Five Clips from Africa

by Georg Milz

To start the new year ethnologist and journalist Georg Milz sent us a list with five music videos from all around Africa. He shows us some really nice clips between pidgin pop, hip hop pantsula and house, from Nigeria and Mozambique to South Africa and Kenya. By the way he is shaping coupé-décalé from – and that might be surprising – Geneva, Switzerland.


Artist: Timaya (Nigeria)
Track: Ukwu

Pidgin pop music from Nigeria got coined the term Afrobeats with an «s». Even though unlikely Fela Kuti's Afrobeat, Afrobeats is rather unpolitical it is still the most celebrated soundtrack in african nightclubs of today, with a growing impact on global pop music. It fuses and borrows rhythms and melodies from all kind of genres such as Congolese Soukous, R'n'B, Afrobeat, Coupé-Décalé or South African House and spices them up with local lyrics in pidgin english and auto-tune effects. Artists such as P-Square, D’banj or Wizkid are among top selling artists and first stars of this african music movement being played in clubs in the US aswell as in Kingston Jamaica. Timaya is another upcoming star from the megacity of Lagos. With his hit single «Sonko» he recently put a spotlight on the dancehall culture of Lagos biggest ghetto Ajegunle. On his latest song called «Ukuw», meaning waist, he jumped on the bandwagon of Nigeria's state to the art afrohouse productions. This joint not only got us twerking in our office last year.


Artist: 340ml (South Africa)
Track: Fairy Tales

340ml are four musicians from Mozambique who came to study to Jo’burg. Their name relates to the dimensions of a beer can. Drummer Paulo Chibanga runs a yearly festival in Mozambique called Azgo. Together with guitarist Tiago they are also part of the band Tumi and the Volume, with South African spoken word artist Tumi Molekane who recently released his new single «In defense of my Art». Both bands are pioneers of the live music scene in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Not so fresh but a real classic Tune of South African indie-rock and a great vibe: «Fairy Tales».


Artist: HHP (South Africa)
Track: Bosso

HipHop Pantsula is the «#Bosso» of rap in South Africa. Friends call him Jabba. It was his record label that recommended him to not call himself after the fat and ugly creature of Star Wars but change his name. They suggested him the name HipHop Pantula, in reference to the forbidden street dance and lifestyle during the apartheid. To him that sounded a bit too long, but when fans started calling him Double-H P, he started liking it. HHP's style is called Motswako, as he mixes lyrics in both english and african lingua such as Setswana, Zulu and Xhosa. His latest video is a collage of him having a whole lot of fun, asking people from Jozi to Mafikeng what they think a «#Bosso» is.


Artist: Abou Nidal de Genève (Côte d'Ivoire / Switzerland)
Track: Yaya Casser Tête

Coupé-Décalé is a music- and dance-style from Côte d'Ivoire. It's not so much the songs that matter but its videos. As in the video clips you can see the combination of both: innovative dance moves and hard-hitting repetitive electronic rhythms. It was around 2000 when teh movement got kickstarted by ivorianne DJs in african nightclubs of Paris. Later it conquered the airwaves all across francophon Africa via Abidjan. If you really want to find out how much energy this type dance music has, go no further than watching the video to «Yaya Casser Tête» by Abou Nidal de Genève.


Artist: Sarabi feat. Juliani (Kenya)
Track: Sheria

Nairobi has a vital live music scene. Best Example is Sauti Sol. Coming from a middle-class background the Kenyan indie-rockers recently caused a small sensation, winning the MTV European Music Awards in the category «best african act». With no big label backing their career they won against some of the biggest pop stars of Africa. Another Kenyan indie band worth to check out is Sarabi. Their band name means deja-vu in Kiswahili. Most of Kenya's urban youth has neglected the Kenyan band music sound their parents were listening to. So when they hear Sarabi reinterpreting Kenyan pop music from the 60s and 70s to many it feels like a deja-vu, they can't remember but somehow they have heard it. «Sheria» is political song that talks about the responsibilities each and everyone of society has for a better future. Instead of always blaming everyting on the politicians one should rather look for oneself. Besides singer Nelson Manela (he really is called after the South African first black president) you can hear rapper Juliani on the song talking about the tribal tensions in Kenya, mentioning the collective blood donations that happend after terrorists attacked the Westgate shoppig center in Nairobi 2013: «You are not my tribe, but you are my blood type .... but it doesn't have to take a tragedy to know this!»

Published on January 19, 2015

Last updated on April 05, 2020


Georg Milz ist Ethnologe und als Freier Autor für Zündfunk und Funkhaus Europa tätig. Durch die Arbeit als A&R bei Outhere Records und Mitglied von Dala Dala Soundz aus München ist er Fachmann für Global Pop. Milz hat die Compilations «Ayobaness – South African House» und «Black Stars – Ghana’s Hiplife Generation» herausgebracht und Tourneen mit afrikanischen Künstlern organisiert. Demnächst erscheint seine Compilation zu urbaner Musik aus Kenya. Als Student der Ethnologie hat er über die Entstehung von Coupé Decalé zwischen Paris und der Elfenbeinküste geforscht.
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