Mon, 10 May 2010 01:17:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 links: AfriGadget at Ignite Toronto Mon, 22 Mar 2010 15:45:38 +0000 Aside from running this blog, I do a couple of other things that I find interesting. One of these is writing for a blog named AfriGadget with Paula, Frerieke, Hash, Afromusing, and JKE, a group of 5 very interesting, very cool people.

The focus of the blog is ingenious applications of technology in Africa – we think that the stuff that we see and take for granted everyday around us is actually quite profound and interesting and we have found that there are others that agree including Time Magazine who named us one of the 50 best websites of 2008.

Last month I had an opportunity to give a talk, Pecha Kucha style – 20 slides spaces 15 seconds apart in 5 minutes – on AfriGadget at Ignite Toronto that you can find below. If you watch this, you can kill two birds with one stone – learn a little about AfriGadget while putting a face to the name behind the blog.

Ignite Toronto 3: Steve Mugiri – AfriGadget from Ignite Toronto on Vimeo.

Be sure to drop a comment.

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links: Time Magazine – Then vs. Now. Sat, 06 Feb 2010 16:15:18 +0000 A very interesting piece by Mike Johnston of the Online Photographer comparing Time Magazine circa 1968 with Time Magazine today.

He hits the nail on the head on the reasons I stopped reading Time/Newsweek and started (sorta) reading The Economist (albeit online).

He also posted another piece that is definitely worth the price of admission, Never meet your heroes, a take on why people important to you never turn out just the way your expected.


+ Snow White and Prince Charming four years on.

+ The Onion seems almost prescient in their work: they post this piece on The Supreme Court allowing corporations to run for office and 3 days later, we see Murray Corp. run for office. Makes me wonder if they know when this boycott will end?

+ Finally, every back issue of Fader Magazine. The ones that have ‘.pdf’ link under the image can be downloaded – I think thats every issue starting July/August 2006’s issue #39.

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Merry Christmas Fri, 25 Dec 2009 04:24:28 +0000 Enjoy the holiday and do not forget the meaning of it all.

I could not have said it better than they have here.

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links: Koranteng on Franco Fri, 04 Dec 2009 18:02:40 +0000 Koranteng writes an excellent piece, “66 Ways to Franco”, on the logistics of finding music, which is the raison d’etre of this site in its current form.

I found this piece all the more germaine because it is he writes about music that I also happen to extremely fond of and the problem that is my professional life’s work, managing data and turning it into information.

Pity he did not start his search here, he would have found “Candidat” right away from you guys.

But then, we would not have had that excellent piece of writing.

Le Sape

Daniele Tamagni: Gentlemen of Bacongo

On an (un)related(?) note, Cool Hunting has a piece on Daniele Tamagni’s new book, Gentlemen of Bacongo just out on “Le Sape” or Les Sapeurs, a favourite topic of Kamau who writes at Forota.

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Samba Mapangala – Free Download – “Les Gorilles des Montagnes” Sun, 15 Nov 2009 02:03:20 +0000 Hey guys, just got this from Samba Mapangala’s publicist and thought I should share it with the rest of you.

Free download: “Les Gorilles des Montagnes“, a new single by Samba Mapangala in partnership with World Wildlife Fund to aid in protection of endangered mountain gorillas of the Congo’s Virunga National Park.

On Sept. 30, the mp3 “Les Gorilles des Montagnes” will be available for listening and downloading here and here

An upbeat dance song commissioned by WWF to increase awareness of conservation in the Congo Basin, “Les Gorilles des Montagnes” (The Mountain Gorillas) begins with the still-stunning, instantly recognizable a cappella prelude to Samba’s 1981 hit “Tolinga Virunga” (We Love Virunga). But then the beat drops into a beautiful new melody and lyrics telling of the need to preserve the rare mountain gorillas and their fragile environment, and expressing gratitude to the park rangers who risk their lives daily to prevent poaching and illegal charcoal production. WWF will use this music to reinforce its efforts in East Africa and Congo, especially in the Goma and Bukavu regions where years of war and turmoil have impacted the gorillas’ habitat in the Virunga mountains, home to around half of the world’s remaining 700 mountain gorillas.

Samba Mapangala - Les Gorilles des Montagnes

Visit the World Wildlife Fund’s site for information on efforts to save the mountain gorillas. You can also find out more about the track at Samba Mapangala’s website and at AfroPop News.

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An update Thu, 05 Nov 2009 05:37:17 +0000 I received a take down notice yesterday from KenTunes, LLC an organization representing Maroon Commandos and Habel Kifoto.

As a result of this notice, all tracks recorded by Habel Kifoto and by the group named Maroon Commandos have now been removed from the blog.

– Steve

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An update Thu, 05 Nov 2009 04:18:24 +0000 I received a take down notice yesterday from KenTunes, LLC, an organization representing Sammy Kasule.

As a result of this notice, all tracks recorded by Sammy Kasule and by the group named Vundumuna have now been removed from the blog.

– Steve

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Potash deconstructs JR’s art installation in Kibera, Nairobi. Tue, 28 Jul 2009 13:57:10 +0000 Potash, one of my favorite writers hosts a piece by Njoroge Matathia titled From Kibera to Sotheby’s that begins the deconstruction of JR’s Kibera art installation, 28 millimetres, that I posted about a while back.

(The link to JR’s portofolio on the site currently displays the the Kibera art installation as the first item. Unfortunately, since JR’s site is built in Flash, direct links are not possible)

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just got back Sat, 11 Jul 2009 16:29:57 +0000 hey good people,

Just got back from a 15 day trip to the motherland where I spent time meeting old friends and family, participating in an important event and most best of all, getting some serious re-union and beach de-compression time in with my wife and kids.

While I was there, I managed to pick up some new vinyl from some of the strangest places in Nairobi. My excursions led me to an amazing stash one guy was holding at Kenyatta Market. He just kept producing record after record after record including an almost pristine copy of an old Kelly Brown record that I sadly had to pass on due to financial constraints.

As an aside, it is amazing what people will produce from their back rooms with a little bit of convincing. Even more amazing is what people think their old vinyl is worth. I had people ask me to spring $25 for a single record in horrible condition.

Don’t worry, I passed on the offer.

I have missed being here with you but don’t worry, posting resumes shortly!

– Steve

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guest post – Mutunga : On Marriage Wed, 10 Jun 2009 21:13:38 +0000 I want to try something new to keep things alive here. Over the next couple of months, I will be running guest posts written by some people you know and some people that you do not.

The first post comes from Stephen Liti (whom some of you may know by a different name!):


There’s nothing in nature like the force of attraction between men and women, and when it turns out well, the parties involved inevitably end up tying the knot. Essential to life as heartbeat itself, marriage has always been a source of inspiration for musicians.

So if you’re an eligible bachelor and you’ve just met the woman of your dreams, you might want to ask for some advice from mum, or simply turn to Franco & OK Jazz as they spell out Mibeko Ya Mama (Mother’s rules). The Lingala lyrics and translation into English are provided here.

Franco et. l'O.K Jazz

East African rhumba circa 1970/1980 Franco & L’O.K. Jazz – Mibeko Ya Mama

For brides just about to leave their parental home, there’s some good advice from Les Kilimambogo in their wedding song entitled Mutwawa Niwatwawa. Follow this link for the Kikamba lyrics and English translation.

East African rhumba circa 1970/1980 Les Kilimambogo – Mutwawa Niwatwawa

All over the world, married couples are the order of the day, as the Grand Maître is keen to point out in Na Mokili Mibale Na Mibale . Check out the Lingala lyrics and a double translation, into both Kiswahili and English.

Franco et. l'O.K Jazz

East African rhumba circa 1970/1980 Franco et L’O.K. Jazz – Na Mokili Mibale Na Mibale

Of course, for the wedding dream to become a reality, the ceremony must be witnessed by guests, amidst applause and merry-making. Let’s join the party and listen to more words of advice from the late Fundi Konde in Mwanangu Ribe. Get the Kiswahili lyrics and English translation here.

Franco et. l'O.K Jazz

East African rhumba circa 1970/1980 Fundi Konde – Mwanangu Ribe

There you go folks. Lets have your comments and thoughts.

Thank you Bwana Liti for taking the time to make this guest post happen.

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