Mr. Leo “Pray”

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog.

Some of you may know that I’ve been getting more into African music and even more recently into movies made in that continent. Even though I’ve never been to Africa, I come from a multi-ethnic family and I did a DNA test where one of my results from my maternal side came up as Cameroonian among other ethnic groups in Africa and Europe. I decided to check out the music from that country and stumbled across Mr. Leo. I first heard the song “Pray” and found it touching given that country’s situation currently with the conflicts involving the French-speaking Cameroonians and the English-speaking ones where there have been fatalities. It saddens me how there have been divisions like that in this post-colonial landscape. Luckily, there are people in that country who hate the bloodshed and see each other as brothers and sisters despite what languages they speak. It certainly hit my heart because these people could be distant relatives of mine in some way. I hope you check out this song.

Part of the song is in Banso which is one of the local languages in that country. I found translated parts of that song which make it more heartbreaking knowing what everything means.

Amen chorus part:
Let us kneel down (Amen)
Let us keep praying that (Amen)
The day will soon be clear
Let us kneel down (Amen)
Let us keep praying that (Amen)
The day will soon be clear

Banso part of the 2nd verse:
If you are ignoring your brother
Beware, you are making a mistake
If you are chasing your brother away
Beware, you are making a mistake

Translation credit to Chris Logan

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Discovering Ethiopian Rap Music: Cypher Abyssinia 2016

Here’s a quick post that some of you may be interested in.

I haven’t spotlighted many musicians outside of ZAP Records (the label I’m affiliated with), but I thought I would branch out by discovering some music off the beaten path. You’ve all noticed that I’ve been talking a bunch about Africa lately with some various news sources going on there, but I thought I would change it up with their music scene. I’ve been listening to some pop music in Africa mainly in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, and Togo recently, but I randomly discovered this series of music. It’s called Cypher Abyssinia which is a yearly rap tradition in Ethiopia where their rappers spit some verses together. However, they aren’t rapping in English. It’s all in Amharic, one of the major languages in that country. For those of you that don’t know, that’s the same language that The Weeknd used in the outro to his song “The Hills” (he’s Ethiopian-Canadian, for those that didn’t know), and the alphabet used in that language (Ge’ez script) is one of the inspirations of the Wakandan alphabet in Black Panther. It sounds really cool hearing rap music in an African language. Bonus points for incorporating traditional rhythms and melodies while mixing it with a hip-hop beat. Feel free to check it out!

Video courtesy of AND Tunes