Ntoki ya Mayele Visual Poem

Videography is something I enjoy whenever I have time to do so especially given life, work, adulting, and my other creative projects I’m currently working on. This one uses alternating images and is an abstract video involving imagery associated with the Congo (in this case, both countries as seen with the flags). It was a little project referencing part of my heritage that I’ve only known about for a couple of years now. Interestingly enough, the wooden animal napkin holders I use are based on animals native to that part of Africa and were originally from Kinshasa, DRC. What makes it awesome is that they’re handmade AND fairly traded, so the artists got payed what they were owed making these things. I got them as a present last Christmas and I thought it was very cool. Now, I got to use them as part of the visuals. Feel free to check out this video.

Natondo mingi nayo!

A 16 Year Sentence Isn’t Enough (Dows=Devils)

Did you feel happy defiling so many innocent souls?

To say there were kid’s gloves involved would be a gross understatement

#MeToo ignored you and your wife, but I didn’t

About time the consequences rained down on you

But it still looks like a slap on the wrist

When others faced more time for less

How many people would be able to get away with destroying children

Especially after they were on THAT registry back in their home country?

How many people did you bribe in one or both nations?

You better thank your privilege for only serving 16 years



For those that don’t know what I’m referring to, then you can watch Preying Missionaries and this news clip from Kenya.

Also, the fact Edmond Nyabola doesn’t have any journalism awards for breaking this story is a travesty, too.

May God bless the victims and their families.

A Belated Post About ZAP Records: RIP ZAP 2015-2020

This post has been a long time coming and I feel bad about delaying it this long.

Some of you may or many not remember when I debuted Dystopian Futures’s latest music video for “Space Junk”, but I mentioned that ZAP Records closed down. This bummed me out since the founder Dave Emmerson was one of the few people left in the DIY music scene that I still respect as well as him being a great friend. I thought it was amazing with how he managed to get bands and singers from multiple countries involved with his record label. I was exposed to great music that no one else was making and I managed to get involved with the label even before “Ospreyshire” (the spoken word project AND the blogger you see today) was a thing. Not sure if I mentioned this, but I was able to help out with press releases, bios, and I even made music videos for some of the bands. Dave himself has a record in my filmography portfolio since I’ve directed three music videos for him between two of his bands. The first music video I ever made in my life was for his old band The Old-Timers (no pun intended) and it was a major international collaboration since Dave at the time was living in South Africa while I was still here in America, yet we were able to make it work. That really gave me confidence and he encouraged me to do some recording of my own.

While Ospreyshire (the spoken word project) was all me with my poems, acousmatics, and instrumentation, I will say that if there was no ZAP Records, there might not have been an Ospreyshire let alone the current blogs I run. It’s strange how life works, but I do have to credit Dave for being a good friend to be encouraging to me even if he was thousands of miles away in South Africa or when he was back in his home country of Scotland. Who ever thought that some random guy like me and someone like him would meet at a music festival in Central Illinois and were able to collaborate with multiple projects for years now.

It is sad to see ZAP Records go. I’m thankful to have been a contributor in multiple ways to the label. I was so disillusioned with the music scene at large, so this was a last bastion of sorts.

RIP, ZAP Records.

In good news, Dave came up with Visions Press where he’s releasing new music and even zines. Definitely check it out!

https://visionspress.bandcamp.com/

Calming down with some Angolan metalcore (Starring Before Crush)

I recently watched a documentary called Death Metal Angola which was really fascinating and I recommend it for those who like heavy music or at least African culture.

One of the bands featured in that doc is Before Crush (pardon the grammatical aspect of their name). They’re from Benguela, Angola and play metalcore music. While I’m not a fan of that type of music, they do a good job and they’re lyrics have more substance than your typical whiny suburban fake tough-guy scenecore band. They have lyrics about African culture, positive messages, and historical elements involving the Angolan Civil War that lasted from the 70s until the early 00s.

I know the irony of relaxing to this kind of music, but I wanted a break from some of the self-loathing posts I’ve made recently while trying to balance between life, work, and NaNoWriMo.

Some music I’ve been listening to lately: McIntosh County Shouters, U-Carmen soundtrack, and Wildbirds & Peacedrums

I researched a bit of the Gullah Geechee culture somewhat recently especially after watching the movie Daughters of the Dust and checking out some of Miss Trudy’s Sierra Leone travel vlogs. I wanted to know about some of the musical parts of the culture and didn’t realize a number of African American spirituals came from that autonomous group. One band known as the McIntosh County Shouters who’ve been around for decades and preserve a lot of the Gullah songs as well as the culture. Not going to lie, I wouldn’t have actively listened to them when I was younger, but I’ve been gaining more appreciation for other types of music. I even bought one of their albums and saw some of their concert videos on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/YELZepKtr1I

I got to see U-Carmen earlier this year. For those of you that have never heard of that movie, it’s a South African adaptation of Bizet’s famous Carmen opera. Not only is this set in the 00s and in a different country, the entire opera is actually done in the Xhosa language (the X is pronounced by clicking). It was a very fascinating take on that classical work. In the movie, all the actors actually sing live on set instead of lip-synching to pre-recorded performances. I would definitely recommend the movie and soundtrack. This song in particular is a Xhosa cover of “Habanera” which is a song a lot of you know even if you don’t know anything about opera or classical music. Just listen to the melody, and you’ll instantly recognize it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjThbylqXdI

Here’s a band I found out about somewhat recently after finding out that they’ve collaborated with the Congotronics Vs Rockers project. It was a superband involving Congolese bands (mainly from Konono No.1 and Kasai Allstars) and various musicians from all over the world. Two of those musicians happened to consist of the Swedish married couple known as Wildbirds & Peacedrums. I’m a sucker for experimental forms of music and I didn’t think anyone can make a band with just vocals and percussion. They’ve got some avant-pop and jazz kind of vibes with their minimalist approach to music which I found to be unique. I was also a fan of the stop motion filming in this music video.

I’m glad I still have an appreciation for music in these stressful times. Hope you like these selections.

Some positive things despite the insanity of the world: African travel vlogs, traditional Burundian drumming, and Hikaru no Go song covers

 

I know things are still very intense in this world. I’m not ignoring them at all. This is just a slight change of pace. I had some rough emotional moments earlier this week, but I’m better now. It’s been amazing by getting some encouragement from offline and online friends recently. Here are some things that I thought were fascinating recently.

 


I’ve been getting into Miss Trudy’s videos a lot over the past few weeks. Miss Trudy is a Kenyan YouTuber who makes travel videos mainly of different African countries. I checked out some of her videos on Sierra Leone and Liberia among other countries and I was astounded by the beauty of those nations. That’s the Africa they NEVER show you especially in the West. Here’s one of her videos where she’s in Freetown (the capital and largest city). Also, did you know Freetown was actually created by freed African slaves from America, the Caribbean, England, and Canada? I thought that was very fascinating.

Burundi has been one country I didn’t pay too much attention to, but I have to thank Miss Trudy as well as Dr. Y. for exposing me to more things about that country. One cultural tradition in that country is their drum corps. These drummers carry on a legacy dating back centuries when Burundi was a kingdom. The drummers would play for the king and they had their own unique rhythms. This was wonderful and I even picked up the live album of the Drummers of Burundi on Bandcamp where they played at Real World Records which is owned by Peter Gabriel.

I got back into the anime and manga series Hikaru no Go this year. It was one of my favorite series during my high school years, and after rediscovering it, HNG still holds up. Seriously, if you think all anime is nothing but martial arts ultraviolence, collectable monsters, or hentai, then please rethink your priorities. I found a cover of the 2nd opening theme “I’ll Be the One” by HAL that was performed by this Thai singer named MindaRyn. I thought she did a great job at singing this song. This was almost as good as the original in my opinion.

Besides all of that, I’ve been having some thoughts about what to post, but I’m debating about having it here or on my other blogs involving different topics.

Hope you all are doing well today.

The 2nd Rebuke of a False Queen

It’s time to take your artificial halo down once more

Stop making shallow homages to the Motherland when you already plagiarized someone’s video from there

You’re not sorry, don’t lie

You’re just an accomplice involved with the biggest legacy of animated theft, cultural degradation, and appropriation

Your followers are nothing but drones

The fact you do wrong, but never own up to it is beyond childish like the last on-screen boyfriend you had in 2019

Funny how you’re the type to flagellate a man for the smallest slight, but never own up to your faults when the fingers point your way

Some woman you are

This attempt at empowerment is lip service at best

While you are a different hue than your handlers, you’re nothing but a patsy buffer for a corrupt agenda

Real heroes and heroines don’t have your wealth and fame

The ones in the street, the ones raising awareness, and those raising money for righteous causes are more valiant than you will ever be

At least try to act like you care…oh, wait. You can’t act for crap.

Destiny should’ve disowned you a long time ago, you idol

DOWN GOES LEOPOLD!

I’m sure some of you have been aware about various statues of racist devils being taken down recently due to the protests. You have the Edward Colston statue getting “swimming lessons” in Bristol, England and you have Confederate statues taken down across the South. I wondered if Belgium was going to step up to get rid of one of the biggest genocidal maniacs you weren’t taught about in school.

Special thanks to Petrel41 for telling me about this!

I’ve mentioned King Leopold II in a few past articles, but this information bears repeating. For those of you that don’t know, he was the king of Belgium since the late 19th century. Him and other European heads of state participated in the Scramble for Africa starting with the Berlin Conference. His piece of the colonization pie was getting a part of the Kingdom of Kongo in a landmass that would become the Belgian Congo or by it’s modern name of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Even after the annexation, that country is still far larger than Belgium from both a landmass and population standpoint. When Leopold got control of that part of Africa, he turned the entire country into his personal slave plantation since it’s still a resource-rich nation even to this day. The biggest things were oil, rubber, and gold to name a few. Leopold and his brutal regime forced the Congolese to take these insane quotas for the resources and if they didn’t meet said quotas, they would get their hands chopped off. You know those chocolate hands they sell in Belgium? That’s where the inspiration came from. Cannibalistic implications much, Leopold? He did wicked things like shooting the Congolese on site and starved them out away from their communities AKA The Elephant Graveyard Treatment much like what the 2nd Reich did to the Namibians in the 1900s or the Native Americans dealing with the Trail of Tears after being abused by the colonizers. This had a result of killing over 15 million Congolese people during his reign! At that time over a century ago, this was HALF the country’s population. To give you more context, that’s over the same amount of people living in the nation’s capital of Kinshasa (also the 3rd most populated city in Africa, by the way) and Chicago COMBINED! Most people know about Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and Joseph Stalin which people should still be taught about for their atrocities, but Leopold always slips through the cracks of history classes. I didn’t even know who he was until after I graduated college which is sad. Even more angering in hindsight to me is that I have Congolese heritage…Leopold could’ve abused and/or killed MY ancestors that I may not have known about! His punishment for what he did was relinquishing control of the Congo. Oh, cry me a river.

Hopefully that brief history lesson should suffice to my readers. Leopold makes Colston look like an alter boy by comparison. I’m so happy that they took the statues down that glorify racist demons like that tyrant. Major props to the Congolese-Belgians who were hardcore protesting about that situation. I also hope this leads to Belgium paying up those reparations for that genocide against that Central African nation. It’s been a long time coming.

Leopold azali zabolo! Nzambe yaka Osunga Kongo! Mosembo na boboto ekolonga!

Ospreyshire Origins: Cameroonian Originality March

Lyrics:

Attention!

[French]
Nous avons des vautours de la culture a venir!
Notre musique est attaquee!
Marche en avant!
Oui, monsieur!

Barnwell, Baranquilla, Gary, Portsmouth
We’re coming for all of you
Your status as godfathers, hip shakers, kings, and misdemeanors
Have nothing on us
We’ll keep marching on (X2)

[French]
Nous devon securiser le berceau de nos ancetres (de nos ancetres) [X4]

What do we want? (Our original tunes!)
When do we want them? (Right now!)
(X4)


Before I get to talking about this song and what inspired me, I would like to give major props to my Cameroonian blogger friend Dr. Y from Afrolegends. He’s been awesome in making high quality posts for over a decade about African history, culture, news, trivia, proverbs, and then some. Dr. Y was able to educate me about some of the musicians from his home country and even gave me some nuggets about plagiarism cases involving their musicians.

Not going to lie, Cameroon has some great artists. I got into Mr. Leo’s music last year, been listening to some Salatiel (I knew who he was before he was a part of THAT companion soundtrack), and more recently Tim & Foty who are part of the topic of this song. I also wanted the song to have a balance between French and English lyrics to represent unity in that country given some of the issues going on with those communities based on those languages. There have been four high profile songs straight out of this Central African nation. Prepare your ears because some of these songs are going to sound familiar to you.

Exhibit A: “Zamina mina (Zangal√©wa)” by Golden Sounds

Exhibit B: “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

Exhibit C: “Hot Koki” by Andre-Marie Tala

Exhibit D: “Douala by Night” by JM Tim and Foty

Doesn’t Cameroon have a lively music scene? Did you also think some of those songs sounded familiar? It would certainly be a shame if a Colombian and some Americans were to steal them.

Yes, that happened and I’m going to correlate each rip-off song to their respective originals.

Shakira stole from Golden Sounds:

Michael Jackson stole from Manu Dipango:

James Brown stole from Andre-Marie Tala:

Missy Elliott, Method Man and Redman stole from Tim & Foty:

All of this came from one country. Some of your favorite artists are musical robbers, so deal with it. This blew my mind and I have Dr. Y to thank when it came to the Shakira and James Brown issues before discovering the rest on my own. Unbelievable, and Cameroon deserves so much better and not just because of some of their current issues right now.

Besides that, I wanted that marching vibe like the “Zangelewa” song, but completely different chords and instrumentation with the Omnichord with hand percussion. This is homage and at least I acknowledge MY inspirations.

The Cameroonian flag picture is from Flags of the World.

Ospreyshire Origins: I, Axum

Lyrics:

Were the invaders fascinated by my beauty?
I stood tall in this living city
My creators took care of me every step of the way
Its a shame they never foretold of my destruction and abduction
While my homeland was never colonized, I was taken defiled, and cloned
I’m disgusted by my inferior leaning tall north of me
My people…rescue and reconstruct me
The world must know I exist
May the originator give me renown despite my obscure state


I got something for the architects and for those that respect African culture. This is going to be something I guarantee you never learned about in school.

This is the Obelisk of Axum in the Ethiopian town of the same name. This tower has been around in one of the oldest nation’s in the world since the 4th century AD. For centuries, this obelisk has been in the Horn of Africa, but unfortunately it became damaged and stolen. Even though Ethiopia is the only country in Africa never to have been colonized, Italy tried to claim that nation through warfare after they got Eritrea no thanks to the Berlin conference.

I didn’t know about this obelisk until I watched the documentary Unjust Perceptions: Ethiopia where they go to a museum and see a picture of it. Think about what I said about Ethiopia and Italy. Phil (the American who’s visiting Ethiopia) looks at the picture and the first thing he says is “That looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.” and the tour guide gives him a lesson…

Image result for leaning tower of pisa

Long story short:¬† Italy stole a bunch of things including the design of the Obelisk of Axum. The Ethiopian government did their best for years to sue the Italian government to get their culture back and they eventually got the parts of the Obelisk to bring it back home and they’re reconstructing it as we speak. This was jaw-dropping for me and I never realized how that famous building ripped off something from Africa. In the song, I speak in a feminine voice and I use metaphors of the colonizers raping and assaulting the original culture to drive the point home as uncomfortable as it is. The percussion is even based on Ethiopian and Eritrean drum patterns that I’ve noticed in both traditional and pop music from that part of the world. Much like my Art Theft pieces, this is just a sickening display of colonization even though Italy didn’t take over the Abyssinian nation.

Just think twice whenever you see that tower.

The picture of the Obelisk of Axum is from International Travel News.

The picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is from Britannica.

Unjust Perceptions: Ethiopia is property of African Diaspora News Channel.