As Thanksgiving is upon us, some may find time to squirrel away with a phone or laptop and escape into a world of music and imagination. Others may wish to share these with an excited, skeptical or, perhaps, battle-fatigued family. Whatever your holiday circumstance, we offer an extended set of 10 strong Afropop-related videos! (They’re not all technically “new,” but at least “recent.”)
This new set is compelling for its seriousness, fitting in our troubled world. So the escape may not be entirely joyful, but the beats and fine musicianship never fail to uplift.
The entire Afropop Top Videos playlist for this year, which we have been curating since January, offers a satisfying and visceral way to experience high points in an eventful year of Afropop history.
We hope you enjoy!
Hilario Duran and his Latin Jazz Big Band: “Cry Me a River”
Grammy-nominated, Cuban-Canadian Hilario Duran and his Latin Jazz Big-Band give it all in this scintillating live performance. Elizabeth Rodriguez of OKAN kills on violin and vocals!
Nitefreak &friends (feat Phina Asa): “Ike Onu”
This Afro-House collective kicks out a party beat with provocative imagery and a darkly reflective message. Singer Phina Asa says “The idea behind this song was that I thought about the world today, and how it doesn't look how it used to. It's getting more challenging and complex, and in life, we can’t thrive on our own without any help. We need people to support us, push us, hold us accountable, and help us grow.”
Zoë Modiga: “Ilanga Lishonile”
Recorded live at Holland’s brilliantly curated Afrika Festival in Hertme, this is a powerful young South African singer paying tribute to Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, with a soulful adaptation of Makeba’s iconic “African Sunset.” Sweet balm for rattled nerves! The 99% white audience speaks to small-town Dutch demographics, But Modiga delivers 100%.
Les Aunties “Anina Yatou”
Montreal Afrofuturist Afrotronix has produced this grooving, in-your-face track/video by fellow Chadeans Les Aunties. Asking the question “Who are We?” these aunties from the East African Sahel have a message for us, and even though the subtitles are in their native Sara language, we get the spirit of the message, a challenge to the Chadean government to open meaningful dialogue with its people.
DK Phone “Gorèe Demba”
DK Phone is a young Senegalese artist unbound by the conventions of Senegalese music. This short, moody film, produced by Real World Records in the UK, revisits the history of slavery on Gorèe Island as “a struggle between hope and despair.” English subtitles leave little to the imagination.
Mito y Comadre, “Siento una pena”
This Venezuelan duo, new on the scene, come out strong with a rootsy sound, and an engaging animated video telling a story of migration, reflecting the lives of so many Venezuelans these days with surreal beauty.
Sinkane feat. Tru Osborne “Everything is Everything”
It’s been a while since we heard from Sudanese-American rocker Sinkane. He’s back with a sly, funky single (in advance of a new album in 2024). The song reflects on the realities of being Black in America with Sinkane’s falsetto croon interweaving a strong backing chorus and Tru Osborne’s soulful vocal cameo.
Dawer x Damper: “Combete”
This breakout duo from Cali, Colombia, has a tuneful, hip-hop fused Afrofuturistic sound. This video, takes us to the street. Well worth repeat viewings for the imagery alone.
Don Kipper: “Ya Leyli”
This psychedelic Mediterranean ensemble draws from a rich pool of influences. Here the vibe comes from the Maghreb, with ornamented Arabic vocals and a satisfying build from understated North African funk to a full-on, rolling rock crescendo.
Damily: “Zeo leharea”
Finally, here’s music of unrelenting joy! Never mind that tsapika music is generally performed at funerals in southwest Madagascar, its buoyant spirit is irresistible, especially for fans of high-flying electric guitar Afro-skiffle. Expect a new album from Damily next year.