Download a Dollar a day here http://www.mediafire.com/?6sd50b0gng2iewq
Written by Muki Garang
As 2011 entered its twilight, African youths from different nations came together in South Africa to collaborate in music productions they hope will spur economic and social development.
They spent much of December recording. And they produced inspiring songs, some of which are in a new continental language they called “Tswahili” because of its fusion of East Africa’s Kiswahili and South African Tetswana, alongside other indigenous languages from across Africa.
The beats in A Dollar a day are heavy and Dilla fans will definitely snap their necks, the raps are concise with audible english and no overated twang. This musical project A dollar a day, was birthed in the heart of Maftown the same exact space for the Northwest Hiphop movement Lefoko.
The music is in an array of languages, ranging from Sheng(Nairobi slang), Swahili, Zulu, Setswana, Pidgin, Motswako (a South African equivalent of Sheng) and English.
“We are reaching out to our peers in Africa, using the spoken word and Hiphop music,” says the South African Lerato Mosimane, one of the event organizers.
Some of the poetry by the sisters pay tribute to heroines like Prof Wangari Maathai, Miriam Makeba and Graca Machel amongst others.
Dubbed A Dollar a Day, the recording included audio interviews with policy makers and stakeholders in the Northwest province of the post-apartheid nation on the use of culture to foster responsible leadership, fight against the spread of HIV, and include youth in political decision-making.
Participants included South Africa’s Mpho ya Badimo(Motsweding fm), Lerato Mosimane(Formerly of Bop TV), Apu, TLS, and Relevant Source (Lefoko movement N.west); Botswana’s Mpaphi Angell Nthoi and Ngozi Chukura; Nigeria’s Omadada, Kenya’s Akili Blaq and myself a reporter and a participant, having travelled south by road to the event, through Dar es Salaam, Lusaka,Gaborone,Mahikeng and Jozi.
The meeting was organized by Platinum Africa Youth Tourism (payt.blogspot.com), a youth development programme based in the Northwestern region of South Africa.
“We educate and engage youth into identifying opportunities linked to our culture and heritage as African people,” said the organizer Lerato Mosimane in an interview with Africa Review.
The artists are also trying to embraces an older generation that set the pace for the South African struggle, Lerato explains “In marking 100 Centenary years of the African National Congress' liberation struggle we will package the album as a souvenir to revellers who attend the event at the Protea Hotel in Mahikeng city during St. Valentine’s day."
“We are reaching out to the rest of Africa to encourage cross-cultural productions that will help artists to learn from one another, following the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and Prof Wangari Maathai,” she added.
The event in South Africa culminated in A Dollar a Day, an 18 track album produced by the South African-based Kenyan artist Akili Blaq.
“Music is what I do every day,” said Akili Blaq. “My beats have no borders.”
He produces music in the Hiphop genre with influences from Swahili taarab, Jazz, Soul and Indian Bhangra. Basically Akili Blaq is Dilla-ed out!
The content in the musical compilation is not isolated to the youth. Rather, it accommodates the wider African society, as it covers topics such themes as love, HIV and Aids, xenophobia, land reform policies in Zimbabwe, and ethnicity in Kenya.
“I like the gender sensitivity in the songs,” remarked Syliva Liabile, the Chair Person of the South African Business coalition on HIV and AIDS, “The artists have addressed issues of women development with great depth and reflection,”
South African artists Mpho Yabadimo and Apu spoke strongly against black-on-black violence in their country,
“During apartheid era blacks were not allowed to move freely,” said A.P.U. “We can’t allow these restrictions to continue against African brothers from other nations in a free South Africa.”
As one travels down to South Africa it is easy to note the difference in attitudes towards music and the arts. While the South African art scene is vibrant and supportive of its local talent, Kenya has yet to support its artists through grants that can allow frequent and quality productions.
Another difference is that in South Africa, people are prouder of their mother tongues and cultural heritage than we are.
The phrase "a dollar a day” evokes the portrayal of Sub-Saharan Africa as a place of in the western media. But the artists confront the stereotype by showcasing Africa as incredibly rich in culture and natural resources.
“A Dollar a Day can be interpreted to be music for border hoppers, through music and poetry we paint a picture of the effect these harsh economic times have on African youth.” Akili Blaq comments on the situation.
In this the spirit of ubuntu and reawakening panafricanims amongst our youth we have made the album available for free download,at the highest quality. It can also be accessed from maishayetu.wordpress.com or the Facebook page A dollar a day, you can also download the album straight from mediafire via this link http://www.mediafire.com/?6sd50b0gng2iewq...
The writer is a performance poet and theatre critic in Kenya. His stage name is Muki Garang and blogs in maishayetu.wordpress.com ([email protected])
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