BBC Radio's 1Xtra—the remix is equally as enjoyable. Although it retains the sound of the original song, it has its unique ambiance, which fuses elements of Afrobeats, Afro-pop and smooth R&B.

Starr continues to rise in the global music scene and her recent collaboration with Spotify has the potential to skyrocket the musical influence of the newcomer globally. Artists like Starr are increasingly pushing the envelope as it relates to collaborating with bigger names in the music world, which was something that was not as rampant a few years ago. While discussing the collaboration, Starr shared her excitement about the record and her admiration for Rowland.

"I've always been a huge fan of Kelly Rowland, and when this came up, I could barely keep in the excitement! While recording this, Kelly made me feel so comfortable and relaxed, something I really appreciate," said Starr. "She was super amazing! and I was able to hold my own alongside a legend, and I can't wait to share this new music with you all!"

Although Ayra Starr is one of the youngest artists in the Afro-pop world, she has already been making a solid impression among fans and music analysts. In an NME piece, the publication described Starr as “the teen leading her generation’s sonic revolution.” Her stage presence, confidence, and overall "je ne sais quoi" essence have proven that the Gen-Z pioneer is ready to continue to put her name and genre on the map.

Listen to Ayra Starr and Kelly Rowland's "Bloody Samaritan" remix below!

Music
Photo credit: Paras Griffi

Asake Has to Add Third O2 Academy Show After Selling Out in Minutes

As he climbs up the ladder of global superstardom, Asake continues to break glass ceilings and crash websites.

Asake has been making undeniable waves with his music and mass appeal, and his recent O2 Academy ticket sales are proof of that.

The new Afrobeats sensation recently sold out London's O2 Academy venue for his upcoming UK stint. Amidst the buzz of the sold out show, the official account of the O2 Academy took to social media to share that Asake would be headlining two additional shows at the event's center. Although the original date was slated for the 11th of December, the high demand for tickets pushed organizers to add on two more dates to the 11th, and "Mr. Money With The Vibe" will also now perform on the 12th and the 15th.

Asake's career trajectory has been swift, yet packed with back to back hits and critical acclaim. The Lagos-born artist first got his major big break when Olamide signed him to YBNL. His long trail of chart-topping records have quickly earned him the attention of fans, airplay and recognition. The Afrobeats singer's success, though sudden, has helped to propel him to the upper echelon of musical acts coming out of Africa. Because of the versatility of his sound, listeners have quickly gravitated towards his content. His ascent into superstardom has also ignited intrigue and conversation, inspiring many fans to root for him, because of his initial reputation as the underdog. Although he had received some recognition in 2020 after he released his "Mr. Money" single, 2022 was the year that he would gain the admiration and respect of his peers, as well as a bevy of fans and commercial success.

Though still a newcomer, Asake has proven that he is not a typical Afrobeats artist. His unique ability to fuse different Afro-inspired sounds from Fuji to Amapiano have made him a rare talent. He has also amplified the depth of most of his songs by merging different genres and articulating them with Yoruba language and the broken English spoken in some of the most intricate parts of Lagos. Those elements perhaps, are what have made Asake one of the most marketable and likable Afrobeats artists in recent time.

Popular
Photo by: Screenshot from The Daily Show'

"My Time is Up:" Trevor Noah Talks About Leaving 'The Daily Show' After 7 Years

The South African comedian announced that he would be leaving the Comedy Central series after his seven-year tenure.

Trevor Noah announced that he will be leaving The Daily Show after seven years.

In his statement Noah described his experience hosting the show as "absolutely amazing."

“It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s something that I never expected,” Noah said. “I found myself thinking throughout the time of everything we’ve gone through. The Trump presidency, the pandemic, just the journey, more pandemic and I realize that after the seven years, my time is up.”

Following the departure of Jon Stewart from the show in 2015, the South African comedian became the show's host, and has since interviewed the likes of Barack Obama, Burna Boy, Davido and a host of other notable public figures. The 38-year-old has also used his platform to elevate African artistry and elevate the African experience. Noah alluded to the idea that his decision to leave the show was inspired partly by his interest in returning to stand up comedy and exploring his skillset that way. Noah also thanked his viewers for giving him an opportunity when he first came on the American scene as a comedian who very few knew about.

“I spent two years in my apartment, not on the road, and when I got back out there, I realized there’s another part of my life out there that I want to carry on exploring. I miss learning other languages. I miss going to other countries and putting on shows,” said Noah.

Noah also referred to the show as "one of the greatest joys" of his life, and has credited the show for helping him hone his creative muscle.

“I’ve loved hosting this show, it’s been one of my greatest challenges and one of my greatest joys,” Noah said. “I’ve loved trying to find a way to make people laugh, even when the stories are particularly shitty, even on the worst days. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together.”

Although he did not make any comments about his last day on the show, or exactly when he would exit, he did humorously say that he would not abruptly leave without prior warning.

“Don’t worry, I’m not disappearing,” said Noah. “If I owe you money, I’ll still pay you.”

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