Diaspora Drums

LADs (Little African Drunmers).
LADs – Little Africans Drumming.

After concluding an early morning call with my longtime friend and Australia-based DJKix, I texted her and complained about the time-zone differences that the African Diaspora has created.  6am versus 9pm just to catch up for a bi-weekly dose of new African music? Goodness me, nonetheless, you’ll be able to revise my post New Age Africa where I dive into this newborn school of African thought I’d like to believe I sell every time I walk in a room.  Here’s an excerpt:

“In Western media, Africa is too often represented as a violent, destitute hellhole in desperate need of Irish rock stars, American film actresses, and Norwegian NGOs just to remain upright. But the continent is undergoing a renaissance. It’s programming software, making movies, designing clothing, and creating music that is equal to that produced anywhere in the world and frequently exceeds it in quality and creativity”.

After my brief catchup with DJKix , I decided to listen to her November 24, 2017 installment and I realized why we are good friends and have remained so over the years.  We have similar tastes in music from the continent.  I listened and she introduced me to Niniola and specifically the song “Sicker”:

The feeling when I listen to new music from Africa is a sensation that debt can’t overcome and money can’t purchase.  It’s a feeling that us African Diasporans need to experience often – without drugs or alcohol.  Being far from the continent, you have to construct your own unbreakable framework to remain sane.  It comes in different forms – art, music, literature, dance, YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud and even WhatsApp groups filled with dialogues beaming with African content, jokes, noble advice and music.

Simply, this media draws us one inch closer to the mainland of our beloved Mabelreign, Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa.

It’s almost been three years living in the Queen City and I’ve had the pleasure of supporting and attending two prominent, pulsating afro-infused events in Charlotte’s urban scene.

I get to fulfil a desire to be home away from home – the African Diaspora.  My musical roots are unearthed and it’s a pleasure being in an environment where like-minded tribesmen can congregate share jokes, trade and most importantly, listen and dance to music.  I’ve been able to bring some of my comrades from foreign distant tribes to both events including Puerto Rico, Colombia, Brazil,Denmark, Nepal, and Mexico to name a few.

One Wednesday morning I read an article in a local arts and entertainment publication that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I had to offer a different perspective.

It’s not to attack the sentiments offered as many hoped for, but to provide some clarity.  The writer featured a prominent artistic Presario who has led the local afro music scene in the Queen City.  It was well-written and I hope one day to be able to collect my thoughts as eloquently as it was assembled.

Much respect to the folks that have paved the way for Black Consciousness as Jasisatic has. I hope to meet and embrace her one day.  She’s the fierce benefactor of Su Cassa where my fondness as only grown stronger over the last two years.

So where was I?

Oh, so the African Diaspora in the United Kingdom is affiliated with grime, drum and base, Afro infused sounds and reverberating beating drums.  Its music culture is much richer than I’m yet to experience in the United States.  Generations of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean rooted themselves over the last several decades and a perfect example of this offspring is my favorite artist right now –  J HUS.

He’s the fusion of the concrete Stratford, London streets, a Gambian single mother and pirate radio stations that invaded the British capital in the 90s.  If you really want to know more about this fusion, watch this documentary called LDN and thank me later:

When I wrote New Age Africa, J HUS was one of the musical phenomenons I was referring to. Other artists bred from the same basket are Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah and Stormzy of course.  These are four of some of the most electric musical acts in Europe and they are African. It’s very important to recognize this whatever your musical taste is.  If you ever traveled to London 🇬🇧 with me, you’ll know what I mean – ya get me?!

The culture is rich like the sugarcane of Triangle, Zimbabwe and probably why I like Su Cassa.  It’s got the same vibe.

The author of the Queen City publication mentioned that Afro Pop was generally a descendant of Su Cassa, and that’s where I politely opposed.  Afro Pop, led by my friend and fellow African warrior Ifeanyi Ibeto, is a unique, independent and completely different musical offering.  Instead of being a descendant or following the footsteps Su Cassa, I’d say Afro Pop is the cousin from the same root.  We’re all family, so I’m going to both homesteads for Thanksgiving.  I will slaughter a cow and goat for both family members.  I think it’s equally important to know the difference.

When far from home, you need to find a home.  Afro Pop does that for me as does DJKix’s Afro Turn Up set which inspired me to write this post.  Afro Pop makes me feel like I am in Zimbabwe, while Su Cassa makes me feel like I am in the London house scene with my Dad playing his Fela Kuti – the Father of Afrobeat and my cousin Rhodhizha playing his Chronixxx.  There’s  nothing wrong with that.

I’m glad I have both places to connect us in the African Diaspora – whatever that means to you. It’s one thing to live in Africa, experience the beauty, survive the gritty poverty, yet comforted by it’s rich people.  Some may be poor in the pocket, but rich in the soul.  My parents made it through similar and incredible, dark circumstances.  I never confuse their newfound comfort with where they came from.  They are trailblazers who were born in Rhodesia, but when they visit, they visit Zimbabwe – The House of Stone. They overcame white minority rule and participated in Zimbabwe’s rebirth until she turned twenty five years old.

It’s also very different to live in the first world – also with similar struggle.  The Civil rights era has its similarities to white minority rule, but the differences are some I can convey if we shared a hazelnut coffee brew.  That’s a whole other post.   I’m reading Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” right now and Apartheid as he says is all of those put together with ecstasy.  Simply, he was born a crime so put that into perspective, when you see how far he has come.  He’s actually Charlotte so someone, please buy me a ticket!  It’s been sold out and I need him to sign my prized copy of his book.  He’ll be performing at the BELK THEATER at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Anyway, after one dance too many at Afro Pop I thought I was in Lagos, Nigeria during one of DJKato’s mesmerizing sets, only to wake up from the slumber and venture into the meandering Charlotte’s streets and be reminded of my status as a black African foreigner who some still call a booty scratcher, but I have to correct you – we’re also scratching gold, platinum and and other precious minerals from our African Soil. (Read my first ever blogpost about the son, the soil and the Sun.

DJ Kato provides that temporary escape and that’s Afro Pop in a nutshell. He plays some of the most pulsating Afrobeat you will only find on Youtube, Soundcloud or an an African radio on station. Oh and so does DJKix.  Artists like Niniola, Kojo Funds,  DaVido, Mr Eazi, ExQ, Maleek Berry, Ayo Jay, Patoranking, Sarkodie,  Wizkid, Iyanya, YCee, WSTRN., Black Coffee, DJ Maphorisa, Jah Prayzah, Tiwa Savage, Takura and dozens more.

This post is just contributing some clarity regarding two of  favorite nights in the Queen City.  Join me at Su Cassa and Afro Pop once a month.  You’ll find me at BOTH.  My single HOPE is for this family of diaspora cousins, brothers, sisters and entrepreneurs continue to be plated, germinate, grow and create more branches.  It was a pleasure to write this, but I have to go. It’s Su Cassa tomorrow at Petra’s in Plaza Midwood.

SonofGuruve is a member of the Shona tribe from Zimbabwe, Africa. He likes to audit technology, cook his own meals, while listening to Afro Beat and writing blogposts every now and again.  He can be reached via the Contact Us page.

SonofGuruve © 2018


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