Saturday, February 19, 2011

Have you heard Didier Awadi's tributes to Pan-African African leaders and revolutionaries?

I've heard a lot of Senegal's DJ Awadi and how he is talked about a lot when it comes to African hip-hop. We've seen a lot of conscious and meaningful hip hop come out of Senegal and Awadi's Positive Black Soul deserves a lot of the credit. Awadi's recent album, Presidents d'Afrique (African presidents) was released in 2010, the same year many African nations celebrated their golden jubilees of independence. Awadi took us back to the 60's and told us those messages of unity, positivity, leadership and revolution still ring true today. So, I had to let you know all about the album :-)

African rap legend, Didier Awadi, is one of the most highly respected African musicians. He spent four years of research, reading, collecting and interviews preparing his most recent album, Presidents d'Afrique. He featured many African rappers and musicians on the album, making a transcendent and monumental African rap album.

L'Esclave opens the album and features a speech from the Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara. Thomas was a Burkinabe revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. He is commonly referred to as "Africa's Che Guevara". On 'Dans Mon Reve', he features Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream speech'. It also featured Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" speech. Watch the video and sing along at this link.

Comme Nasser features a speech from Egypt's Gamel Abdul Nasser which recently saw one of the greatest civilian revolutions as thousands of people demonstrating in Tahrir Square forced longtime dictator, Hosni Mubarak, to resign. I doubt Didier Awadi saw this one coming. Amandla celebrates beloved South African leader Nelson Mandela and has a chorus of zulu singers with Skwatta Kamp involved.

Awadi also featured a Thomas Sankara speech on Woye. The video was also directed by Lionel Mandeix. Check out the music video at this link. Some of the lyrics are "We don't wanna suffer anymore; we just wanna eat some more". On 'The Roots', he features M1 Dead Prez & Bouba Kirikou as well as some soundbites from Malcolm X. "You can't hate Africa and not hate yourself". The video was directed by Lionel Mandeix / A.Wone. Watch the music video at this link.

Freedom features the words of Aimé Césaire, an African-Martinican Francophone poet, author and politician. The song features French musicians like Gertrude Senin, Sweety and Tiwony Thaiss. 50 years on, Didier Awadi brings back the message of Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah on the track 'We must unite'. He also mentioned in an interview with RFI

In his speeches about the pan-African ideal, Nkrumah spelt out his ideas very clearly. A united Africa is, technically speaking, perfectly possible. It’s not a Utopia! An African Union, modelled on the EU, would mean our continent would have a single voice on the world stage and we could impose our own prices!

Uhuru samples a Jomo Kenyatta speech and features Kenyan rapper Maji Maji. Babani Koné, Noumoucounda Cissoko and the rappers Tata Pound from Mali feature on 'On a Plus Le Choix' that samples Modibo Keita, the first Malian president. Oser inventer l’avenir samples Thomas Sankara yet again while Awadi features Noumoucounda Cissoko on vocals.

Une seule origine is a track dedicated to Senegal's own Cheikh Anta Diop with Keyti and Naby contributing on the track. Didier Awadi then turns on the Sugu Mister 2, Afande Selle, K-Lynn from Tanzania to join him on the 'We are also praying' track which features Julius Nyerere. Sugu Mister 2 recently became the first ever African rapper to win a position of power, becoming the the member of parliament for downtown Mbeya (Mjini). Check out his Hold on track.

Ensemble samples the legendary Patrice Lumumba from the Democratic Republic Congo with contributing musicians as Kexus Legal, Fredy, Massamba, and Thaiss. Samora featured a speech from Samora Machel, former president of Mozambique. Here, Awadi features Mozambican musicians Deny O. G., Chiquite, and Xixe. La Patrie Ou La Mort is a great collabo by Smockey from Burkina Faso and Awadi. It is a tribute to Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara. This track also sampled a speech from Thomas. Check the song out here.

Watch a video where they pay tribute to him

Non, the Guinea inspired song which refers to the Sékou Touré’s famous refusal to General de Gaulle in 1958, is rich with balafons and Mandinka guitar and Guinean musician Phaduba. From Guinea-Bissau, Balloberos, Daniel Gomes, Paul Oliviera, joined Didier to sample Amilcar Cabral's speech on the song, 'Cabral'. Awadi pays tribute to another Senegalese leader Leopold Sedar Senghor on Ce qui nous lie alongside Yandé Codou Sène. He picks the wisdom of famous philosopher Franz Fanon on Racisme. He closes out the album with 'Le silence des gens bien' with a tribute to Norbert Zongo. He was the was the publisher and editor of the Burkina Faso newspaper l'Indépendant. He was assassinated after his newspaper began investigating the murder of a driver who had worked for the brother of President Blaise Compaoré.

Now, this is meaningful music that will go really far and should become as legendary as the men profiled in it. The wait was worth the while. I hail Didier Awadi for his brilliance and hope that history will remember him favourably as a revolutionary and legendary as well.

Additional info from MondoMix and RFI. Read an interview with RFI France about the album

Now, am sure this will make you say VIM!

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