Closeup
Doing it For the Art: Manolo Raps in Cape Verde
Closeup July 23, 2019
Doing it For the Art: Manolo Raps in Cape Verde
At the 2019 Atlantic Music Expo in Cape Verde, Afropop's Sebastian Bouknight met Manolo, a longtime rapper who is trying to find a foothold in the country's overcrowded music scene.
The Voice of Protest: Betsayda Machado Sings Against Hunger in Venezuela
Closeup January 23, 2018
The Voice of Protest: Betsayda Machado Sings Against Hunger in Venezuela
The songs of Betsayda Machado, the leading voice of Afro-Venezuelan music, address many of the most painful topics of daily life of her country: hunger, poverty, shortages of basic medicine, and deadly street riots – stemming from the current economic and political crisis in Venezuela.
“For My Ayeeyo:” Learning Somali Poetry From a Distance
Closeup January 9, 2018
“For My Ayeeyo:” Learning Somali Poetry From a Distance
Amal Hussein and Hamdi Mohamed have a lot in common. Both were born in Kenya, where their parents fled as refugees during the Somali Civil War, and both came to Boston when they were just a few years old. They’re both poets — and equally important for this story — both their grandmothers are poets...
Underground
Closeup December 26, 2017
Underground
Underneath the streets of New York City, in the tunnels and stations of the busiest subway system in the country, there is a thriving music scene. Amidst the noise of passing trains, we meet Papa Fara, a Cameroonian xylophonist and singer, who plays for tips and captures the love of strangers and makes friends with his quick, warm smile. But, behind the smile and beautiful melodies, something is troubling Papa Fara. There’s a reason he’d rather be underground.
Biafra at 50: A Wound That Does Not Heal
Closeup December 12, 2017
Biafra at 50: A Wound That Does Not Heal
We examine how the unresolved issues that triggered the devastating Biafran War in the 1960s still resonate and persist in the Niger Delta today on this Afropop Closeup.
Kizito Mihigo and the Politics of Music in Post-Genocide Rwanda
Closeup November 28, 2017
Kizito Mihigo and the Politics of Music in Post-Genocide Rwanda
Kizito Mihigo is one of Rwanda’s most beloved singers, yet he is currently imprisoned, serving a 10-year sentence for treason. In 2014, Mihigo released a song which criticized the wartime actions of Rwanda’s governing political party. The song went viral, sparking a nationwide dialogue around the genocide, and weeks later, Mihigo was arrested on charges of conspiracy to assassinate the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
Night at the Clash
Closeup November 14, 2017
Night at the Clash
Sound clashes have been a mainstay of reggae culture for decades. Mobile sound system teams face off to see who can best move the crowd with their selections of records and exclusive "dub plate" jingles. On a recent late night in Queens, seven sounds competed for the U.S. champion title, and many were surprised by the winner. We meet the sound-system operators and talk to fans about why they love the clash scene. Produced by Noah Schaffer.
Black, Greek and Proud: Negros Tou Moria
Closeup October 17, 2017
Black, Greek and Proud: Negros Tou Moria
Ghanaian-Greek rapper Negros Tou Moria is carving out new territory and challenging stereotypes with rap music that is deeply rooted in Greek language and culture.

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