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 (ZangalĂ©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: A Chastened Futurist from Smiljan

Lyrics:

I alternated from nation to nation like the currents I created
Eventually, I became a Serbian in New York
An infantry of patents would be my brainchildren
Of course, its a shame that Thomas would steal my originator title
He smeared my name when he shocked the elephant
The nerve of his bullying
Electricity still became my forte and I wouldn’t coil under pressure
I wish things would’ve been better than feeding pigeons and being alone
My body would be sent to Belgrade (Beograd) where I would be a hero
Thomas, you may have won the popularity contest, but you’d be nothing without me
Wouldn’t it be funny if someone drove something with my name on it?


Here’s the first example of someone who was ripped off by someone famous. It is none other than the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla. Some of his works include the Tesla Coil, early X-rays, and he was an innovator in electricity, namely the concept of alternating currents (AC). One Thomas Edison mangled his idea and made direct currents. Tesla was an employee at the time and had his patents stolen and not to mention he was shortchanged in pay by the (not)inventor of the lightbulb. It’s interesting that Tesla has been getting more mainstream attention in history since he was the underdog in that story. I also hope people get the joke in the last line in the poem.

Here’s some interesting facts:

Smiljan is actually in modern-day Croatia.

Also, I didn’t learn about Nikola Tesla in school. The first time I heard about him was by a certain musician named Ronnie Martin, but some of you may know him by his experimental synth pop one man band Joy Electric. When I found out more about Tesla afterwords, I thought “Wow, this song makes so much more sense now!” (side note: Hello Mannequin is my favorite JE album and was one of my favorite albums during my high school years).

The photo of Nikola Tesla is from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“Nikola Tesla” is by Joy Electric and is property of Tooth & Nail Records.

Ospreyshire Origins: T. Jennings: Cleaning Up the Patent Competition

Lyrics:

America, you needed to be cleaned up in so many ways
I was only one man, but I had to make things right on a twofold account
I started with your laundry
There would be a new kind of care for your clothes and I did it in a dry fashion like you’ve never seen before
Millions of businesses would be created because of me

Next came real freedom fighters
The bread I got from my invention
Went towards those who wanted every man, woman, and child
To be free and equal
Its more than what a piece of paper could say
I hope they keep on fighting

How does it feel seeing a man like me being the first of his community to own a patent?


Dry cleaning isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about which we can all agree on. What did get fascinating was who invented that form of laundry maintenance and how the funds were used afterwards. This is Thomas Jennings. He was a freeman who mainly worked as a tailor. He created a method called dry scouring which is the archetype for dry cleaning. He actually used the money to buy the freedom of other slaves in America which I massively respect on so many levels. Imagine how many businesses were and still are created today. Also, Thomas Jennings is the first African-American to receive a patent which is even more important in hindsight because he did this before it became illegal for black people to get patents (we’ll talk about that in other posts) before it was reinstated that anyone can make a patent regardless of ethnic stock.

Think about these things the next time you have to get your fancy suits or dresses to the dry cleaning shop.

The image of Thomas Jennings is from Post News Group.

Ospreyshire Origins: Closed Circuits, Open Mind

Lyrics:

More watchful eyes had to be manufactured
Whether hidden or overt, security had to be in order
All it took was the technological genius
Cameras became placed
Ruffians would think twice before invading
Under those watchful cybernetic eyes
The Originator blessed this woman to utilize these cameras
Protecting others
Those eyes will live on
Closed circuits, open mind


This is the first song/poem I wrote involving a female inventor. This one is about Marie Van Brittan Brown. She is the inventor of security cameras and CCTV. She invented it back in 1966 which made her WAY ahead of her time with that invention. It’s a shame how people have abused and misused it, Brown was able to create this system for home surveillance to protect people. Such a concept was certainly unheard of and I’m sure lives were saved using that device. Never underestimate a woman when she’s inventing something!

The picture of Marie Van Brittan Brown is from Timeline.

Listening to Congolese Music: Konono No. 1


Mbote!

I’ve been on a huge African music kick and I wanted to check out the music in the big DRC. That’s the Democratic Republic of Congo for those not familiar with that initialism. I discovered this band called Konono No. 1 who are from Kinshasa (No, it’s not just Shinsuke Nakamura’s finishing move) which is the capital and largest city. These musicians don;t sound like anyone else. It consists of singers, drummers, and three thumb piano players that are hooked up to DIY amps. The frequencies almost sound like distorted guitars which is crazy with how full their sound is. They incorporate traditional rhythms with avant-garde electronics.

Feel free to check them out!