This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Felabration 2015 #TurnUp in Accra. The event was a fabulous way to honour the legendary Fela Kuti’s birthday. You guys know I don’t play when it comes to my afrobeats, and I got my love for Fela from growing up in Nigeria. I lost all my home training when Kyekyeku performed Fela’s “Lady.” For me though, the best performance of the night was by Villy & the Xtreme Volumes. Absolutely electrifying. I was screaming YAAAASSS, hitting my shoki and waving my handkerchief like your overly turnt Auntie at the church BBQ.
Anyhoo! Before the event I was stressing about what to wear. It was laundry day and I needed to take a simple outfit from “okay” to “SLAY!” Et voila… a cutesy little black dress and some chic accessories.
This “little black dress” is actually a vest top from Dorothy Perkins, tucked into a flared mini skirt from my beloved Primark.
I paired this outfit with a gorgeous deep coral beaded necklace, accented with a chunky bronze section. It was a gift from a very dear friend, and I love it. I’m a fiend for pops of bright colour, so I set off the red/orange of the necklace with a fuchsia lip. This lipstick is “Spellbound” by CoverGirl- I picked it up in Sydney and it is BAE!
And on my tootsies? These fringed tan sandals from New Look. I bought these babies in the summer for Wireless Festival in London. My aim was to serve Chocolate Pocahontas realness. I love these sandals with shorts and little skirts. The swishing of the fringe with every step gives me life!
There you have it! I felt fabulous and also like I had cheated the universe by creating an outfit out of laundry day dregs. A little black dress will always be a winner for ladylike chic. I may swear like a sailor, but I am ALWAYS a lady. Like Fela said, “If you call am woman, African woman no go ‘gree… she go say I be Lady o…”
I’ve told you guys before how D’Angelo was my first love. His 2000 “Voodoo” album was one of the first CDs I ever bought, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve listened to it almost every night for 15 years. D’Angelo was known as the face of the Neo-Soul movement in the 90s, and he shaped my love for good music. Real music. I was enchanted by his stunning vocal range, raw magnetism, and conscious lyrics. A few years after Voodoo, D’Angelo disappeared from the music scene. There were personal and legal problems, drugs, a jail sentence. It seemed like he’d crashed and burned. And then last year I started hearing that he was back…
So a few weeks ago, I was on my way to work when my eyes caught a brightly coloured poster on the wall. As I got closer, I stopped in my tracks.
You know when your heart jumps into your mouth, you can’t breathe and you want to snatch your wig off and run screaming down the street? It was that kind of situation, honey. I jumped online immediately, terrified I was too late and tickets would be sold out. Thankfully God had my back and I nabbed the last ticket in the stalls. WOOP!!
Fast forward to last night and there I was at the Hammersmith Apollo, screaming with the crowd as the lights went down. And then suddenly, a burst of blue lights, wild horns, pounding drums and there he was!
We fans lost our goddamn minds as he prowled across the stage, laughing and waving. You guys… every note, every hum, was like a caress. I screamed myself hoarse. He served us with the big hits from his new album, Black Messiah, stirring us into a frenzy with “Sugah Daddy.” But shiz got real when he took us back to the Voodoo days. Lawd I was dancing up a storm, stomping my feet, clapping my hands, shouting “THAT BOY GOOD!”
After those troubled years away from the limelight, people were skeptical about how he’d handle this new tour.Let me be the first to tell you, he is still EVERYTHING. That incredible voice has matured and broadened, and his energy was just astounding. He was bounding across the stage, running back to play gorgeous trills on the piano, strapping on a bedazzled guitar, and interacting with the crowd. It was amazing to see the passion he has for the music, the way he and his band (who were just off the chain) were like a well-oiled musical machine. I loved seeing the old James Brown call-and-response style of working with the band.
A couple of hours later, thousands of fans hollered and clapped, demanding an encore. D’Angelo and the band burst back onto the stage to bring us home with his biggest hit: “Untitled (How Does it Feel?)” This is without a doubt my favourite song ever, so I was just overwhelmed with joy at this point. The heartbeat-heavy-bassline, wailing horns, and gorgeous vocals were better live than I could have ever imagined. This song was for anyone who was harbouring doubts about his talent after the long absence. The famous falsetto was flawless. And when he sang that line “I’d love to make you <insert pearl-clutch> in between your thighs” there were no knickers left in the crowd. Honestly. Panties just ceased to exist. Good Lord.
As the song went on, the band and backing singers left the stage one by one, to thundering applause. Finally it was just him on stage, behind the piano. The last few notes he sang were the sweetest and richest I have ever heard. After the last “How does it feel?” he looked out at us and laughed, “It feels so good, London, thank you! Goodnight!”
Ooooooo CHILE! You guys, it’s the May Bank Holiday long weekend here in London, and the sun is shining! I’m deliriously happy right now and feeling so blessed. Life is fabulous. God is so good; can I get an exuberant “Amen” in this place?
*breakdances down church aisle, holding onto ludicrously large hat*
In celebration of the long weekend AND my birthday month, I’ve decided to share one of my very favourite songs with you. I don’t even know where to start! How do we love it? Shall we go ahead and count the ways?
1. This track, by the legendary Awilo Longomba, is one of West Africa’s favourite songs: Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Awilo rose to stardom in the late 90s and pretty much refused to quit. Congolese makossa music (or zouk-soukouss as it’s sometimes known) has ruled the charts back home for years now. Just the other day I ran into an old friend, and while reminiscing he said “Ah yes, back when makossa was still relevant.” I got all intense like:
2. The love for this track is universal: From Lagos to Accra, from Freetown to Cotonou, this is the song that’s guaranteed to tear up the dancefloor every single time. It’s deeply embedded in my childhood party memories. If you’re ever invited to any West African function, whether it be a wedding, a birthday party or a christening (true story bro), this song will feature at some point. So best get your moves ready and bring your A game.
3. The aforementioned moves: The Congolese are revered throughout the African continent for their dancing prowess. I’m talking pelvic thrusts that could take your eye out. I think the secret is in the music- I mean listen to those pounding drums, that bassline and those frantic soukouss guitars! They put this track on and things get really real, really fast.
4. Finally, I just adore this video so much: This party is wild as all hell and I LOVE IT! I mean are we not going to talk about Ms Karolina and how she gleams for the Gawds? You just KNOW she basted herself in the Good Cocoa Butter before heading out to the club. Not the Palmers stuff either, I mean the good kind that her Auntie Doris (it’s always Auntie Doris) brought back from her last trip to Ghana. The gleam/fierce bod ratio was so high that my man at the door said “Pour vous, c’est gratuit!” (For you, it’s free). You bet your ass it was free.
5. The cheeky lyrics: Let me go ahead and translate one of the more salacious lines for you:
“Elle est sucré partout… elle est sucré devant, elle est sucré derriere… je ne peut pas la laisser”
“She is sweet throughout… she is sweet in front, she is sweet behind… I can’t leave her alone”
YOWZA! Awilo didn’t come to play games… I also love how some of the lyrics don’t quite make sense. Awilo is known for shouting out random names- I don’t know if they’re shout-outs to his buddies or? In this track, you’ll hear “George Weah waka waka” George Weah is a famous Liberian ex-footballer/politician who did incredible humanitarian work in his home country. But why is he mentioned in this track? Are they pals? We’ll never know. I think it’s fab.
6. The man himself: I have always been a huge fan of Awilo’s style- or should I say STEEZ because this is a serious situation! I know you saw those gold-tipped locs, and his pristine white jeans. Listen… I love that he dresses like that over-excitable Uncle that shames everyone at the family barbecue, dressing like someone a third of his age. I love Awilo and I’m here for his fuchsia shirt (complete with medallion and complementary nip-slip).
And finally, let it be known that this track is actually my alarm clock! One of my favourite comedians/YouTubers Clifford Owusu demonstrates why here. Watch it now, thank me later.
It’s Easter my loves! This is my favourite time of year. It’s spring, and everything is lush and green and filled with hope. The sun is out, the days are getting longer, and I have to tell you, I just feel fantastic! I love being able to shrug off the misery of winter and start thinking about my vast array of sundresses and sandals. It might still be chilly here in London, but the weather is beautiful. I will never complain about being able to feel the sun on my face.
So in the spirit of sunshine and sass, allow me to present one of my favourite songs.
This track is so joyous and filled with funk that I can barely contain myself long enough to type this *insert naked cartwheel* I’ve been listening to this on repeat for over a week now, and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon!
Why we love this song:
1) Right from the start, the beat grabs you and refuses to quit. Tell me you’re not bopping while listening to this. Stop it! You’re lying.
2) I love the lyrics. Listen to the man: “You’ve got a way of dancing/ that’s making me want to do things/ like taking a chance on romancing/ cos you make my temperature rise…” YAAAAAAAASSS. It’s perfect! That moment of pure connection when you’re dancing with your crush, feeling the beat reverberate through the soles of your feet and move up through your body. Maybe the two of you get closer (I don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind), maybe your eyes meet, maybe you think “OMG THIS IS HAPPENING OMG” I effing love it.
3) Do we need to talk about Mr Patterson’s dulcet tones? The way his voice sounds like velvet, like Stevie Wonder revisited?
4) When the track reaches the bridge at 2:40, that thumping beat and pared-down vocal allows you to, as my darling Rosie says, “get all your shoulders in it” Go. On. Ahead. You work hard, you deserve this!
Finally, look what I found when I was hunting for this track; a choreographed routine to “So Hot” that’s a delight to watch. These guys are having so much fun and it makes me so happy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YFHhlpY5cc
Have a wonderful Easter darlings! Get out there in the sun and cavort to your heart’s content. And remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!
LE HUGE SIGH. I just love the bejesus out of this song, and have done ever since I was a little girl in afro-puffs. We had a working television for approximately three days out of my entire childhood, and I spent every available moment of those days watching MTV. I’ll never forget the first time I saw this video. I was in the middle of re-enacting a WWF fight with my little brother (how we never killed or paralysed each other is a mystery to me) and suddenly I heard this male falsetto crooning “Would I lieeee…” I swung around quick-smart because I instantly knew that no, this man would never lie. Not to me.
And that was the moment my crush began. Look yeah, I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know which one of these gents is Charles and which one is Eddie. All I know is that I’ve been lusting after that guy with the luxurious mane of long hair ever since I was a kid. Look how he swishes it. How he whips it back and forth. See how he gives excellent sideburn/earring action too? Urgh I just want to help him apply an Aveda hair mask and give him a salacious scalp massage. I have indeed looked into his eyes (which, yes, are open wide) and I can see that even if he did lie to me, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass.
Anyhoo I have digressed shamelessly. Soz- the video is perfection, and not just because of Charles/Eddie’s coiff (please don’t tell me which dude is which, I love the not knowing). I also love this track because that early 90s beat gives me everything I have ever needed in life. Plus a little bit extra.
I also adore the sweetness of the message. I’m single, but I may not always be. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll fall in love. And perhaps one day I’ll read his diary and find that I really am in every line.
It was the end of a rubbish week; non-stop rain, London transport fuckery and rough days at work. I was left feeling stressed, vulnerable, and on edge. Then one of my friends said the two magic words: GAY BAR.
Cue shrieks of excitement, piling high of hair and over-exuberant application of eye makeup. I was LIVING for the weekend and so ready to Get. On. Down. We headed to Escape Bar & Nightclub in Soho and proceeded to get #TurntUp. There had been whispered rumours of £1 tequila shots. Having been hurt before, I dared not believe it could be true. BUT IT WAS. The only thing better than £1 shots is when the DJ seems to be playing every single one of your favourite songs in a relentless display of turntable prowess.
We were packed on that dancefloor like sardines, and I can safely say it was one of the best nights out I’ve ever had. The crowd was wild and fun and the atmosphere was electric. The DJ whipped us into a frenzy- every time I thought about sitting down, I would hear the opening bars of another amazing track and proceed to lose my damn mind.
Highlights of the night:
1. The moment when Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” came on and I found myself in an intense dance battle in the centre of the floor. There was much whipping of hair back and forth, and there may even have been a hasty removal of earrings.
2. The moment when Fuse’s “Antenna” came on and the stoic bouncer was suddenly overcome by the beat. My dude was just unable to contain himself. The crowd cheered him on as he threw off his jacket and started cutting SERIOUS shapes by the door.
3. The moment when I took a shaky deep breath and surprised myself by exhaling it in a laugh. It caught me completely off guard mid-track, mid-spin on the dancefloor.
That was when I remembered that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed every once in a while. Sometimes all you have to do is wait for the beat to drop.
This post should really be called “Soundtrack to My Life” because I’ve had this song on repeat for so long now. Growing up in my beloved Nigeria means that my heart belongs permanently to Afrobeat. Initially made world-famous in the 60s and 70s by the legendary Fela Kuti, Afrobeat has continued to slay folks up until 2014. I love how modern West African artists are blending the old Afrobeat style with the typically Congolese/Central African sound, commonly known as makossa/soukouss/coupe decale. Add to this blend some of the best elements of modern pop music and you’re left with something INCREDIBLE. Get your chops round the video and then we’ll talk.
*sips palm wine*
And we’re back! Here’s why we love this track:
1. The phrase “Le Kwa Ukwu” is Igbo for “Look at that backside.” Perfection. You’d better effing look at it.
2. I am drunk in love with Iyanya himself. I mean. Are you going to SIT THERE and tell me that you don’t see how his waist moves as if independent of his body? You don’t see that glint in his eye? And that smile which is scientifically proven to cause arrhythmia? Just take a moment to look at that face. Honed out of the finest milk chocolate by a merciful God. I am so unable right now.
3. That thumping bass line. Those frantic drums. The smattering of cheeky guitar, so familiar to me from Central African/Francophone music. You know when you’re dancing and suddenly a track comes on that makes you lose your goddamn mind? Iyanya’s hit song “Kukere” was one of the most popular Afrobeat hits of 2013. Every time the opening bars start playing, there are howls of “THAT’S MY SAWNG” as people sprint for the dancefloor. Like, people are constantly injured in the struggle for prime dancing space. We Africans take partying extremely seriously- I myself have been known to do some quick stretches in the corner when my jam starts playing.
4. The whole song is about a man appreciating the beauty of a woman. The way she moves. The way she makes him feel. The vibe is sexy, sassy and most importantly, FUN. It makes me giggle.
So now tell me the truth- were you able to sit still while watching this?