5-month love and most popular posts

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Teddy-Ruge

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Chief-Nyamweya

Agnes Kuye

Today marks 5 months since I started this blog and I wanted to share some 5-month love to all who've read, shared and spread the love over 47 countries and territories worldwide* – thank you!

These are the posts you've been digging the most:


*Intel from Google Analytics
Images from top: Rachel Stewart, TMS Ruge, Rafiya, Chief Nyamweya, Agnes Kuye. See respective posts for full image credits. Incidentally, the images in this post read like a natural afro hair poster – one love!

Interview with Ihsani Culture

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Today's interview is with the Design Director of Ihsani Culture. She champions the spirit of Afri-love as she breathes and has been inspiring and encouraging me since the day we virtually met! I'm so happy to present to you her passion, and her fashion…

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What's your passion?
My passion is Africa – just making use of my gifts, and any I pick up along the way, to impact Africa.  

What inspired Ihsani Culture?
Ihsani Culture is inspired by a desire to make beautiful what was considered mediocre or ugly. It is inspired by God – a creator of infinite beauty, not limited to one standard as people are. The December Collection was inspired by African/Dry Lace, an embroidered fabric that usually looks pretty ugly/mediocre in the way it's usually wrapped or worn. 

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What has been your greatest obstacle/challenge in establishing Ihsani Culture?

My greatest obstacle has been learning to let go of control. With the people I work with (who run their own businesses), with the designs I make (which usually morph into something different from the sketches) with the client (who is usually not certain), with God (who has a bigger, deeper purpose than I often see). 

How have you dealt with/overcome it?
Faith and trust. It works for all of the above. I have the most hardworking, talented team I could have prayed or asked for. 

What has your greatest achievement been?
My greatest achievement is BEGINNING the work. I'm thirty. 30 years of seeking purpose. 

Where will you be in 10 years?
I really dont know. But Ihsani will be all over Africa, with its base in Nairobi, and in boutiques across the world. 

How does Africa inspire you?
Africa is who I am and it's Africa that raised me – the rest of the world just barely touched me. So everything that flows out of me is Africa – whether its basic components look or do not look overtly or stereotypically African. 

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Anything else you'd like to share?

Ihsani is based on the premise that 'beauty flows naturally from within'' – It is the women who make the clothes come to life beautifully.  

Anything we should look out for in the coming weeks/months/year?
Look out for more innovation and beauty from Ihsani and all the designers sprouting up in Africa. I am not alone or unique in my mission. Look out for African clothing for the cold July weather from Ihsani. 

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Images courtesy of Ihsani Culture

Week in review

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Rafiya CD Amazing

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I hope you've all had a fantastic week. Mine's been hectic and it's great to exhale a little, take stock and get revved up for the week ahead. It was busy on the blog too with multi-media inspiration! The week ended on a high note with a taste of the continuing influence of Fela Kuti's spirit.

Here's a round-up in case you missed anything:

 A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebook, twitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

This coming week, look out for:

  • Quote of the week
  • Moving beyond defiance through design and investigating design for good
  • An interview with an incredibly funky and Afri-fabulous London-based designer
  • Inspiration from a handful of my role models 
  • TGIF! a look at African music's new classics
  • A celebration for Zambia's Independence Day 

Have a fantastic week! Be proud and be inspired.

 :)

Images above: 2nd from top – Fela-inspired art (see Fela post for details); 3rd from top – songstress Rafiya's CD, Amazing; graphic defiance from Chaz Maviyane-Davies (see post for details); bottom – jewelry from Rachel Stewart.

Interview with afro-soul songstress, Rafiya

Rafiya CD Amazing

I realised that all the interviews on the blog so far have featured men and some female representation is overdue! What better way to start than with beautiful afro-soul songstress, Rafiya. Born in the US to Congolese parents, Rafiya's music is inspired by her experiences across the globe. She wants to make you smile, dance and think. 

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What's your passion?
Making a difference through music and education.

What inspired you to pursue a musical career?
I've wanted to become a singer for as along as I can remember. Seeing musical talent and artists giving concerts always stirred something deep inside of me. Mariah Carey never failed to leave me in awe and I wanted to develop such vocal abilities and to perform in front of huge audiences. I did that … in front of imaginary crowds … but not for long. 

Growing up in a family of music lovers, my parents encouraged me and nurtured my talent by providing and sometimes by creating opportunities for me to sing and to blossom in that field. My father actually wrote the first song I recorded at age 7. Today music is so much more than performing to me. It's the channel that I use to uplift spirits and I want to continue doing that for as long as I can.

What has been your greatest challenge in being a musician? How have you dealt with/overcome it?
The greatest challenge I faced as a musician was combining being a musician and being a full time high school teacher. The latter being very demanding (lesson planning, grading papers etc.), I often experienced some frustration not being able to fully embrace my singing career. I took a leap of faith and decided to follow my first passion.

What has your greatest achievement been?
I would say having been able to release my debut album, Amazing, independently.

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Where will you be in 10 years?
In 10 years I will be in Africa, married with children, making music and running a literacy school.

How does Africa inspire you?
Africa is part of me. It is translated in my music in the language that I sing in in some songs (Lingala from the Congo) and in the African vibes that we find in the instrumentation.

Anything else you'd like to share?
My album, Amazing, was recorded in 3 different continents (Africa, Europe and North America) and is a real treat 😉

Anything we should look out for in the coming weeks/months/year?
I do have a couple of shows coming up. I will be the featured artist at Lickety Split in Philadelphia on the 26th of this month.In November, I will be performing at the the Built for Haiti Benefit Concert in NY. Also look out for the video of a collabo with the rap group JMNI and one with Marllen, a Mozambican star.

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Get a taste of Rafiya's music here and enjoy some positive mid-week vibes! This week, I'm especially digging her rendition of "Mario", originally performed by Franco and TPOK Jazz.

Images by Magma Photography. Buy Rafiya's album on Amazon or on iTunes.

Week in review

Week-in-review

I've decided to start posting a review of the past week's activity on the blog. Last week was quite a busy one, with record hits (for which I thank you all!). With 3 independence days on the continent, it was indeed a celebratory week. Unfortunately, Nigeria's 50th anniversary of independence was marred by the Abuja bomb attacks. Resilience is a great word to describe the colourful nation of Nigeria and here's a fitting article by Bilkisu Labaran, on the depth of meaning carried in that one word, "Naija".

A round-up of posts incase you missed any:

A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebook, twitter and you can also subscribe to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

This coming week, look out for:

  • Quote of the week
  • Juicy visual inspiration from Morocco
  • An interview with a pair of entrepreneurs  with big plans for Africa's music industry
  • Reflections on the value of taking the easy way out
  • TGIF! The East African edition of Classic African tunes

And possibly more, we'll see how the week goes…

Have a fantastic week! Be proud and be inspired.

Lulu
:) 

Interview with musician Muntu Valdo

 

 

**Muntu Valdo will be performing on Friday 30th October, 2015, at the final of the Afri-love Sundown Sessions in London. Limited space available so book your tickets now.**

 

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Celebrating Cameroon's Unification Day (marking independence from the UK) and continuing the Afri-love interview series that began this week, today – featuring Cameroonian musician, Muntu Valdo. Writing his own music since the age of 15, Muntu has developed a unique style he calls the Sawa Blues. Here's a little about the man behind the enchanting, sincere, soulful music … 

Continue reading “Interview with musician Muntu Valdo”

Interview with artist Chief Nyamweya

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I'm so excited to present the first in a series of Afri-love interviews. I'll be interviewing people who do what they love and who are influenced by that rich continent, Africa (of course). Hopefully you'll find the interviews as inspiring as I do!

Continue reading “Interview with artist Chief Nyamweya”