Two weeks ago we went down to New Orleans, Louisiana to set up shop for the eight edition of SUPAFRIK. It was an amazing experience worthy of a few thousand words. Instead here’s a hundred or so pictures instead of New Orleanians experiencing SUPAFRIK and us experiencing New Orleans. SUPAFRIK Weekend was a blast and we are already planning to do it again (join the FB page and stay tuned). To the beautiful people of New Orleans and the village that it took to make this happen: Thank you!
Words by Chinedu Ukabam | Photos by Aden Abebe
The beautiful Joan Mitchell Center where we lived, worked and played for the duration of our trip
Thanks to the students from State University New Orlean’s Museum Studies program. They were the best install we could have asked for. Erika Evans, Maya Mathews and Kazim Oyewuwo
We passed through a cool event put on by DOPEciety called “Couches”. It’s like bringing the coolest cutting edge bands into your living room to jam just for you. They transformed the space at PORT beautifully to fit with the theme. A few days later we used this same space to throw our GUMBO dance party.
We are taking the SUPAFRIK pop-up back on the road again! In less than two weeks we will be touching down in New Orleans for a 4 day food, fashion, art extravaganza! From November 12 – 15, SUPAFRIK will serve as a space and destination event where creative expressions from all over the African continent and communities in the diaspora will meet the rich and multilayered cultural milieux that New Orleans is world famous for.
We are pulling out all the stops for NOLA! The festivities kick off from 7PM on Thursday with an art exhibit titled “Nesting: The Makings of Home” at The Joan Mitchell Foundation (2275 Bayou Rd) featuring a selection of works by Shoshanna Weinberger (Newark, New Jersey), Shannon Lewis (Berlin, Germany), Heather Hart(Brooklyn, New York), photographer Patrick Melon (New Orleans) and a performance art piece by Rebecca Mwasse(New Orleans via Zimbabwe) drawn from her latest play Looking At a Broad. Complementary catering will be provided by local Afro-fusion pop-up foodies the Black Swan Food Experience. The SUPAFRIK pop-up shop will also be open for the duration of the four days selling a selection of cutting edge fashion from Osei Duro (Made in Ghana), New Orleans based DopeCiety, a new collection from Chinedesign (Toronto) and top sellers from Blkkangaroo. The shop will also a curated selection of art and art objects from Material Life Nola (including coveted limited edition pieces by Kehinde Wiley and Chris Ofili)
Other events in the line-up include a runway and live-mannequin fashion show, a theatrical production, an art panel discussion on creativity, a movie and an African-themed masquerade ball featuring Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band (Friday). Not to mention a “Gumbo” party featuring a first time historical collaboration between Toronto and New Orleans DJs connecting the dots by mixing musical flavors from NOLA, Africa and the Caribbean.
It is all as exciting as it sounds. Check back often as we reveal more details over the next few days. We don’t want to overwhelm you with too much goodness at one time!
Moments captured by Taiwo Bah Words by Chinedu Ukabam
“Yesterday was the hottest day of the Toronto summer so far. Humidity so thick, the city issued a heat warning that sent people scampering to the nearest air conditioned enclosure. It was the type of heat that would make someone want to throw a trash can through the front window of a pizza parlor. Continue reading →
By now you must have heard of our AFROBEATS pop-up and party coming this weekend (Sunday April 26th from 4pm) to the Sky Yard patio of Toronto’s Drake Hotel! Otherwise join the facebook invite to get up to speed!
We’re bringing that SUPAFRIK energy to Queen West again! This time the focus is on the DJs and their unique blend of urban African sounds. Not to be confused with Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat (without the s), Afrobeats is a catch all term originating in the UK that refers to different electronic dance music genres from the African continent and African crews in London, Lisbon and Paris. From Ghanaian Azonto to Angolan Kuduro to South African House. DJs Deemaks, DJ Camron and Dj Revy B will submerge the Sky Yard patio in bass heavy Afrobeats sets with splashes of R&B, hip-hop, reggae and pop. We will also have a pop-up shop in Room 222 carrying African-inspired brands like Chinedesign, Eloli and Papaya & Co
We briefly caught up with the DJs to find what they are listening to and what they’re watching.
Where are you based and how long have you been DJing for?
I’m based in Toronto & Calgary. I’ve been DJing for about 5 years now
Personal Top 5 African Songs at the moment in no particular order
1. The Sound – Davido ft. Uhuru & Dj Buckz 2. Nasema Nawe – Diamond Platnumz ft Khadija Kopa 3. Gbese – Lil Kesh 4. Nobody But Me – Vanessa Mdee ft. K.O 5. Original – Fally Ipupa Continue reading →
Here’s a little something to help you get over the hump. Nigerian pop music or “Afrobeats” does not really any introduction these days so let’s get right into it. We recently went on a trip to Nigeria and these are the top 10 songs as heard in the clubs, house parties and market stalls! You can stream the playlist or download it. Enjoy!
10. BURNA BOY [Run My Race] – Around this time last year Burna Boy was riding high on his smash hits “Like to Party” and “Tonight” , and we predicted he’d be the next thing to come out of Nigeria. His rise (internationally) has not been quite as meteoric as we expected but he has since carved out his spot as a marquee local artist thanks in no small part to his dynamic in-house beatmaker extraordinatire LeriQ. Surprisingly, the slow almost haunting “Run My Race” gets heavier rotation in the club than the ol-skool dancehall-tinged “Yawa Dey”.
9. P-SQUARE [Personally] – Surprised this song was still getting heavy rotation so many months after it had spread like wildfire across the world aided by the MJ inspired, Clarence-Peters directed music video. “Personally”seemshas the same staying power as P-Square, one of the most popular groups in Nigeria and Africa in general.
8. J MARTINS ft DJ ARAFAT [Touching Body] – Barely five years ago, Coupe Decale music from Cote D’Ivoire spread like wildfire across the African continent and diaspora. DJ Arafat was at the helm of that movement as a producer and recording artist. Fast forward to 2013 and his biggest hit is a feature on Nigerian pop artist’s single. To his credit, J Martin’s has always managed to pull off natural collaborations from a pan-African pastiche and the sensual basslined “Touching Body” is no exception.
7. TIMAYA [Ukwu] – The follow up to the monster hit “Malo Nogede”, the dancefloor-filling “Ukwu” takes a page from the South African House sound courtesy of Johanesburg-based Nigerian producer Masterkraft. Timaya might start running out of body parts to sing about. Prior to “Ukwu”(waist), he already had a big hit with a song called “Bum Bum”.
6. KCEE [Limpopo] – Although he’s not new to the scene, this is the song that catapulted KCEE from relative obscurity to super stardom. The sublime “Limpopo” starts out like another David Guetta-esque ode to nightlife but once the percussion and claps kick in, there is no doubt this is pure Afrobeats business.
5. FLAVA [Shake] – After releasing arguably one the biggest cross-continental hits in recent memory (2011’s “Nwa Baby (Ashawo)”, Flava could have drifted into. Everything he touches turns to gold. Almost every song on the album is a hit. “Shake” just happens to be the most popular one in December. Flava has redefined the meaning of “selling out”. Both his albums have literally sold out it in all the markets of eastern Nigeria.
4. MAFIKIZOLO [Khona] – A South African house track so massive that it has muscled its way that it onto this all-Nigerian list. “Khona” has even spawned a bunch of Nigerian versions: the official remix with May D, an Igbo version (comedically capitalizing on some linguistic coincidences), a Pidgin version and a Yoruba version.
3. KCEE [Pull Over] – This playful song about picking up a girl from the point of view of a traffic cop stopping a car was inescapable this December. “Pull Over”features Wizkid on the hook and DelB on the beat again.
2. WIZKID [Caro] – Afrobeats international superstar Wizkid always picks the best beats to flex his melodic prowess on. The last two years has belonged to Wizkid and this song is just the icing on the cake. Props to the Legendury Beats brothers for providing this lush soundscape. One can only hope that they release the “Caro” instrumental at some point.
1. DAVIDO [Skelewu] – Produced by Shizzy, this is the biggest song in Nigeria bar none! Blasting out of every club, taxi and market stall. Nothing else need to be said just listen to it! By the way it seems there’s a few thousand “Skewelu” dance videos out there. In case you are into that sort of thing, the best ones are by Lipstick Bandits and LA N6.
WIZKID [On Top of Your Matter] – It was hard to keep this one out of the top 10. Wizkid still with his uncanny ear for richly layered production. The best way to describe the DelB produced beat for “On Top of Your Matter” is “Digital Highlife”. (This sounds like an idea for a future compilation or new West African genre)
OREZZI [Rihana] – Addictive dancehall-tinged ode to the main Bajan badgyal or the girls that look like her.
WANDE COAL [Rotate] – Crazy catchy song by a top artist whose star seems to be slowly fading. Sounds like its the superproducer Don Jazzy (“Oliver Twist”) on the bouncy beat.
On February 15, 2013 masked and decorated guests will join to celebrate modern fashion infused with African and Caribbean aesthetics and traditions. Toronto fashion label, Chinedesign presents “Masquerade”; the brand’s second exhibition mixing fashion and art as part of TD’s “Then and Now” Series for Black History Month.
Masquerade as it is performed all over Africa, is a complex and often secret ritual that is interwoven into the religious, political and social fabric of the people. The masks or the masquerade costumes are often believed to represent the spirits of ancestors and local deities. Carnival as it is practiced in the Caribbean and in South America is a mix of European and African notions of Masquerade and is becoming increasingly popular in Africa as well.
“Growing up in Nigeria, I have always been fascinated by Masquerades. I was captivated by the myth, costumes, and entranced by the music.” Shares Chinedu, designer of Chinedesign.
Taking place simultaneously with popular Carnival celebrations around the globe, the evening will feature a mix of cultural elements beginning with a Diptych digital presentation by Another Africa, depicting the influence of African Masquerade on fashion, photography and art. The Masquerade Collection runway presentation is paired with an original soundtrack composed exclusively by Chinedu, and to celebrate the Carnival festivities a Masked Ball will follow where masks are mandatory until midnight.
The avant-garde “Masquerade” Collection features more than a dozen looks that Chinedu describes as, “designed for the spirits”, including custom designed prints. Each design features unorthodox materials such as cowry shells, woven chains, fringed leather, lace, traditional African indigo fabric, plants and large seeds that are commonly used in West African masquerade. Exquisite headpieces created in collaboration with British Milliner Keiron Vine, complete the style.
“As a fashion designer, my appreciation of masquerade has come to take on another dimension. I am enthralled by the aesthetic and garment technology of the masquerade and I have long nurtured the idea of creating my first “couture” collection, as opposed to “ready to wear”, by deconstructing and remixing elements of masquerade “
The event will take place on Friday February 15th at Daniels Spectrum, located at 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto. Doors open at 9pm and the multimedia fashion presentation will begin at 10pm followed by the Masquerade Ball. The style code is formal or African Traditional and masks are mandatory until midnight. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.chinedesign.com/masquerade
An artist that’s been getting alot of spins at the SUPAFRIK HQ is Burna Boy from Port Harcourt, Nigeria. With his effortless fusion of Jamaican patois with Nigerian pidgin and dancehall and house with hip-hop and highlife, it’s no surprise why’s been pegged by many tastemakers as the next artist to make a big splash on the African music scene.
Unlike most artists of his generation, Burna is not afraid to sometimes incorporate live musicians play a big part in his performances (No big surprise there. His grandfather was Fela Kuti’s longtime manager) Even if your New Year’s Eve was a low key affair, you can live vicariously through Burna Boy’s video for his feel good smash single “Like to Party” (produced by the talented Leriq) above and his latest house-tinged release for 2013, “Tonight” below: