Interview with singer-songwriter, Namvula 

I’m excited to share with you this very heartfelt interview with singer-songwriter, Namvula

I’ve known Namvula for over 10 years now and it’s been very inspiring to witness how she has embarked on a whole new career, with so much passion and dedication. In this interview she shares what inspired this courageous journey. It definitely encourages me to be less fearful in living my life more fully by pursuing more of the things that my heart and soul desire.

Namvula signs off her emails with a Rumi quote which always makes me pause and truly absorb it – it sort of sums up the ethos of this blog: “let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

Continue reading “Interview with singer-songwriter, Namvula “

Interview with Accessories Designer, Evie Nix

I met Yvonne Nicholson, the Zambian born UK based designer behind Evie Nix, at the African Market at Old Spitalfields in London. It’s her I have to thank for the fabulous kitenge/ankara/wax print corset that I walked away with that day.

Evie Nix offers unique African print corsets, jewellery and accessories, all handmade with love. I asked Yvonne a few questions about what drives and inspires her work. Continue reading “Interview with Accessories Designer, Evie Nix”

Design, Music and Good Vibes at Africa Oyé 2014

I spent a wonderful weekend in Liverpool, at the UK’s largest African musical festival, Africa Oyé. This year wasn’t just about soaking up the good music and good vibes (although there was still plenty of that) as I was helping out at the Creativity and Noise + Merkato stall.

 

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It was great to get out of the big city – I love train journeys, exploring new places and taking a breather from the hecticness of London.

 

3-Setting-Up-Festival-Stall

I have enormous respect for entrepreneurs who regularly set up at markets and events. It’s demanding work!

 

4-Laura-Merkato-MKTO-Setting-Up-Shop

This is Laura Marano, the lady behind Merkato (fairly traded homeware and fashion accessories). You may remember her from a popular Afri-love interview where she talked about her other venture, Green-Safari.

 

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Laura and Lusungu Chikamata of Creativity and Noise. All set up and ready to trade!

 

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It was exciting to launch the new Creativity and Noise t-shirts and tote bags, designed by yours truly and hand screenprinted by Lusungu.

 

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Beautiful wares from Merkato. Most made in the Taita-Taveta district of Kenya, where my Dad is from.

 

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Lusungu representing in his new ‘Beat It’ t-shirt. Look for it on the Creativity and Noise shop.

 

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Knit iPhone cases from Merkato.

 

10-African-Design-Guords-Taita-Baskets-Merkato

It was a visual treat checking out what the other vendors had to offer, such as these guords. Right: a Taita basket from Merkato (and the lady who made it!).

 

11-Kenya-Tanzania-Beaded-Bracelets

I met some fellow Kenyans, Muigai and Anto, who were selling these beaded bangles that had me feeling all patriotic. Kenya and Tanzania represented – perfect!

 

13-Moroccan-Shoes-Leather

A wonderful array of colours at Dry Rain, a stall selling Moroccan wares including these leather slippers.

 

14-Coasters-and-Bangles-by-Craft-Africa

Our neighbouring stall had a massive collection of baskets and other woven goods including these coasters, bangles …

 

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… and mats/rugs.

 

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A funky zebra-print van belonging to a food stall selling all kinds of African game meat, including my beloved crocodile!

 

17-African-Design-Recylced-Flip-Flops-Upcycled-Fridge-Magnets-Merkato

Butterfly fridge magnets made from recycled/upcycled flip-flops. From Merkato.

 

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Of course, there was time for dancing.

 

19-Africa-Oye-With-the-Zambians

Me with the Zambians, all representing with our Creativity and Noise tees.

 

20-Blue-Skies-Africa-Oye-Liverpool

It almost always rains at some point during the Africa Oyé weekend. This year, it didn’t! Blue skies and sunshine throughout. What a bonus?!

 

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All geared up and ready for day 2 of the festival.

 

22-Africa-Oye-African-Music-Jally-Kebba-Susso-Joe-Driscoll

We got to watch Joe Driscoll and Jally Kebba Susso  jamming/warming up early on the Sunday morning. The kora on reggae and hip hop tracks sounds amazing!

 

23-Sunset-Africa-Oye-Rose-Tinted-Glasses

As usual, the whole experience was a welcome and wonderful assault on the senses.

One of the things I love about Africa Oyé is that there’s no heavy-handed policing. The police and security presence at this festival is surprisingly minimal – you barely notice them. No gates to walk through where every inch of you is checked, no wall of policemen to intimidate. It just goes to show that if you treat people like human beings, they will act like human beings!

At some point on the Sunday, I found myself feeling a little bit teary. I know this is going to sound corny but, I was overwhelmed by just how beautiful the moment was. All kinds of people – ages, races, abilities; all kinds of random acts of kindness going on; people talking to strangers … real, tangible joy!

See you there next year!

 

Photos by Lulu Kitololo (and a couple courtesy of Lusungu Chikamata), most of them processed with VSCOcam. View even more photos from the weekend, on Facebook.

Continue reading “Design, Music and Good Vibes at Africa Oyé 2014”

TGIF! with the London African African Music Festival 2013 (September 13th – 22nd)

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London-African-Music-Festival-2013-Senegal-Malick-Pathe-Sow-Bao-Sissoko

 

The eclectic and critically acclaimed London African Music Festival returns for an 11th instalment, running from September 13th – 22nd, across 11 venues. 

From Congolese soul to Senegalese rap; from Somali poet to Cuban band; afrobeat, jazz, blues and more. Seriously, it's going to be a hectic 10 days!

Continue reading “TGIF! with the London African African Music Festival 2013 (September 13th – 22nd)”

Dispatches from WOW 2012 (& TGIF!): Emeli Sandé

Emeli Sande

Emeli Sande Our Version of Events

Along with all the talking, there was music! On the Friday, Annie Lennox, Katy B, Jess Mills and Emelie Sandé got together for Equals Live – a night of music that steps up the call for equality. Here's a little bit of Emeli for your Friday afternoon.

Some interesting facts: Emeli was born in Scotland to a Zambian father and English mother. Speaking of passion and having faith to follow yours – Emeli left university just before completing her Medicine degree, in order to pursue her music career. 

 

Photo 

TGIF! K-Letta wants you to Kata

K-Letta

You may remember K-Letta from almost a year ago on the blog. Well, he's back with a new track, "Kata", that pays homage to the old school song that you'll remember if you grew up in East Africa: "Kata, kata, kata mwanangu, kata. Kata, kata usiogope … ". 

Continue reading “TGIF! K-Letta wants you to Kata”

Week in review

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Senga-K-Designs-women wir

 Simphiwe Dana wir

Hope it's been a good week for you all. It's been another extremely busy one for me and the craziness helped me to realise a few things. Namely, the importance of making time for yourself even in the most frantic of times. This knowledge has been so useful in keeping me sane and focused on what I'm keeping busy for! Talk about synchronicity: amidst the melee, I discovered Zen Habits blogger, Leo Babauta's, latest book – Focus: A Simplicity Manifesto in the Age of Distraction. There's a free version available for download here (where you can also purchase a version with additional multi-media content). It's a fantastic read and I've already began my simplification mission.  

Here's a round-up of last week's posts, 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
  • What do a Tanzanian artist and Japanese architect have in common?
  • Interrogating some assumptions about African food
  • Yet another interview with another Africa-inspired talent
  • More music to give thanks for Friday

Have a fantastic week! Be proud and be inspired.

 :)

Images above: 2nd from top – Senga K Designs; bottom – Simphiwe Dana (see links for image details).