Monday, December 28, 2009

Concha Buika - New Afro Spanish generation

Concha Buika is a critically acclaimed flamenco fusion vocalist from Spain. Born in 1972 in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain, she is the daughter of political refugees from the former Spanish African colony Equatorial Guinea. She made her full-length recording debut with Buika (2005) on Dro Atlantic. On of the popular songs of the album is 'New Afro spanish generation'(video). The song is about being black and Spanish.

She collaborated with accomplished producer Javier Limón for her second album, Mi Niña Lola (2006). Her breakthrough release, Mi Niña Lola, sold over 100,000 copies in Spain. She collaborated with Limón again for her third album, Niña de Fuego (2008), which garnered a Latin Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Though Buika was frequently acclaimed by critics, the nomination came as a surprise, as she was little known outside the Spanish flamenco fusion scene. (Source: Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide)

La falsa moneda is from the album Niña de Fuego (2008)

Her latest album is 'El Último Trago'

Offical site: Buika

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Concert Fally Ipupa on January 2nd 2010 in Paris

Photo: Fally Ipupa and Olivia Longott
Saturday January 2nd 2010, Congolese singer Fally Ipupa will take possession of The Zenith in Paris from midnight to dawn. He will present his new album ‘Arsenal de Belles Mélodies’ to the French public. And this, after a triumphant tour on the African continent. With his song Droit Chemin (2006) he won a Trophée Arts Afro-Caribbean, and a gold record. He sold out stadiums in Africa, and performed with the popular group Kassav.

During the show in Paris he will receive a gold record for his achievements. He will be accompanied by the American R&B singer Olivia Longott, Longott was signed to the G Unit label of rapper 50 Cent.

On January 2nd The Zenith will tremble on the sounds of this popular innovative artist, who wants to produce "world music another way".

Friday, December 18, 2009

International Tropical Christmas Market Paris La Villette from 18 to 20 December 2009

For the first time in Paris, the Caribbean islands, combined with 42 African countries, will introduce a new journey called the 'Le Marché international de Noël tropical de Paris' (International Tropical Christmas Market of Paris).

It’s an Ultramarines mix of: crafts, clothing, jewelry, spices and other delicious cuisines.

Place: Paris La Villette, from 18 to 20 December 2009

Creative video. And why don’t black people write?

“What writing is for Jewish people, is making music for black people,” said my old Jewish High school classmate Ab a long long time ago.

His statement suddenly came to my mind while seeing a creative book video (see below), which I spotted on the blog De-cluttering my Mind

But is he right about black people? Of course there are lot of black writers out there. UK's Zadie Smith (picture), France's Marie NDiaye and my all time favorite, the American James Baldwin. I remember I had to defend my choice of Baldwin on my English literature list. Baldwin was not considered “literature”, at least not on my high school in Amsterdam.

Back to classmate and Jewish encyclopedia Ab. He added. “The reason why the influence of Jewish people in Hollywood is big, is also because there are many Jewish writers. We create are own heroes. That’s why black people don’t get Oscars.“

This reminds me of the global discussion about the underrepresentation of black people in the movies, and about the problems of black actors on ‘white’ stages. About these problem a black producer once said, “we need black writers who write black stories so we can create are own heroes in plays and films. “But,” he added, “ you need quantity to get quality.” I forgot to ask what he was implying.

But I refuse to believe that what writing is for Jewish people, is making music to black people. If that’s true then black people will be chained to Hip Hop videos forever, and the rest of the planet will create their own stories and transform them into block buster movies.

Chuck D once called Rap music the black CNN. I think I’ve heard enough ‘black’ news by now, I would like to read some of it on paper for the change. And the oral history thing? It’s just another way of saying that we don’t read books.

Back to the video: the video is of course what story writing is all about: creating a reader’s experience. The moment you open a book you must feel as if you were sitting in a train heading west. You see the smoke of locomotive, feel the bumpy railway and hear the train conductor saying: “ tickets please.” Yes, I tried!

And for the one who wants to be a writer, here’s the cliché tip from the writers wannabe class: Read Tsjechov! Read some of his short stories here.

And Ab? He started a Klezmer band. So he was wrong after all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First black head of a European state: Alessandro de Medici (Italy)

Another post of 'Black European nobility tucked away'. This time Italian Alessandro de Medici (1510 - 1537), first duke of Florence, and the first black head of a European state. His nickname was "il Moro" ("the Moor").

In an interesting PBS article the author Mario de Valdes y Cocom writes about Alessandro de Medici, and also about how his African ancestry was downplayed in an Exhibit: "Despite the many portraits of this 16th century Italian Renaissance figure, Alessandro de Medici's African heritage is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

Alessandro wielded great power as the first duke of Florence. He was the patron of some of the leading artists of the era and is one of the two Medici princes whose remains are buried in the famous tomb by Michaelangelo. The ethnic make up of this Medici Prince makes him the first black head of state in the modern western world.

Alessandro was born in 1510 to a black serving woman in the Medici household who, after her subsequent marriage to a muleteer, is simply referred to in existing documents as Simonetta da Collavechio. Historians today are convinced that Alessandro was fathered by the seventeen year old Cardinal Giulio de Medici who later became Pope Clement VII. Cardinal Giulio was the nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent."

Read full story: The blurred Racial Line of Famous Families: Alessandro de Medici

The post 'Black European nobility tucked away', was about the research of Egmond Codfried. Although Alessandro de Medici was not mentioned in the post, he was part of the research. The goal of the research, according to Codfried, is to prove that Europe was never as 'white' as we have been taught. Black people were always in Europe, even among the European nobility.

Special thanks to Annalisa Butticci, who noticed that Alessandro de Medici was not mentioned in the story.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Video debut: Leona Lewis: ‘I See You’

“I See You” (Theme from Avatar) by Leona Lewis in HD

Trailer Park | MySpace Video

Watch the exclusive music video for “I See You” (Theme from Avatar) by Leona Lewis. 'Avatar' (in theaters December 18) is the story of an ex-Marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms. As an Avatar, a human mind in an alien body, he finds himself torn between two worlds, in a desperate fight for his own survival and that of the indigenous people.

More than ten years in the making, Avatar marks Cameron's return to feature directing since helming 1997's Titanic, the highest grossing film of all time and winner of eleven Oscars® including Best Picture. WETA Digital, renowned for its work in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and King Kong, will incorporate new intuitive CGI technologies to transform the environments and characters into photorealistic 3D imagery that will transport the audience into the alien world rich with imaginative vistas, creatures and characters. Written and directed by James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. In theaters December 18. More info at

Monday, December 14, 2009

Black Jezus Nativity christmas scene angers Italian town

A nativity scene featuring a dark-skinned Jesus, Mary and Joseph has caused a storm after going on display in a Verona courthouse.

The nativity's appearance coincides with the right-wing Northern League's controversial operation 'White Christmas', a two-month sweep ending on Christmas Day to ferret out foreigners without proper permits in Coccaglio, a small League-led town east of Milan.

The Christmas scene - featuring a dark-skinned baby Jesus dressed in a red shirt and lying in a manger - was the idea of Mario Giulio Schinaia, the chief Public Prosecutor in Verona.

(The picture is not the actual nativity scene.)

Read: Nativity scene with black Holy Family causes storm in Italian town that launched 'White Christmas' drive

The Flanders (Belgium) have their first black TV-star: Uwamungu Cornelis

The Dutch speaking community of Belgium (60% of the total population) has a TV show with a black main character. This is a first timer! Uwamungu Cornelis is a Flemish actor of Rwandan descent. He has been doing the one man show ‘Mungu’ with which he was very successful throughout Dutch speaking Belgium. In this show he tackled the issues of being black and Flemish in a society that virtually ignores the existence of Flemish citizens of African descent.

He played a secondary role in the Flemish soap Kaat & Co and now is the lead actor in the new comedy soap Super8. This show started to be broadcasted a few months ago. I didn’t see this show yet, although I heard that the new digital TV station TV8, which produced it and broadcasts it, is of a good quality.

Watch the trailer:

Besides Uwamungu Cornelis there are some other famous black TV personalities in Flanders (Dutch speaking Belgium) such as Ronny Mosuse (musician) , Maya Albert (actor), Elodie Ouedraogo (athlete), Sandrine Van Handenhoven (singer), Karoline Kamosi also known as Leki (TV personality and singer).

Below you can watch the first episode's first 5 minutes:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Experience: Visiting the exhibit of the slave trade in Nantes (France)

Photo: Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes
During the 18th century, prior to abolition of slavery, Nantes was the slave trade capital of France. This kind of trade caused Nantes to become the first port in France and a wealthy city.

Till 3th Januari 2010 there is an exhibit 'Traite négrière et esclavage: la traversée' (Slave Trade and Slavery: crossing) in the Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes.

Blogger Mademoiselle Nadia visited the exhibit. On her blog Bounjour France she wrote: "Seeing actual shackles and chains that slaves wore in person has the capability to hit you pretty hard. In cases for our viewing, there were shackles and chains that these that marked the end of the freedom of the African slaves who were brought over to the new world via la traversée." The very shackles that they wore...It was powerful." read her full story here.

Nantes Journal; Unhappily, a Port Confronts Its Past: Slave Trade
Breaking the Silence Slave Routes: France

Thursday, December 10, 2009

“Darfur Plays” - Using Theatre To Build Bridges

Spotted on: Shadow and Act

A very inspiring documentary of a group of self-taught young actors in Dafur. They perform in the streets of their village and in the neighbouring refugee camp.

As someone from the 'West', Dafur is about war, human rights violation and ethnic cleansing. Dafur is chaos. It’s a place where Arabs are killing black people like sheep. It’s like a black planet without an ozone layer. So far my European view.

But in this documentary I saw artists who perform for their people, who spark the dialog and reach out to people who are perceived to be ‘the others’. So yes people also “live” there. They think about the future and make theatre plays. I saw artistic director Haythum Djalladien taking a cab in Darfur. (Small observation: the cab looked very new.)

There is still a war going on there! And it’s filthy. But it's also good to see change at work in Darfur.

Most interesting quote: Money runs out but ideas last.

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

VIDEO: Andreya Triana – Lost Where I Belong (UK)

Spotted on: Soul Culture

A new Soul star from UK. Perhaps best known for her collaborations with Flying Lotus & Bonobo, UK Soul singer Andreya Triana drops this gorgeous precursor to her début album Lost Where I Belong (Ninja Tune).

Andreya begun singing and songwriting from the age of seven taking influence from her mixed surroundings and cultural background. Hailing originally from South East London she moved to Worcester in the West Midlands at 14. At 17 she started doing an open mic night at the local music venue where the owner introduced her to a collective of musicians.

It was with this collective of talented and musicians, called Bootis that was to form the bench mark for her 'musical education'. source: Leedsmusicscene

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Black Europe Summer School - June 13th-30th 2010 in Amsterdam

Black Europe: Exploring Dimensions of Citizenship, Race and Ethnic Relations. June 13th-30th 2010 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This course will examine the multiple constructions of the term Black Europe and the social, economic and political implications within. Students will be able to earn 3 US (5 ECTS) credits for their participation. The content and the description of the summer school are listed below. If you are interested in hearing more about the course, please send a request for additional information via email to

Or visit the website, Ninsee
Application Deadline
April 15, 2010

Course Description


A multitude of discourses have emerged relative to the internationalism of Blacks worldwide and particularly in the Americas, but the prominence and impact of the Black presence in Europe has not been adequately explored. This seminar will examine the multiple constructions of the term Black Europe and the social, economic and political implications within. We will look specifically at anti-discrimination laws as they have arisen in various European countries; comparing the history of regulation and management of race and ethnic relations and the discourse surrounding the concept of Blackness and self-identification.

Social conflict

The seminar will begin with a historical overview of social and civil conflict in Europe leading to the formation of laws and antidiscrimination legislation within the EU. We will trace the chain of events following social and civil conflicts that prompted these policies and analyze the legislative and intellectual discourse produced in the aftermath.


We will also explore the notions of blackness as; an official categorization; as a social construction, employed by natives to indicate (non) belonging; as a Diaspora living within Europe; and as a contestation of the dominant (White) paradigm. We will focus on the historical and colonial legacies of European countries to discuss the origins of Black Europe and investigate the impact of these legacies on policies and legislation.

Race & ethnic relations

This course will also seek to address the dimensions of race and ethnic relations that are unique to Europe; examining the ways in which conceptions of the “other” are institutionalized and reproduced; the rise of xenophobia in various EU countries; the legal definitions and discourse surrounding the conceptualized “other”; and examining the ways in which each country has dealt with issues of race and national identity.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Black Peter deblackfaced (Netherlands)

In the Dutch city of Deventer an 18-year old black Pete (zwarte Piet) was attacked yesterday by a group of black men. They tried to wipe off his blackface makeup with a wet sponge.

According the attackers the action was intended as a statement.

The men approached the black Pete and then held him. One of them attacked him a wet sponge, but the boy managed to free himself. Another Black Pete recorded the incident on video with a “black Pete camera”, according to the Stentor.

The attacked Peter told the police he received several blows to his stomach and face. The 21-year-old man with the sponge stated that the action was a playful statement, which he wanted to record for a study assignment . He opted to demake up a black Pete as a statement about the phenomenon black Pete, which he perceives as discrimination.

The justice department must still decide what will happen with the case

See more information on black Pete here

Black journalist Tuyala: Reporter posing as a black man is a good idea (Germany)

Journalist Kani Tuyala was interviewed in a German news program about the film of German reporter Günter Wallraff, the film where Walfraff wanted to see what it’s like living as black man in Germany.

In the interview Tuyala says: I find the film a very good idea. I shows that this problem still exits. Racism in German is not being addressed, not even in the media.

Before the interview a shot is shown where Walraff wants to get into a disco in Rosendahl. He asks the doorman: “I want to go to the disco, why don’t let me in?” The doorman replies: “Africa is for Africa, Europe is for whites.”

Interesting detail. The interviewer says: “We as a German society are know for our “Weltoffenheit”. Weltoffenheit is a German concept that is meant to symbolise inclusiveness, multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. I can only say: let others be the judge of that!

See the interview (video) on Kanis Blog (German)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mounia, France's black supermodel elavated to ranks of Knight of the Order of Merit

Photo and copyright: Régis Durand de Girard: Marie-Luce Penchard & Mounia
Mounia, the first black supermodel from France, has been honored by the French government and elevated to the ranks of Knight of the Order of Merit (Chevalier de l’Ordre de Mérite). She was awarded the honor on November 23th at the Ministery of the Overseas Territories in Paris.

In the name of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Marie-Luce Penchard (current Minister of Overseas Territories) described the model as she who had pushed the greatest grand couturiers to “rupture with aesthetique codes in vigor” of the time in order to include black women in their vision of elegance, sophistication and fashion.

The American magazine, Essence Magazine, in 2005, placed her among the most famous black personalities. Her award was welcomed by the minister as a "tribute to the tenacity and fortitude of black women".

Read a full story at Fashion Insider
See the pictures of the reception at Fxgpariscaraibe

Friday, December 4, 2009

Singer Heavy C: When a woman gets tired of a man

What are the Afro-Portuguese listing at the moment? One of the popular R&B stars is Heavy C, a singer/song writer from Angola. Being black and Portuguese means having a close connection with at least one of the former Portuguese colonies: Mozambique, Angola or the Cape Verde .

Zouk and Kizomba are seen as mainstream black Portuguese music, but R&B music is also part of the music scene. This song of singer Heavy C, called “Quando a mulher se cansa HD” or “When a woman gets tired” is from his latest album Nao Largo o Amor.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Adé Bantu: rapping about the Afro-German identity

What is it like being black in Germany? "It's like being with a woman who you love, but who doesn't give you any attention," says the Nigerian/German musician Adé Bantu in an interview with qantara.

"Whenever Germany rejected me", he continues, "or gave me the feeling I don't belong here, and Germany has done that more than once, then I've said – phhhhfff. Then you say to yourself – hey, I'm not ugly, I'm not stupid and my heart's in the right place. That means there must be someone else out there who loves me. And I had that someone: Nigeria."

Adé Bantu is a musician and an activist. Back in 1994, he made the video and the song "Afro German", Adé was rapping about the Afro-German identity as a member of the hip-hop group "Weep not Child", and taking part in demonstrations against right-wing radicalism.

The video "Weep not Child" (1994) deals with not being accepted as a German.

When Neo Nazis in Dessau murdered 39-year-old Alberto Adriano from Mozambique in June 2000, Adé called all Afro-German artists in Cologne together "to finally break the silence." Soon after the The Brothers Keepers were born: a merger of mainly Afro-German soul, hip-hop and reggae artists, who fight against racism and right-wing extremism.

The clip "Bereit" (2005) deals with wanting to take on the fight against racism.

The Brothers Keepers is not just a musical project, but also a charitable association to which more than 90 artists now belong, among them numerous well-known musicians such as Samy Deluxe, Afrob, D-Flame, Toni L., Torch, Tyron Ricketts, Don Abi, Patrice, Xavier Naidoo, and many others.

Read the full interview here

Interesting detail. He co-directed Nigerian-German hip hop/soul singer Nneka's video "Africans".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Le festival Vibrations Caraïbes 2009 - Paris (4-13 December)

From 4 to 13 December 2009 the Caribbean Vibrations Festival (Le festival Vibrations Caraïbes), Festival of Contemporary Arts of the Americas and the Caribbean island will have its next edition in Paris. A festival with dialogues between the islands and the continents, at the Maison des Cultures du Monde in Paris

For 2009, the theme of Caribbean Vibrations Festival is “AfricAméricA”. Which will be a mix of artists from the three continents, Africa, America, Europe. With Gwo ka Gnawa Jazz, Dub Poetry, Pop Folk Caribbean Creole, literary readings, photography and video art, and screenings of ethnographic documentaries in partnership with ARTE.

Featured artists: Randy Weston, Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Karim Ziad, Kali feat. Manu Dibango, Dede St Prix Dub Poets and Brother Resistance and Mutabaruka, Orlando Poleo, Herve Samb and Simone Schwarz-Bart.

This year’s special guest will be singer/song writer Valerie Louri, from Martinique.

Maison des Cultures du Monde/ Fondation Alliance française 101 Blvd Raspail Paris 6ème.

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