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Gambia:European Tour Wrap-Up, T. Smallz Tells Fans Thank You, Expect more Projects in 2020
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

T.Smalls

T.Smalls

One of Gambia’s finest singers and songwriter T. Smallz, has commended his fans across Europe for supporting him during his recent European tour in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Belgium was a huge success.

He also commended promoters, Djs, in Europe for having the trust and confidence in him in hiring his service in concerts across Europe, hoping that next year tour will be on fire again.

“You are the best keeping the fire blazing till me meet again let keep the vibes going,”

Katato, as widely called assured his fans across the globe to expect more projects in 2019 and the upcoming album ‘Level Low’

The tour started on 20th July- 30th August, 2019, was organised by Warriors in a Dance and Katato Entertainment, paving the way for many. He is one of Gambian artistes who always tour Europe annually and returns home.

T Smallz performed at revered clubs and entertainment venues such as Pays Club, Club Casablanca, Karlsruhe, Club Calwer Stuttgart, Diamond Dance Café and Halle Saale all in Germany.

He performed at Austria, Vienna; in August entertain the Na Nang Club.

In Italy, he performed at the Playa Catania Lido Jolly Club and the Replay Club in Bologna, after moving to Sweden where he performed at the Styrso festival and then wrapping things up in Belgium.

He was speaking to journalists shortly before leaving the shores of The Gambia, telling them the objective of the tour is to reach out to fan-bases across the globe.

An international star singer, Smallz said the tour is necessary because not only Gambians listen to his golden voice over radio and podcasts. “It is prudent to do more shows in Europe to build a wider audience of followers and contacts, has a studio session with artistes, video shooting, sessions with deejays, producers and promoters across Europe.”

According was huge people are loving the vibes in Europe, as his new ‘Problem’ featuring Lil Omz  was big in Europe and disclosed he shot a video for the song ‘Elafta Elafta’, the first single from his album in-making ‘Level Low’.

“This is a big uplift for my music representing Gambia across the globe and at the same time educating and entertaining my global fans.  I commended all Gambian and non who come to attended the shows in their various cities,” Smallz, also widely referred to as Katato -troublemaker for English, said.

“We commend them, however, we urge them to do more, and to do better for Gambia music to cross borders,” the 2013 Nominated Male artiste of the year said.

He urged Gambian DJs to keep supporting and embracing Gambian music by playing it in their various concerts because a lot of good music is coming outta Gambia.

 

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Universal Music Nigeria releases Jizzle’s Debut Album, ‘Finally’
August 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Jizzle

By: Bakary Ceesay
Jizzle

 Finally, Universal Music Nigeria releases Gambia’s afro pop artiste  Jizzle’s 1st album, Finally.  There have been many months of anticipation for the album, from the Biggest In The Game artist. 

 The album is made up of twelve tracks representing the sounds of Afro pop, Afrobeat, and Afrofuzion with elements of Hip Hop.

The lyrics are very catchy with a sing along type of vibrations with topics that all elements of his fans can identify with.  As a multi-talented artist, Jizzle has produced five songs on the album with the production from top Gambian producers Shyboy, Endy Official, and J Live Music. Machine Man Tim from the UK and J Masta from Sweden also make hot beats on the album.

Jizzle is dubbed as the artist in the Gambia that can take Gambian music to an international market and make it successfully on the mainstream platform.  “My main goal with my music is to take Gambian music to the next level.  Finally means the world to me and I put a lot of myself in it for the world to love and enjoy,” expresses Jizzle.

He features a number of West African Artists, Dip Doundou Guiss, Samba, Peuzzi, Bm Jaay, and Hakill from Senegal.  Shaydee represents Nigeria and Gee from The Gambia.  Jizzle is a very unique type of artist and his style is very different compared to a lot of artists. He is able to capture his audience through a variation of different languages from English to Mandinka, Fula, and Wolof.

 “I am very happy with the response that I have been getting from my first album, Finally.  I feel like the whole world loves this project. The outpour of love and support for my first album has been breathtaking. I am humbled by my fans and ask that continue to buy my music,” explains Jizzle in jubilation.

 Jizzle does not take for granted his natural musical ability and quality. He employs both exuberance and brainpower to pull off conscious, sweet songs viable in today’s pop-culture. Finally, is a testament to Jizzle’s love for music and natural star quality.

 He  is currently embarking on a three-week European Tour in Sweden, Italy, and Germany to promote Finally.  All of his shows will display his dynamic stage presence and performance. ALBUM DOWNLOAD LINK: https://umgafrica.lnk.to/finally

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ADM REMIX OF IDYL’S, ‘SATISFY ME’ OUT NOW
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Off the success of the studio single, ‘Satisfy Me’ released March of this year, Nigerian RnB sensation, Idyl is back with a new project, ‘Satisfy Me the (A.D.M. Remix)’ Pack.

 A Collaboration between the ‘Better Lover’ crooner and music collective, Africa Dance Music (A.D.M), the three-track project is an energetic take on the already upbeat single. A.D.M. is Nigeria’s first dance music collective, focused on introducing the world to Africa’s many variants of dance music. The label was launched and founded by seasoned music producer and DJ, Timi “TMXO” Aladeloba in 2017.

 ‘Satisfy Me (A.D.M. remix pack)’ includes three remixes of the original track, featuring DJ’s Jamie Black, D3an, and Calix. This unusual genre is an African take on electronic dance music, and is quickly carving out a space for itself within the continent.

 The ‘Satisfy Me A.D.M. Remixes’ build on the existing feel-good sound and dancehall vibes heard on the original. This remix pack is bound to be the soundtrack to your summer and is sure to be on every DJ’s playlist.

 You can listen, stream and download Idyl’s ‘Satisfy Me ADM Remix’ Here https://umgafrica.lnk.to/SatisfyMeRemixes

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UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP TO LAUNCH STRATEGIC DIVISION IN NIGERIA
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

FIRST MARQUEE LABEL SIGNINGS INCLUDE ACCLAIMED ARTISTS TEKNO, STONEBWOY, VANESSA MDEE & MR EAZI

L-R_Korede Ogunyomade_ Ezegozie Eze_ Bayo Fatoba_ Efosa Aiyevbomwan.

L-R_Korede Ogunyomade_ Ezegozie Eze_ Bayo Fatoba_ Efosa Aiyevbomwan.

SANTA MONICA/LAGOS, July 17, 2018 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced a significant expansion of operations within Western Africa, with the launch of Universal Music Nigeria. This new strategic division, will operate from a new office in Lagos, under the leadership of seasoned music executive Ezegozie Eze Jr., who has been named General Manager of Universal Music Nigeria.

Eze and his team will support artists from Nigeria, Ghana, and Gambia throughout the continent and beyond, utilizing Universal Music Group’s global networks for wider discovery, marketing, promotion and distribution. Eze, has previously held roles at Channel O Television, Empire Mates Entertainment (Banky W & WizKid) and was a founder of Pan-African creative companies, Republic 54, Alore Group, and Duma Collective, brings vital experience in the Nigerian music market. He will report to Sipho Dlamini, MD, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The label has signed a host of Nigerian-born artists including WurlD, Odunsi (the Engine), Tay Iwar, and Ghanaian-born artists Cina Soul and Stonebwoy. In addition, the label has recently signed marquee deals with acclaimed Banku singer and songwriter Mr Eazi for pan-African releases, co-signed Nigerian artist Tekno in conjunction with Island Records UK and Tanzanian singer and songwriter Vanessa Mdee in conjunction with AfroForce1 Records/Universal Music Central Europe/Universal Music South Africa. These two signings mark the first time UMG labels from the two continents have combined to sign and release African artists globally, with other artist partnerships in the pipeline with UMG labels from around the world.

In making the announcement, Dlamini said, “In recent years there has been an increase in visibility of Nigerian and Ghanaian music and its influence on contemporary music around the world. Eze and his team are perfectly placed to support, nurture and help develop artists and musicians from the region, whilst creating opportunities for new talent from the region to reach the widest possible audience.”

Eze commented, “I am delighted to be officially launching Universal Music’s Nigerian division at such an exciting time for African music around the world. The world’s largest music company opening an office within the region is a huge statement of belief in our local music talent. The signings we have already made show our ambition to help our artists reach the widest global audience and we are looking forward to working closely with our UMG label partners around the world to make that happen.”

This new division will work in partnership with existing UMG operations throughout the continent including Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco and alongside key markets across English-speaking Africa in order to offer artists comprehensive opportunities throughout the region and provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success.

Universal Music Group operates two successful live music companies within Africa, both of which will also have divisions within Universal Music Nigeria. Launched in 2017 in Johannesburg, UMG Live Africa has quickly become one of the leading talent booking agencies within the continent. It has succesfully helped redefine the role of a booking agency within Africa, with a broad roster of artists made up of both UMG talent and non-UMG signed artists making more than 600 performances throughout 2017. ULive Africa was founded in 2016 and is engaged in staging, producing, programming and hosting large-scale live concerts and events throughout Africa including Runway Jazz, the innaugral African Comedy Awards, Lekki Sunsplash (30th Anniversary Edition), The Music Industry Awards in Nigeria, Afrochella and Baskets & Wine in Ghana, and Cocktails in the Wild in Uganda and Nigeria, with several other exciting projects in the pipeline.

Universal Music Group is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of its divisions including CanalOlympia, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout the continent.

Universal Music Nigeria is currently developing plans to open a recording studio in Lagos in order to further advance the recording facilities available to local African talent. It will become UMG’s second fully purposed studio within Africa, alongside the existing facility in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Through these strategic investments, initiatives and executive appointments, UMG is accelerating the company’s focus on growing the entire African music ecosystem including recorded music, music publishing, production, live events, brand partnerships and merchandising efforts.

Stoneboy

Stoneboy

Universal Music Nigeria (UMGNG) is a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, with strategic divisions in more than 60 countries worldwide. UMGNG covers neighbouring English speaking-markets within Western Africa including Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia. UMGNG is committed to A&R, artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship in broadening opportunities for African artists both domestically and internationally, creating new and innovative experiences for fans whilst supporting the local music ecosystem in Nigeria and throughout the continent. UMGNG includes several key business units that operate alongside its recorded music, music publishing and audiovisual content divisions including UMGB (creative and brand partnerships division), ULive Africa (live events & production company), UMG Live Africa (talent booking and management), and Bravado (360 full-service merchandise company). These business divisions are structured to work with both UMG signed and independent talent within Nigeria and other African markets. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.ng.

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com

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Claudio Oben On Defying The 6TH
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Destiny Kwenchia

Claudio Oben

With the world premiere set for the USA on April 8th, Actor and Producer Claudio Oben discusses Defying the 6th, his latest production. I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet, says the hard working actor who also stars in Defying the 6th.

Your latest film defying the 6th hits is set to premiere in the days ahead, what is the movie about?

The movie is about the causes of suicides, struggles and trauma that people deal with that eventually if not strong enough drive people to commit suicide.

What message do you seek to convey in that film?

For this film, I seek to start a conversation with people in dark places in their lives or with people who know someone in a dark place that we hear them, we can share their pain and ending one’s life if not the only way out.

Where was the movie shot and could you introduce the cast for us?

The movie was shot 90% in Cameroon and 10% in the United  States. Main Cast: Claudio Oben (Myself), Berlinda Nahbila, Malvis Ann, Lucie Memba and Libota MacDonald.

Where would you rank Defying the 6th in terms of other movies you have produced and starred in?

To me, it’s really not a matter of ranking but more of growth and like anything we do in life, the more you do it, better you get at it. So, as a filmmaker, I believe I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet

What were some of the challenges faced in the production of the movie?

Besides the regular challenges you face when dealing with schedules of a hand full of people, it was more so filming in Cameroon, something I had not done in my career yet. I had to learn and understand the way it is done there and at the same time implement my findings on set on the fly, so it was a huge experience that made me learn a lot.

You have been one of the key actors trying to promote the put Cameroon film industry, how is it

doing and what else needs to be done to get it better?

The Cameroon Industry, just like every industry on cooperation that is belt on talent, art and passion has grown a great deal and it just keeps getting better. That is very evident with the quality and quantity of good film being produced under that umbrella so its a good time to be part of that family.

And for what else needs to be done better: We the artist, be it producers, actors, directors and all need to remember that without us the art dies, so we need to concentrate more on the art and forget about fame and recognition. Those things come by default when the work is done right.

Could you share more information about the Premiere, venue, fees, and any other side shows taking place ?

DT6 will be premiered in MD this Sunday, April 8th, 2018 at the Old Greenbelt Theatre from 7pm-11pm. Tickets for that are $20 even and can be purchased at the gate or on eventbrite. Thereafter, it will be premiered in Cameroon. on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 at the Mountain Hotel in Buea. Tickets for those are: 5000 cfa-Regular, 10.000 cfa-VIP (Comes with 2 drinks), Tables- 50.000 cfa.

 

What next for Claudio Oben after Defying the 6th, any other projects coming up?

After the premieres and film festival runs, Claudio Oben and Zeallmatic pictures will get back to work, if not already in the works for the spin-offs of DT6. That’s all I am allowed to reveal for now.

Thanks for talking to PAV                           

Thank you so much for having me and hope to see you at the premiere. Stay blessed.

 

 

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Kenyan band takes Afro-pop music worldwide
June 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Ilya Gridneff*

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Not many musicians can boast they’ve made U.S. President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes. But Kenya’s Afro-pop band, Sauti Sol, did just that.

Obama, whose father hails from a village in western Kenya, put his heritage on full display at a state dinner in Kenya last July when he boogied down to the traditional Lipala dance that the band revived with their hit song “Sura Yako.”

“Singing and dancing with the world’s most powerful man was incredible,” said Bien-Aime Baraza, a vocalist for the four-man band. “He really was feeling us. It was wonderful for Kenya.”

A savvy mix of catchy tunes, appealing looks and social media promotion has brought success to Sauti Sol, Swahili for voices in the sun. The band has worked to make traditional East African music cool again, said Rand Pearson, who runs Nairobi’s hip monthly, UP Magazine.

“I first remember seeing Sauti Sol in a dingy Nairobi club 10 years ago. My first impression was that finally there it was, a modern pop version of Kenyan music,” he said, crediting the band’s growth internationally to “visionary management, styling and its ever-evolving musical talent.”

Sauti Sol’s have won a number of international awards including the All African Music Awards Best African Group in 2015 and MTV’s Best African Act.

Pop music is big in Africa, where there are more than 200 million in the 15-to-24 year age group. It is also big business. The entertainment and media industries of Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya together will grow to be worth $24 billion in 2018, according to a 2014 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The band recently toured Kenya and performed in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.

In November last year Sauti Sol launched their latest album “Live and Die in Afrika” free on their website, the first Kenyan album to be released online. The demand was so high that the site crashed and soon it was offered on the website of Safaricom, East Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator with more than 25 million subscribers.

“This is testament to the fact that an increasing number of users in this market are using high speed data connectivity to access a whole new world of entertainment,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom,

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta booked the band for his inauguration in 2013. “He definitely likes our music. We’ve even played at his last private birthday party,” said Savara Mudigi, drummer, vocalist and producer for the band.

The band, whose members grew up in modest conditions in Nairobi, are now gaining fame across the continent. Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama invited Sauti Sol to play at the West African country’s national holiday in March.

Social media is one of the main driving forces propelling Sauti Sol to African and worldwide audiences, according to band manager Marek Fuchs.

“Cheaper handsets and data plans have allowed the fans to be continuously in touch with the group and we strive to give them a dynamic and interactive story to follow every day,” he said.

Sauti Sol has a dedicated social media team who, along with the band members themselves, run campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, competitions on Instagram, instrument tutorials, Q&As and behind-the-scenes snippets on Snapchat and YouTube.

“We also have to adjust our strategy to fit the local context, language and time zones. It is a balancing act between posting for our traditional Kenyan base, our pan-African and worldwide fan base in different time zones,” he said.

Willis Austin Chimano, a vocalist, said this strategy is new for Africa.

“You’ve got to get with the times. More and more Africans are online, on their phones, using social media and that’s where we are,” he said.

Despite their international successes Sauti Sol remain with their feet firmly on Kenyan soil. The band members say their latest album is an ode to loving and loathing the good and bad of Kenya and the continent.

 

*Source AP/Washington Post

 

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From Claudio Oben Comes “The Portrait”
August 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

Claudio Oben Claudio Oben[/caption] Fans may know him more as a talented actor and Claudio Oben’s  stock may soar even higher when his talents as producer go public with the world premiere of “The Portrait,” on September 5th in Largo, Md. Ahead of the premiere, the multi-talented , hardworking actor, and producer found time to answer a few questions from PAV on his latest film ,and perspectives on the African movie industry. Your latest movie “The Portrait” is set for its world premiere in the days ahead, can you tell us about this latest production “THE PORTRAIT” is a story about learning to love, appreciating our partners and the little things they do for us. What message did you seek to send to your audience with The Portrait?  The message I wanted to pass across with this film was for us to remember that we don’t know what tomorrow holds so, lets hold on tight to those we love, other than live with regret.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIiIc-y4hWs&feature=youtu.be Can you walk us through the cast of the film? Yes we have a very concentrated cast with the lead actress being Berlinda Nahbila who played Lucy, Kyle Burgess who played Jason Anthony, Debbie Hartner who played Jessie Anthony, and finally Winstina Taylor who played Dr. Taylor. 11750648_10207029929725046_1345309253277514036_nWhat were some of the challenges that you face in the production of The Portrait?  The main challenges producing “THE PORTRAIT” was mainly funding because being an independent filmmaker gets challenging getting locations, paying the actors and the entire management of the film. Claudio Oben is better known as an actor, how did you transition into production?  It was a fun transition for me because I have always been fascinated about how the craft of filmmaking goes. So that alone fuelled my obsession to get into production.   What is your overall take on movies produced by Africans, the talent is there, the market is there but people feel there is something still missing, you are a professional in the setting, what is still missing?  In a few words, what is missing in the industry this far is support and financing.  Support in the sense that we can do all the films but if we don’t the basic support from the community, them the question is why are we making these films. And for the financial aspect, making these films are becoming more expensive so the financial support from sponsors and potential executive producers so we can make these films the way the public wants to see them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSNjrcltCRQ&feature=youtu.be   As you become more established in the movies what lessons have you learned and what advice do you have for aspiring actors and actresses seeking to make a break through? Make every scene you are offered or you have to play your first and your last because you never know who is watching or who will catch interest in you craft. And never ever let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. Any additional information on the world premiere, where to get tickets and any other side events that would accompany the event? 10972_10202538264688934_6067543207882278629_n The event will be filled of fun I guarantee you. We will have various performances to say the least, from super talented artist in the DMV area. For the rest you will have to come attend to see for yourself. What next for Claudio Oben after The Portrait?  Two things: “CAPTIVE” the series and “WHO KILLED MARY JANE?” Good luck Sir and thanks for the interview It was great talking with you and hope to see you at the premiere.   The link to purchase the tickets is below: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-portrait-movie-premiere-tickets-17819328090?ref=estw]]>

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Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwe's Cultural Advocate In Exile
May 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

Thomas Mapfumo performs on stage during Live 8, Africa Calling, in 2005. Matt Cardy/Getty Images Thomas Mapfumo performs on stage during Live 8, Africa Calling, in 2005.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images[/caption] As Bob Marley is to Jamaicans or Fela Kuti is to Nigerians, Thomas Mapfumo is to Zimbabweans. The bandleader is a superstar in his home country, both for his masterful blending of traditional sounds with world music and for his powerful political messages. Mapfumo has been a tireless critic of the colonial government of former Southern Rhodesia, as well as the dictatorship that presently rules Zimbabwe. Music critic Banning Eyre has written a new biography of Mapfumo and compiled an album of his music, both titled Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo And The Music That Made Zimbabwe. Eyre recently joined NPR’s Robert Siegel to discuss Mapfumo’s music and his career of moving people — both on the dance floor and in their political views. “He is a singer and a bandleader,” Eyre says, “but also an activist: a social critic who has kept in his heart the interests of poor people and rural people and people who become the victims of governments, whether it’s the white, racist Rhodesian regime or the corrupt regime of Robert Mugabe. He’s a politician in the sense that he has really moved the politics of the country forward. But really, at a deeper level, he’s an advocate of culture.” One element that stands out in Mapfumo’s music is the way he uses a traditional thumb piano called the mbira, which Eyre explains is believed to have the ability to contact the spirits of ancestors. Mapfumo translates music traditionally played on thembira — a repertoire of songs thought to have been around since ancient times — to the electric guitar. “And so, when Mapfumo started putting that music on electric guitars in the 1970s and singing songs that were both bringing forward the culture but also attacking the regime and encouraging fighters,” Eyre says, “it was a really powerful package.” Other former British colonies in Africa saw black-majority governments take over once given independence, but in Southern Rhodesia, colonial whites declared their own independence and wanted to remain a white-ruled country. A 1977 song, “Pamuromo Chete (It’s Only Talk),” was Mapfumo’s response to a statement by the leader of the white government, Ian Smith.   https://youtu.be/kftTRXZuyOY   “Smith had declared that there would never be a black-majority government, not in a thousand years, so Mapfumo was right there with his response: ‘You’re just talking, it’s only talk,'” Eyre says. “And he was right. Within a few months, Smith had to walk that back. And you can hear this kind of moral authority in [Mapfumo’s] voice in that song. This is the moment when he’s really discovering that he can harness traditional rhythms, melodies and attitudes and make it really sting.” Now living in exile in Oregon due to his outspoken criticism of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, Mapfumo yearns to go home, according to Eyre. “He still has this … sense of unfinished business: that he’s needed at home,” Eyre says. “He tries his best to record music and release it, but you never really lose that restlessness, that desire to get back.” *Source NPR]]>

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Nairobi’s Matatu Culture Makes it To Hollywood in Upcoming Netflix Series
May 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

nawakucarter-710x434From Tomb Raider being shot on Kenyan soil to Lupita Winning an Oscar to the ever constant Edi Gathegi, Kenyan talent and abilities can be ranked up their with the best if the potential is factored in. it so happens that Kenyan talent is only recognized after one makes it big anywhere else but not here In an upcoming series, Sense8, that will air on Netflix, a number of Kenyan talents have been. Not only that but actual shooting was also done locally, at least some of it. The definitive matatu culture is featured briefly in the trailer albeit in an understated manner. The synopsis:

Sense8 will tell the story of eight strangers from different cultures and parts of the world, who, in the aftermath of a tragic death, suddenly find themselves mentally and emotionally connected – an evolutionary leap of technological origin. While trying to figure why this happened and what it means for the future of mankind, a mysterious and powerful man named Jonas will try to bring the eight together, while another stranger called Mr. Whispers and his organization will attempt to hunt them down to capture or assassinate them. Each episode will focus on one character and their story.
The series will be available on Netflix by Jun 5th and of the Kenyan faces on it are, Biko Nyongesa, Chichi Seii who’ll reportedly play Capheus’ mother, Lwanda Jawar as Githu, the leader of Superpower, a vigilante gang, Paul Ogola as Jela, Peter King Mwania as a crime lord named Silas Kabaka.   *Source Naije.com   https://youtu.be/iKpKAlbJ7BQ]]>

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Rapper Jay Z Wants To Invest In Nigerian Music Industry
May 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

jayzJay Z, one of the most financially successful Hip-Hop artists in the United States, unveiled this venture just a month after the launch of his new company Tidal, “the first music service with High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos, and Curated Editorial, expertly crafted by music journalists.”

 

American rapper, record producer, and business mogul Shawn Corey Carter, known by his stage name Jay Z, is reportedly on the verge of expanding his business empire by investing in the Nigerian music industry.

Jay Z, one of the most financially successful Hip-Hop artists in the United States, unveiled this venture just a month after the launch of his new company Tidal, “the first music service with High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos, and Curated Editorial, expertly crafted by music journalists.” Just a few weeks ago, Nigerian rapper Ice Prince of Chocolate City records shared photos of he and Jay Z via social media, hinting he’s in talks with Roc Nation. Mr. Carter has also sent his cousin, Brian ‘Bee-High’ Biggs, currently the director of mobile strategies at Roc Nation to Nigeria on a mission to scout for new talents for the company (Tidal). Biggs has also been seen with Don Jazzy, a Nigerian Multi award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter, musician, and CEO of the Mavin Records label at their studio headquarters in Lagos. *Source Sahara Reporters]]>

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Ethiopian cinema focuses on prostitution
March 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Price of Love, in Amharic, has been nominated for Africa's top film award at the Fespaco festivalEthiopian scriptwriter and film director Hermon Hailay says she grew up close to prostitutes.

“I know them as young, beautiful women, mothers, sisters and friends,” she tells me at a popular cinema in the middle of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “I always wanted to tell their story, because I know it well. As a kid, I did not see the shame in what they do.” At just 28, Ms Hermon has already written and directed three feature films, all tackling social issues like poverty and the perils of rural to urban migration. She was getting ready to travel to Burkina Faso for Africa’s biggest film festival Fespaco, where her latest film, Price of Love, has been nominated for the top prize. It follows the life of a young taxi driver who in the course of his job falls in love with a prostitute.

Hermon Hailay speaks about her latest film Price of Love

He is then forced to confront his past, having been raised by his mother, who also earned her living from prostitution. This is not uncommon in Ethiopia where prostitution is widespread, but is at times spoken of in low tones. Despite the country’s impressive and fast-growing economy, a large part of the population still lives on less than a dollar a day. Every evening, heavily made up “business ladies”, as they are called, line up on Addis Ababa’s streets in short skimpy dresses. “In the three movies I have done before, I had small roles of prostitutes and I always wanted to have a major role in one of them,” says Ms Hermon. “It’s of course a very controversial topic and people ask me why I include such roles in my movies but I think we have never told enough, and if we think prostitution is bad, we should change that by loving them, not shunning them – that is the message of my movie.” ‘Change a life’

Ethiopia is full of film lovers and most evenings you will see long queues at local cinema halls showing the latest Amharic language and Western releases.

[caption id="attachment_16940" align="alignright" width="300"]Cinemas showing the latest releases are popular in Addis Ababa Cinemas showing the latest releases are popular in Addis Ababa[/caption] “I have seen the trailer and it’s a movie I just can’t wait to watch because it’s not only based on reality but more importantly has a message in it,” says Arega Bekele, who runs a restaurant often frequented by people leaving a nearby cinema. Twenty-eight-year-old Meseret, who was in a cinema queue and had seen the trailer, agrees. “Out there, one of those beautiful young ladies will watch that movie and it will change her life forever,” she says. Across town at a restaurant frequented by middle-class Addis Ababans, I met three young people having their lunch who had seen Price of Love. They were more critical about the film, feeling it did not offer anything new. “This is just a regular story that has been told over and over again in Ethiopia,” says one of them, an office manager. “It’s of course a difficult issue to tackle here and many young girls are just getting into it because of the money they get,” she says. But while there may be critics, many agree that Ms Hermon deserves praise for bringing the Ethiopian film industry into the limelight. Price of Love was filmed by a crew of just eight people – all Ethiopians. Max Conil, a producer born and raised in the UK, was a consultant on the film and says their work ethic and dedication was exceptional. “It doesn’t matter if they win at Fespaco or not. This is already a big win not only for them but also Ethiopia’s film industry,” he says. Ms Hermon believes Ethiopian films can compete with the best in the continent and on the international scene. “Just look at our neighbours Kenya, beyond to Nigeria and South Africa, we have the culture, the stories and the people, we can be like them,” she says. *Source BBC]]>

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Angelique Kidjo Wins Her Second Grammy
February 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

“This Album Is Dedicated To The Women Of Africa”

By Farai Gundan*

  240x_mg_xcs1wji77p_244872593062_4361087174775The new year has been off to a great start for world-renowned singer, songwriter and activist, Angelique Kidjo. Ms. Kidjo who first won a Grammy back in 2008 for her eighth studio album ‘Djin Djin’ which included a star-studded list of guest artists ranging from Branford Marsalis, Ziggy Marley, Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana to Peter Gabriel, won the 2015 Crystal Award in a ceremony opening the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 21st. Along with two other exceptional artists, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, Ms. Kidjo who was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2002, received the Crystal Awards for “not only being world famous artists but also concerned with humanitarian issues and committed to using their time and energy to make a difference,” said Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Entrepreneurship. “I want to dedicate this crystal award to the women of my continent. They are the backbone of Africa. I cannot be who I am without them. To all the women of the world, what you do is priceless; it is not a matter of color, of language, of nationality,” said Ms. Kidjo receiving the 2015 Crystal Award.

Continuing with her winning streak, last night at the 57th annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples SPLS -0.96% Center in Los Angeles, California, the revered musician who was born in Cotonou, Benin, won her second Grammy for her 2014 album ‘EVE’ in the ‘World Music’ category that included Brazilian bossa nova legend Sergio Mendes and sitar player and composer, Anoushka Shankar. Receiving her Grammy award during a pre-telecast ceremony, Ms. Kidjo the first woman to be listed on FORBES’ 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa, said, “this album is dedicated to the women of Africa, to their beauty and resilience. Women of Africa, you rock! For me, music is a weapon of peace and today more than ever, as artists we have a role to play in the stability of this world.”

The 54 year-old artist, whose work with UNICEF focuses on girls’ education in partnership with her non-rofit organization, Batonga Foundation, has called for swifter action to contain the Ebola outbreak and advocated for increased efforts to improve the public healthcare system in West Africa in the wake of the epidemic.

*Source Forbes

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