Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Same Question - Lady Gaga / Nicki Minaj "feel pre-judged"

Nicki's getting signed, Gaga's dealing with crazy rumors and I'm really struck by these two women, younger than me and forced to answer these questions regarding their work & their bodies...

Gaga (starts at :50) - Calls the interviewer out on his "concerns" about how her sexuality 'distracts/detracts/etc' arent concerns (ie shes already made it) for her but concerns that she *should* be worried about her loose image. makes a point about whose work is considered 'sexual' and whose isnt.
Backpeddling, she then goes on to distance herself from feminism, b/c she 'loves men' and has a nostagic view of americana masculinity.

Nicki - Prods him about his question, like what are you really asking me? Lets talk about my MUSIC, thnx. She sadly makes some comments about 'sluts not being on her team' as if this guy has any right to judge her/any girls sex life, but is trying to hit him back that you cant assume shes easy or whatever b/c of how she dresses.

Maybe theyre not saying everything I want them to be saying, but damn. Its hard, these girls trying to navigate their image when guys can flood the video wih writhing women, but the second a girl who looks like that steps out of the background and grabs the mike THEN its somehow sexual. Like, what does that say about how we see video girls, let alone female musicians?

Still I rise / Still I fight / Still I might crack a smile / Keep my eyes on the prize / see my haters tell 'em HI! / One day you'll remember this / One day when we reminisce / Nothing I do ever is, good enough for the music biz

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


A while back I posted about ghettoradio, an ngo who make mini documentaries on "ghetto culture" and host radio in different parts of Africa. They have a new piece called "The Ivory Tower vs. The Streets". Its a few interviews of mostly nairobi students about what it means to have a hiphop academia, their opinions of researchers, what research might look like, who can talk for hiphop, how involved do you have to be to write about a culture.

Again, I'm not a fan of the title and some of the assumptions in how its framed, and I still think 'ghetto' is a pretty poor description of urban africa or african hiphop - not only because it can be offensive but because of its limited applicability. That said, its def interesting and everyones making cool points. It also makes me stoked to visit fam there soon, any ideas on whats up around Nairobi or midwestern Kenya let me know. All three parts are below.


I also recently emailed folks @ Nomadic Wax about their new Democracy in Burundi mixtape. "The concept for the ‘Democracy in Burundi’ was born after journalist-turned-politician, Alexis Sinduhije, was illegally incarcerated in November 2008. In response, emcees from Nomadic Wax have collaborated with presidential hopeful Sinduhije’s political party, the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD), to present this mixtape."

Previously, they profiled hiphops influence in senegalese politics suggesting hiphop was a tool to demand / organize greater accountibility from Wade. This time, they are actively promoting a politician, which I was curious about:

what is the point of this mixtape? ... Do funds given to nomadic wax help suppport alexis financially? Is his mixtape something that will be spread around in burundi, actually used as part of his campaign?

Initially, the mixtape project was focused on gathering interest and focus on Alexis' imprisonment and the elections in Burundi. In addition, through using different rappers from across the continent, it was an effort to get youth (who make up large percentages of the population in most african countries) interested and involved, across border lines.

The project, as it moved forward, worked in helping achieve the first goal. Alexis was released. Since then, it has become a good tool for gathering both local and international interest in his campaign. No other campaigns have pan-african hip hop mixtapes in their campaign arsenal/toolkit. ... We translated the press release into swahili, french, and kirundi and those materials have been used on the ground in Burundi by the campaign (some thing we at nomadic wax aren't involved in).
As the mixtape is a free download, no money has been made off of it or will be made off of it. None of the artists were paid- they donated their time to the cause, as did the music producers, and the graphic designers, and the translators.

<a href="">Democracy in Burundi Mixtape by Nomadic Wax</a>

I don't really know enough about Burundi to comment on this. Kinda weird, but Nomadic Wax seem like good peoplez.


For lovers of floral prints, race/gender examinations and nyc art, youre in luck. Kehinde Wiley has a show 'Black Light' sept 3-26 @ grand street - check out the slideshow here. Yinka Shonibare's show just moved to Newark <3.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

c deuxième gaou ki est niata ohhahh

This is my fav track from a mix picked up in lil senegal, in the porn/luggage selling place across from africa kine. Its a little old school sounding, afrobeat meets zouglou with badass lyrics. I always thought it was interesting that Magic System considered themselves zouglou, despite being the biggest group involved in the popularization of Coupe-Decale. Their older work is clearly zouglou, tho it often blends, zouglou less choppy/dancey on the more lyrically driven side of things.

Magic System - Premiere Gaou

musings on place/space:

Magic System - Un Gaou a Paris

Yode et Siro - Quel est mon pays?

What do you thinkkkkk / Trolls & Baiting

blah, Im trying to hash a lot of things out here. As much as 'ghettotech' grows on me as a scene, it certainly involves a lot of reckoning, doesnt it?

I want to avoid a common attack theme tho, which often raise issues as 'gotcha' moments proving the supposed huge racism/sexism of those spoiled hipster kids.[here,here,etc] Hipster audiences might have complicated and jarring relations and our fair share of delusional bigots, but I'm not convinced its so much more complicated and fraught than race relations in America as a whole. It also ignores the mixed backgrounds, huges #s of PoCs, women amoung them.

Mad Decent in particular seem especially prone to this attack, in part becuase they seem most inclined to be pressing buttons and putting out outragous marketing. (and :.?) they are also the biggest and thus attract the most conversation/heat. Them & Radioclit certainly jar me the most.

I think there is certainly a difference between something snarky / cheeky / hitorical / self-referencial like these:

which highlight ideas of orientalism and audience and seem to draw the conversation out vs. take it to this level:

Which seems, at least to me & please tell me how you all feel, as just offensive, the only sort of convo i see coming out of it would be some old ish on 'irony'.

Mad Decents recentish post here shows they certainly feeling some hate. 'Pon the Floor's youtube has tons of comments, mostly in the range of - cool / WTF / disturbing / LOL / ugly bitches / crazy / gross / awesome. Confuzed people wondering : a joke? a parody of islanders? 'setting us back'? AIDS/Nggr comments!? One of those vids that attracts the worst of the internet..

I'm sort of surprised 'Pon de Floor' got it more than 'Hold the Line', in which 2 whitey + jewish guy make a vid of a macho black dude fighting vampires, having babes around his throne & saving them from switchbladed fat darker girl, inna space. All this makes me uncomfortable! and I'm certainly not the only one:

Comments @ Vimeo + Youtube
Comments @ TheFader
Comments @ Couch Sessions
Hipster Runofff
Passion of the Weiss Messageboards

I wanna try to link to as many convos on this as possible, feel free to add any...

A comment at mad decent states:

mad decent, you’ve played me for a fool. I followed the buzz for over a year now. downloaded the leaks. went to the shows. I bought the album with real cash money. I preordered that shit and hyped it just like I hyped every mix with diplo’s name on it since I first heard AEIOU, relaxed to Florida, and played the annie mac and essential mixes out.

My only question now: is the white vampire character our latest example of familiar and played hipster irony, or simply autobiography?

all this major lazer / racism talk distracts us from the misogyny of your project / record label / white boyz club.

yes, diplo, switch, et al. are carnivorous cultural tourists.

yes, major lazer is a perverse retro-futurist blackface project.

yes, ‘Pon De Floor’ video makes a all-too cartoonish and historically-entrenched spectacle of black sexuality and reproductive parts.

But are we surprised?

diplo, switch, et al. have made y’alls careers exploiting the creativity and musical genius of brown and black women (and children).

And the diplo jock-riders at fader and pitchfork have been too busy praising white male deejays while muting the sweat and brilliance of the brown and black women at the mike.

(Please revisit M.I.A.’s interview before Kala dropped.)

Face it, mad decent, you wouldn’t be shit if it weren’t for the sweat and talent of black and brown women. And how do you thank these females that made you so dope?

You shove camera up their skirts in Rio and call it a Documentary-on-Blast.

You plaster images of bare-breasted black women to promote your ‘Mid-Summer Bash’ a couple of weeks ago.

And you mask a blackface project behind anonymous black hype men and rump-shaking teenagers. Hipster gods diplo and switch lay in the cut at shows in three-piece suits like cowards, hiding behind homoerotic [?] cartoons of a muscular black Jamaican minstrel they spent their careers impersonating.

And now hipster gods diplo and switch are mum and out of sight, anonymous behind the pussy lips on an unsigned video that doesn’t even credit vbyz kartel. But why would he want his name on that garbage anyway? diplo and switch obviously don’t.

Forget the nonsense questioning whether it would be okay for a black or West Indian man to make this garbage. Black male artists have been catching hell for years, and rightfully so, for their misogyny. Ask Tricia Rose. Ask Patricia Hill Collins. Its also an insult to the West Indian dancehall culture you are trying to ‘spread,’ ‘praise,’ appropriate, digest, and regurgitate to say that it is essentially misogynist, authentically exploitative of women, women’s labor, and women’s bodies. And even if it were: this is your album, and it doesn’t belong to an amorphous foreign, exotic, and fictional ‘culture.’

Own your shit, mad decent. Take responsibility for your product.

I agree with some, certainly not all of the sentiment there. Its interesting b/c it seems exactly like the sort of comment they were aiming to get on that post. Esp when they post nonsense like this, proudly attaching this video.

Its as if
a. they really believe they are somehow responsible for crazy dancehall videos shown on TV.
b. its a good thing that a clearly creepy 'look at this shocking behavior' video is representing daggering & "our main dude Skeritt Boy" throws a large table at some young woman. Like they see themselves as heroes in some grand controversy.

And thats where i get frustrated. Because it seems like 'trying to stir up controversy' clouds out 'trying to stir up a conversation'.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

(iridescent lilac)

I was shopping for nailpolish online @ sephora at 2am (shut up) when I came across THIS product labeling.

This made my brain a little explody:

* Its crazy how much sense the colors make. Of course reggaeton is copper, bellydancing a plummier purple while discos a bit brighter. Of course hip-hop is electric hot pink (what other color would it be?), tecktonik is a day-glowier hip lighter pink shade. Of course zouk is cloudless sky tropical aqua, pop is shiny tangerine. Genres as aesthetics, brands, easily recognizable, lifestyles, the tribes we fall into, with even our own entire color schemes.

* Sephora is hipper than I thought or Nuwhirled is hipper than I thought. Actually, Sephora is French, so its a color palatte of whats maybe cool to listen to in Paris? Granted theres no like, cumbia colored nail polish, but still. I'm curious if this is exactly aimed at hipsterish girl fucks like me who get a kick out of zouk nail polish or diaspora chicas. Whose $$ talks?

* Errr, I actually like the colors of the genres of music I like more. My favorite colors are not just my favorite colors, but the product of some giant marketing scheme aimed exactly at me and my assumed intrests and experiences. Geez, I had no idea i was that obvious.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Butts and Accordians

I'm happy to see funana filtering onto everyones radars, it almost makes up for your non-zouk loving-ness, you heartless souls. Funana featured recently on Uproot Andy's new mix and got a full out assortment by Radioclit. It makes sense, as cumbia surprised me in its popularity, introducing err 'folkier' sounds to a fast beat loving scene. So funana with its hyper accordians seems a natural "new genre" to embrace, opened up as well by new connections made to the lusosphere with funana's popularity in Angola & Senegal.

Whats cool is that the hipster pattern is moving pretty much in line with diaspora intrests. At least in the francophone world bloggery, ive seen increasing intrest and mention of funana, from messageboards to kaysha. My guess This is due as well to lusosphere love and kuduru crossing borders, but probably more so from its proximity in sound and dance to zouks enourmous global popularity.

It all begins to feel full circle, as funana looks and feels like one of the folkier genres embraced so far. Of course, our understanding of folk should have been one of the ways we imagine these genres, as wayne raises so elequently here. What is global ghettotech is also folk music, although its bleeps and beats distracted me. I certainly don't know enough about funk carioca to make a point there. I'm not sure how it applies to my understanding of zouk or coupe-decale, genres so multi-country and globally consumed I'm less inclined to see it as folk, although I'm sure one could make an argument. I'm curious if i'm more inclined to see local-er genres like funana or mbalax as folk b/c of how they sound and feel to me vs. how they function.

So full circles. What seemed to me a grab for globalized tech as hipsters got bored of freakfolk, or white-ish underground rap, or whatever y'all listened to, seems more nuanced, like ears are bigger now after hipster mad global dashes. from freak folk to freak folk. cept this time its happier. cuz its the recession. and we need butts and accordians.

ps. can we discuss packaging like this at some point?

Friday, July 31, 2009

#AfricaistheFuture (sortof)

While the RIAAssholes CHOP Joels dollar, I'm curious how it relates to changing production in the global south. It brings up a few things. To look at, say, the nigerian music industry or other markets where its nearly impossible to find non bootleg material its just as easy to think 'wow, sweet' as much as 'what a mess, why would we want that?'

Back when I originally started this post in Dec, Le Qoutidien had recently reported that according David Diadhiou, cheif of operations of BSDA (the copyright office of senegal) the year 2002 sold over a million cassetes, but as of july last year they havent passed 92,000. Apparently its affecting everyone, rappers, acoustic artists, mbalax, except for the sales of religious music(!interesting).As Birame Faye snarkily puts it in the article:

personne ne peut se glorifier d’une distribution enviable de cassettes durant cette année ... Cependant, la musique religieuse se vend bien maintenant, constate M. Diadhiou, surtout à l’approche des grands évènements religieux. Apparemment, Doudou Kéné Mbaye et Cie font la pluie et le beau temps.
IE : Nobody can boast enviable distribution of cassettes this year ... However, religious music is currently selling well, states Mr. Diadhiou, especially with the approach of the religious holidays. Apparently, Doudou Kéné Mbaye and Co create the rain and good weather.

The thing is though, that while many of these industies operate in copywrite free zones, labels and media companies may be hurt in some areas, but do not seem to be totally irrelevent. And as much as the RIAA and co. would like us to think that copyright is whats keeping the world from breaking apart, people everywhere are continuing to make awesomness on huge scales. Yes, huges swaths of artists are bypassing labels. Many get popular & create their own - sushiraw, etc. If corporations want to get some ideas on $$$, they should call up the people who are somehow making it in these generally copy-free regions.

Ask dem @ channel O, MTV africa,HYPERTEK Entertainment [naija],storm records / media [naija],Sushiraw Entertainment,ogapadeejays [ken,nam],lynx entertainment [ghana], Bongo records [Tan], bang entretenimento [Moz], ZORBAM PRODUXIONS [gabon], and Colossal Entertainment [naija], who say this about themselves:
Perhaps the label is the first to have succeeded on the national scene on the scale they have after starting with distributing music via the Bluetooth of phones and other electronic media. “I recall, about two years ago when we started moving round the country to promote Asem, Richie and OJ, when Richie said Papa Richie we are so big on the internet” – Richmond Adu-Poku. Till date they may draw a lot more numbers on the net than any other label in Ghana."

When looking at that list, some thoughts. As the middleclass grow in many african cities, at the same time that production methods become cheaper and more accesable, theres a middle ground being met and the result is a better produced, more attractive and assesible product. Theres still a lot of profit to be made in terms of upping production and branding & all that stuff labels/mediamasters do. B/c as Kelefa Sannah says "To obsess over old-fashioned stand-alone geniuses is to forget that lots of the most memorable music is created despite multimillion-dollar deals and spur-of-the-moment collaborations and murky commercial forces. In fact, a lot of great music is created because of those things."

I dont think songs as shared things means direct artist/fan connect. Doesnt it make that murkier, more radio/ tv/ sponsorship/ merch/ nightclub/ touring, etc politique? The messes that music comes out of will never be purely artist/fan or whatever myth we want our music to embody, including post-scarcity futures. And thats OK!


Museke, despite being down frequently, is one of the best sites out there for this sort of info. Maybe even accidentaly. They use the same format on a lot of interviews & one of Museke's stock questions is "What challenges do you face in the music industry (piracy, payola (paying deejays to play music), etc)?" B/c Museke interviews such a wide cast, you get a good cataloge of responses to the piracy question. On the one hand, MANY artists feel piracy really hurts them, others have more nuanced responses: What challenges do you face in the music industry (piracy, payola (paying deejays to play music), etc)?

Toniks: Piracy is the biggest scourge so far.
BLINKY: The music industry is growing and that has to be applauded, but there’s a need for technical expertise particularly with regards to live sound, and sound engineering in the studio, in order to attract a lot more international concerts to Kenya. Distribution is also an area that could be improved, because not many urban artists have access to rural markets - regardless of whether they can or cannot buy the music - theoretically that’s an untapped market.

JIM: Things like piracy are a challenge for any musician in any country, so I take them as a given.
Mokobe: I was born in France so I am used to the life here. Now I have the possibility to travel more often to Africa for shows but also collaborations. It’s a must to have a distributor for your album to come out in Africa so we are working on that. But “Mon Afrique” came out in Mali but it was a tape format as to suit the market.
Lira: Piracy, the decline of CD sales. But most of all I think we don’t sell as much as we can because our CD’s are pricey and if you make it reasonable for every South African to enjoy then the people also think it’s cheap music so it becomes tricky. My music heals as much as it brings joy and I’d like it to reach many people. I believe that’s why we moved over 120 000 digital singles... Which is also due to it’s affordability. Here we often have to do things innovatively because we can’t rely on sales to ensure our existence... But I quite enjoy the process of thinking outside the box and creating new things to sustain my career. I love what I do!
STL: ...About piracy, I think if an artist has the right music and it’s available at the right price then fans will see no need to pirate.
Cindy: I hate it. It’s theft and all the criminals should be jailed.
K-Lyinn: The biggest challenge is piracy and unfortunately I do not see an easy way to change that since it’s not only a problem in Tanzania and even in developed countries, artists are facing the same problem. Another challenge here is that the music industry is very young and there is a lack of proper music schools, managers, promoters, studios with advanced recording equipment and people haven’t really started to invest in the industry which could help us artists promote our music, make better quality records and in the end earn decent living out of music.

And, of course, Kaysha:

Museke: What kind of music do you do?
Kaysha: Candyzouk, afro electro, metisse musique
Museke: How is your label Sushiraw doing and which artistes are under the label?
Kaysha: The label is doing good, we are already in the digital age with loads of remixes and projects will only be online at and itunes and all the other stores...
In the roster, we have Elizio, Abege, Isah, Soumia, Loony Johnson, Thayna, Shana, Kaysha, Mika Mendes and more thru connections with other labels and cross projects and actively looking for artists around the globe.
Museke: Have you had problems distributing your music to various places in the world?
Kaysha: Yeah, lots of problems... It's very hard to meet serious people around the world. Most of the times, a good discussion never go further...
The good thing is that as more and more people enter the digital age, the physical barrier is fading away so when the whole African continent get access to a method of buying your songs either thru iTunes or a store alike or their mobile phones, this wont be a problem anymore...
I sell a lot of songs in the US using the internet... Technology breaks barriers
Museke: What challenges do you face in the Congolese music industry?
Kaysha: I don't face any challenges because I'm not really part of this industry like Fally or Werra would be. I'm part of another industry which is the international afro carribean scene... So this question is irrelevant to me :)
Museke: What is your take on piracy and payola (paying deejays to play your music on the radio)?
Kaysha: Payola will always be there because humans fail by definition and emotion... Piracy is the same thing. Some people will always think that others people hard work should be theirs for free. And with internet, it's like a magical tube where you can get anyone's work for free and no one will punish you since everybody is crying for their right for privacy and liberty when people try to set rules... There is a vast
hypocrisy... In the other hand, the same global piracy is what made me the african icon that I am today because no one bought my songs but since they all have it, I'm touring all over the world... So I can't complain...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pretty jangly chimey bits

"Something about the twining chimes of soukous guitar calls out “summer.” Maybe it’s the resemblance to the Dominican Bachata omnipresent in the Brooklyn bodegas where I grab dewy Presidentes, maybe it’s an exoticized image of steamy Zaire, but regardless, there is something that makes the sweet sound perfectly apt." via soulsummer

word. My brain references it the same. Everytime i'd be walking in the DR and hear sweet bachata, my head would go 'awww soukous'



Was scoping this out @ XLR8R:
It’s strange to call a room inside a Swedish expat’s London flat a “nexus of pan-African dance music,” but that’s precisely what Johan Carlberg’s home studio becomes in the presence of production partner Etienne Tron. As Radioclit, the duo merges elements of South African kwaito, Angolan kuduro, and coupé-décalé from the Ivory Coast—plus Caribbean dancehall and soca, among other diasporic styles—into their own distinctive electro-tropical sound.

The italics usage was weirding me with its old world / new world & east/west break down.
We use italics (characters set in type that slants to the right) and underlining to distinguish certain words from others within the text. ... If a word or phrase has become so widely used and understood that it has become part of the English language — such as the French "bon voyage" or the abbreviation for the latin et cetera, "etc." — we would not italicize it. Often this becomes a matter of private judgment and context. For instance, whether you italicize the Italian sotto voce depends largely on your audience and your subject matter.

It makes sense, but its interesting. When did soca become soca or dancehall dancehall. audiences..

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


ie : We all got digital cameras baby / AWKWARD symbiotic relations

The UN soldiers in my area of Haiti were Pakistani/Jordinian, and they got a big kick out of photographing me or other young white women as we walked around downtown.

Me and fellow NGO types in my area were from the US or France, and we got a big kick out of photographing middle eastern soldiers with their guns and armored vehicles around town.

Somewhere in Pakistan, these photos have a mate. Lets fetish / tourist eachother.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Haitian Music / Sasha Frere Jones / overusing /////////s

I was exited to see an article on Haitian music, a round table discussion posted by Sasha Frere Jones, a music critic I usually like. It all began with this piece @ the nytimes by author Madison Smartt Bell. He just finished a book on Toussaint, and the conversation revolves around this idea of Haitian music and revolution.

I can see why SFJ posted it. Honestly, some of it is pretty sweet, like tracking the influence of Haitian music in specificish ways to dancehall and reggaeton, etc. At Haitian independence 60% of Haitians were born in west Africa, and it seems plausible they were one of the stronger forces in keeping hybrid bits of aesthetics and rhythms from motherland to diaspora thru New Orleans & helping create Carib musics. But I wish the discussion would stick to facts and not their dreamy notions b/c it all starts to sound a bit iffy. Esp wrt contemporary music.

Bell in particular has a pretty wack idea of Haitian Music, describing compas as "Haiti’s good-time music, preferred by the Duvalier regime and served, limitlessly, to tourists." Excuse me. Maybe if you mean compas, Haiti's national pop music, the most popular form of Haitian music for the past ~40 yrs through every coup and regime change including (gasp) Aristide and less popular among tourists than the racines music he <3 s along with those 'cultural excursions' to voudou ceremonies. Maybe he thinks its tourist music b/c its played at every bar/club/resto 24/7. Guess what? Its not for you.

Rara is super alive, probably bigger than what they are suggesting here. But I think the way Haitians use traditional music in popular music is much more nuanced, filtering into compas break downs or hiphop, etc than the overrated folk-rock of mizik rasin. Mizik rasin seems pretty restricted to a certain population in Port-au-Prince, or more specifically, a single band at a single hotel in Port-au-
Prince. Having spent a little bit more than Easter "in Haiti with my family ... in the middle of rara season, and we spent a week in Jacmel with friends." I guess im also an expert, whos qualified to say: whats going onnn here?

"What does revolution sound like? This begs for a long answer, but consider this shortcut: Bob Marley and, with apologies to Carl Wilson, not Celine Dion ... What, then, does that signal moment in the past—the Haitian revolution—sound like in the funky potpourri of rhythms that is contemporary Haitian music? " (Answer? "They tie their messages of resistance to catchy riffs and vibrant rhythms, producing ambidextrous music that presses the consciousness while shaking the hips and feet. .... Their songs infused with the memory of the revolution .." blah blah blah)


I didn't really get the impression that Haitian music is more 'revolutionary' than music in any other country. The revolution was a pretty long time ago and while Haitians are, by nature of recent history pretty politically aware, most of the young Haitians I know are not interested in revolutionary protest. That sort of thing is tied to the memory of chimères, and my peers are much more into chillin to pop (& trying to find jobs out of college w/ a 60% unemployment rate, to create 'the system' not fight it). Not that it never turns up, but i certainly wouldn't call it a defining feature.

Want to know somebody who's bigger than RAM and Bob Marley in Haiti?

Celine Dion

I dig how strong French chanson pop is in Haiti. Garrou, Dion, Francois, etc are affecting the sounds of compas, and zouk, and filtering out sounds across the world in really interesting ways. I also think Haiti is an interesting music spot b/c except for a few exceptions (above) its such a non-potpourri. Haiti has been so isolated from its neighbors, linguistically, and quite deliberately economically and politically from its Anglo / Hispanic / no-longer-in-the western-hemisphere-b/c-of-you french neighbors who were terrified of catching a similar revolt / created sanctions protesting its various 20th century regimes. Haiti has, for much of its history, been mostly unable to participate in the same musical trades as the rest of the carribean. Other musics seem to enter, but unable to pass out of its borders. Which makes Haitian music a very distinctive take on carib music / useful case study / counterpoint to global world musical flows/travels.

For a discussion so interested in African music's influence on Haitian music, im surprised they didn't mention the new ways Africa shows up everywhere. While an original source of people/culture, Haiti was cut off for over a hundred years from African culture. Now global circulation means bootleg soukous compilations show up everywhere alongside English language ghana/nollywood films. Friends hear magic system on local radio and tell me its a Haitian group, Haitian melodramas draw from nollywood and are marketed and sold together, the girls in the school across the street were putting on a production of African Queen. Haitians prefer African reggae artists like Tiken Jah Fakoly & Lucky Dube to Marley. So the way these 'roots' manifest themselves, affect the 'whirl', again, are much more nuanced than this discussion really gets at, and its disappointing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ghettotech - Ghetto ?? + stuff showing up placessss

I tend to agree with one of Johan's points here about ghettotech. While democratization of digital technologies helped produce ghettotech, it means that its going to be looking less and less 'ghetto'. Not in where it comes from, but what it looks/sounds like.

There's huge differences recently, some stylistic changes which favors a cleaner sounds, as well as tech/production changes. There tons of examples, but i admit my new interest in Namibia's music industry which seems to have blossomed crazy in the past few years, with flashy new video..

Lady May won best dance video for that song, its a really fun video. also this!

Namibia produces a lot of artists/sounds, and its rising to join ghana, nigeria, senegal, kenya, S.A., etc as a strong african music industry. I'm a huge fan of Tate Buti, who calls his genre Kwiku, "a music put together by Tate Buti and his producer Pedrito between 2000 and 2003. The two mixed traditional-oshiwambo dance music, known as shambo, with Western-Africa's sounds of Kwassa kwassa, to create a quick ovambo music." I hear kwaito in the mix too flowing up from South Africa.




These are old videos, so i dont know what happened to this uzbek reggaeton group, but it might explain why its showing up in uigher music.

Its not subtle at all, notice the PR shirts they're flaunting @ :37


i missed this. I guess Olu doesn't shy from the controversy.

Wondering about connects.. the little lamp looks like the RaiNB symbol, which involves actual connect between N & S Africans, all the silly magic lamps and camels associated with that packaging vs this which seems similarly/ yet differently fetishwise & maybe says something.. tons of nolly stars are lebanese mixes, i dunno.. the song makes no attempt to sound arab.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

hold up

I just saw Dj L-Vis 1990's new video on Mad Decent. In the video he used basically unedited footage of the popular congolese dance videos by the Soukous Vibration Dancers.


Generally, i dont have a problem with mixing dance videos. Theres a huge number of videos like this on youtube, often producing interesting results. But If youre a professional musician, and you release that as yr official music video, and you have a "growing career as a freelance video producer", shouldn't you at least give the ladies a holla?

And when does something fun get creepy? When does appreciating the seriously sweet dancing and lofi creativity of african music videos go wrong? When is it just using them to give a video some exotica/arty flair with the bodies of POCs? Im sure there could be ways to use and get inspiration from these videos in ways that seem less off, I'm thinking in the lines of MIA's Boyz video.

And does it matter? After all, the original video has 194,158 views while L-Vis 1990's has 5,821. Which might mean they have more clout than he does. I'm not sure those dancers have anything to fear from niche Djs. Either way, I think we should expect DJs to use the same respect & give appropriate credit to video makers and dancers as well as the musical artists they use and work with, vs. assuming it doesn't mater, b/c those 'are the real artists, not like those endless, expendable video girls'.