Tag: africa

Terror across the river: Letter from a Congo literary festival

New Yorker, March 6, 2013 Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, is an agreeable city with a frayed, low-rise commercial downtown, a hilly upscale district of hotels and embassies that stretches to the airport, and, radiating out in three directions, busy working-classquartiers where life goes on out of doors along rutted, unpaved side […]

Congolese guitarist Diblo Dibala

Boston Globe, July 12, 2012 NEW YORK — A corner apartment in Harlem: air conditioning on high against the blazing heat outside, African art objects and concert posters on the walls, incense wafting through the living room. This is the temporary command post of Diblo Dibala, Congolese bandleader and guitarist extraordinaire, as he readies for […]

Liner Essay: Debo Band, “Debo Band” (Album)

Sub Pop Records, July 10, 2012 The Debo Band’s debut CD on Sub Pop/Next Ambiance came out today. Here is the text of the liner essay I contributed to the album.  There’s something dangerous about tales of a Golden Age: especially a brief one. The so-called Golden Age of Ethiopian popular music (or Ethio-jazz, or […]

Last Van to Korhogo

Note: This is the text of my essay in Transition magazine, issue 108, out in June 2012. The full text is posted for a limited time here, prior to the issue’s release. Last Van to Korhogo Suspended between war and peace in Ivory Coast The filling station was no longer a filling station. The pumps […]

Spoek Mathambo brings the future sound of South Africa

Boston Globe, March 23, 2012 “It would be nice if you call me Nthato. It’s how I introduce myself.’’ Nthato Mokgata is trying hard to manage his identities in the face of his blossoming fame. By day he’s Nthato, the low-key, well-spoken 26-year-old from Johannesburg who dropped out of medical school to make his career […]

Soul is heavy, wisdom is sweet: Unraveling the mysteries of Nneka

MTV Iggy, March 1, 2012 It’s been three years since Nneka Egbuna moved back home. At 19, she had moved away from Nigeria to Germany, her mother’s country, where she studied anthropology and began her music career. But after releasing two albums and getting a little shine on the European circuit, she knew it was time to […]