Hot on the heels of the release of Rhythms of Zamunda, Def Jam Africa artists had their NPR Tiny Desk debut yesterday.
The compilation inspired by the recently-released Coming 2 America film, Rhythms of Zamunda features a plethora of diverse artists who prove that African music is more than afrobeats and amapiano.
NPR selected six songs from the compilation for an 18-minute musical montage that can now be streamed on the American media company’s flagship live music platform, Tiny Desk.
The episode opens with the compilation’s fan-favourite, Black and White, which sees South African rapper, Nasty C and American soul singer, Ari Lennox duet virtually from their own “desks”. Carefully-crafted performances by the likes of Cameroon’s Locko, South Africa’s Ricky Tyler as well as Nigeria’s own Alpha P and TMXO reveal the musos’ measured side that isn’t often seen by the public.
Before the quirkily-choreographed rendition of Ye Mama by Toofan (Togo) and Fally Ipupa (Democratic Republic of Congo) closes this Tiny Desk episode, the inspirational hit, Fetch Your Life by South Africans Prince Kaybee and Msaki, is given a stripped down treatment that crescendos into full-on dance fest.
About delivering this performance to Tiny Desk’s worldwide audience, Msaki says: “It’s really an honour that Fetch Your Life is a part of telling the story of the time and the connection between [Africa and America].” Prince Kaybee echoes the song’s message and adds: “It feels like a privilege to be able to dream and it shouldn’t be that way.”
Hailed for its intimate nature and inclusion of storytelling about songs since 2008, Tiny Desk has become a dream for new and established acts. It is a rite of passage for artists with global appeal.
These artists have been trailblazers on the continent and continue to fly their home country’s flags overseas.