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.

Music Spotlight: Sami Dan “Hayal”


I really don’t care what anyone says.  I like African music. Whether it’s the traditional stuff, experimental works, or Afropop, I enjoy it. Here’s one singer I’ve known for almost a year now. This is Sami Dan from Ethiopia. I first heard this song last year not long after the peace deal with his home country and Eritrea. Even though I rarely listen to pop music, this had a fun beat and it’s a fun love song of sorts. Amharic sounds great when sung.

Feel free to check out this song.

18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

This was a good news and had to be shared. Enjoy! It is from the BBC. ===== An 18th Century Ethiopian crown will finally be returned home after being hidden in a Dutch flat for 21 years. Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in the late 1970s, discovered the crown in the […]

via 18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

Thank you for sharing this news, Dr. Y.

I needed to hear a positive story given the nonstop depressing things going on here in America. I’m happy that Ethiopia is getting what’s there’s back. It’s a lovely crown and that country getting their diadem back is part of a spree of goodness that’s happened to them like the peace deal with Eritrea, getting a former emperor’s hair back from England, and for setting a new world record for planting trees.

This story made me smile when I was in tears the past few days.

Since when did appreciating originality make me the bad guy?

Before I begin my little opinion piece, I set aside some time as I deal with this gigantic cold front all over the Midwest. At the time of this article, the high where I’m from is -18 Fahrenheit which is insane. This coldness is more on par with Siberia, Antarctica, and the top of Mt. Everest than the part of America where I’m from. If you’re dealing with this, then please stay warm and take care of yourselves.

Okay, now onto the subject at hand.


I’ve been wanting to make an article like this for a long time now. The thing is I appreciate whenever people create some truly unique things. Whether it’s music, film, art, literature, or other subjects, I really like it whenever people craft things that no one else has thought of before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against adaptations on principle, building off other works while acknowledging inspiration, or even parodies/satires when done right.

What does grind my gears is whenever I hear people say things such as “Oh, everybody rips off things”.

In my opinions, I find that to be intellectually insulting and just lazy thinking.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I do try to be as original as I can be with my various works such as my spoken word projects, poems, reviews, music, books, and other things I create. One of the biggest compliments you could give me is telling me that no one else sounds like me, writes like me, or that I’m an innovator in whatever I try. Yes, I’m certainly influenced by others, so I’m not going to lie to you, but I want to be unique in my creative endeavors. There’s one quote from Oscar Wilde that I like a bit too much: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” I truly believe that some people aren’t even trying and just follow the leader in music, film, books, etc which I find to be quite slothful.

So why does this make me the bad guy for wanting originality to still be a quality worth desiring?

Seriously, I’ve been made fun of for mentioning how I like more original content as others dismiss my tastes for whatever reason. Possibly it’s insecurity on their part, but I could be wrong.

Over the years, I’ve been realizing how many things have been stolen whether it’s movies, art, video games, or something as extreme as cultural appropriation. You have artwork from Benin and Senegal that’s in European museums without those country’s permission. There’s an obelisk in Ethiopia known as the Obelisk of Axum which was stolen by Italy and a certain leaning tower bears similarities to it. For those who’ve checked out some of my film and anime reviews, I’ve mentioned a few examples. Yes, one of them involves this nefarious lion named Claw from Kimba the White Lion as seen in the featured image who predates a certain other villain let alone other characters in some popular movie by 44 years (or 29 if you only count the anime), yet Tezuka Productions never got credited to this day for that series. If you got triggered by that picture, well…that says more about you than it does about me. Besides that, I get tired of people even resorting to scripture by saying “There’s nothing new under the sun”. I know it’s in Ecclesiastes, but did those same people miss “Thou shall not steal”? Sorry to mention theology in this post, but I needed to use that example to prove a point.

With all these rampant remakes, clones, and frauds going on, it’s really tough for me to cling on to a bunch of media. It’s no wonder I try to make my own stories, music, blogs, and other things. Does me appreciating the innovative make me pretentious? Do I see others as peons for only liking whatever the mainstream spoon-feeds them? I hope it’s not the case for the former, and I certainly don’t want to think that way about the latter.

The image of Claw is from The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion and is property of Tezuka Productions.

Happy Birthday to me! Here are some presents for you!

Ospreyshire Diletantism
I woke up today one year older. It’s that time of the year where I celebrate another year of life.

I wanted to do something special, but not for myself though.

As of today, I released NEW Ospreyshire tunes on my Bandcamp page! I recorded a single with two poems just a few days ago and I wanted to keep it a secret until my birthday. The new poems are Dilettantism and End of a Decade respectively. The first track is definitely one of my noisier ones with my trademark penchant for acousmatic sounds. The second track is actually a ukulele-driven one, but where I multi track my voice and some subtle acousmatics in the background. This single is free or whatever price you want on my Bandcamp page. https://ospreyshire.bandcamp.com/album/diletanttism-end-of-a-decade-single

But wait! There’s more!

For those of you that followed me because of my film and anime reviews, I temporarily ended my hiatus on Iridium Eye Reviews for just one day. I posted three new reviews today, so feel free to check them out. They involve the early 00s sci-fi anime Alien Nine, Studio Ponoc’s first film Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and the recent travel documentary Unjust Perceptions: Ethiopia. Those reviews are my gift to any of you who like movies and/or anime.

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

What a way to break stereotypes! Ashenda Festival Crowdfunding

https://www.youcaring.com/advisemedianetwork-1167178

I know I’ve been posting irregularly, but I want to bring light on this cause which I find to be quite fascinating.

This crowdfunding campaign involves independent media organization Advise Show Media as they try to cover the Ashenda Festival in Mekelle, Ethiopia. Here’s a video of what said festival is about…

I think this is so fantastic on several levels. It’s awesome showing all the different cultures with how they celebrate. For those of you that know about me here or my other blogs, you should know that I can’t stand the stereotypes of Africa being poor, crime-ridden, diseased, and having no culture. This is a way to break through those lies that the mainstream media perpetuates on Africa. The Ashenda Festival crowdfunding is a great cause for Advise Show to cover this year’s festival, document the event, and to show various aspects of Ethiopia that they never show anyone.

I support this cause, and I hope you give it a little glimpse. Thank you.

P. S. Major thumbs up for Ethiopia and Eritrea finally reaching peace with each other after decades of fighting. Seeing both countries’ leaders hugging each other just hit me in the feels.