DJ Juls Takes Us to School: Jungle Book Beat Tape 2

DJ JULS

We’ve been fans of Ghanaian music producer Julian Nicco-Annan aka DJ Juls for a  minute now. That affection got way deep with a mere listen of his latest opus – The Jungle Book Beat Tape 2.

That joint is the truth.

Juls has been dropping mixtapes throughout 2011/2012 like his life depended on it. Meanwhile he’s making life a lot happier for the rest of us with a revivalist soul music that blends nostalgic Ghanaian music + childhood stories with a fresh energetic corps of young hip hop artists. Juls composes brilliant soundscapes with a little help from Sarkodie, Wanlov, Lady Jay, Bils Rayoe, EL and Kay Ara, among others.

Juls – ever cool, calm + collected unless he’s going off on Twitter about a rapper or footballer who’s jacking up his love for the game – releases The Jungle Book Beat Tape 2 on his earth day.

Download your free digital copy right here and spread the love.

Get your school on with DJ Juls | @djayjuls

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5IVE on IT x NII AYIKWEI PARKES

PARKES IN BRUSSELS

We caught up with the globe-trotting Nii Ayikwei Parkes on a recent getaway to Ghana visiting family (“To the Batcave, Robin!”). The performance poet, editor and author is  behind many of the coolest literary events happening in the UK like the African Writers’ Evening Series at Poetry Cafe in London. His debut novel, Tail of the Blue Bird (2010), is a detective thriller that pulls apart the delicate ties binding urban and rural space, community and difference, mysticism and modernization in Ghana.

Check out what Mr. Parkes had to say during our rap session.

5 Questions. 5IVE ON IT.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes | photo by ACCRA dot ALT

ADA: How did you fall in love with the word (spoken + written)?
Parkes: I grew up in a loud household – everyone’s always talking and cracking jokes, laughing, so it was natural. I was born in England. I grew up in a house where Ga was spoken and outside English was spoken so there was a curiosity about languages that came out automatically as a result of that contrast between indoors and outdoors. My parents spoke English and everything but at home they spoke Ga with us and I do that with my kids, too.

We moved to Ghana when I was four and again it was a huge contrast because suddenly there was ten times more languages and I think because of that I would repeat things and you fall in love with words – with the music of words – by repeating things. Someone would say something in Ewe and I’d want to repeat it and then in Twi and I’d want to repeat it and I think that’s where it started.

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GHANA Fashion + Design Week 2012: DUABA SERWA

ACCRA [dot] ALT was on hand for the first annual Ghana Fashion + Design Week festivities last weekend in Accra. Check out our feature photos from the show. We are ALL OVA Accra girl Nelly Hagan -Aboagye‘s super fly design line, DUABA SERWA.

DUABA SERWA: Arresting geometric patterns x Bright beautimous prints x Deliciously constructed feminine forms

Duaba Serwa – Ghana Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot ALT

Duaba Serwa – Ghana Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot ALT

Duaba Serwa – Ghana Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot ALT

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GHANA Fashion + Design Week 2012: SARAH DUAH

ACCRA [dot] ALT was in the middle of all the Ghana Fashion + Design Week fun last weekend in Accra. We took some great photos at the event and we would like to introduce you to a young Ghanaian-German designer by the name of Sarah Duah.

SARAH DUAH: Hard art street fashion inspired by wild bushy hair that is uncontrollable and all over the place

Sarah Duah – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Sarah Duah – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Sarah Duah – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Sarah Duah – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

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GHANA Fashion + Design Week 2012: KACHI DESIGNS

ACCRA [dot] ALT was on the scene for Ghana Fashion + Design Week last weekend in Accra. We took photos of some of the illest designs in the house. Have a look for yourself!

Kachi Designs: Vintage pop art fashion meets bold sensual silhouettes [by Nigerian designer Chigozie “Chichi” Anaele]

Kachi Designs – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Kachi Designs – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Kachi Designs – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Kachi Designs – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

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GHANA Fashion + Design Week 2012: LOVE APRIL

ACCRA [dot] ALT was front and center at Ghana Fashion + Design Week last weekend in Accra. Check out our feature photos from the event.

LOVE APRIL : Fresh new Ghanaian design label where funky floral prints meets Grace Jones haute

Love April – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Love April – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

Love April – GH Fashion Week 2012 – photo by ACCRA dot Alt

To see more of LOVE APRIL in action, check out this recap video of the show and other cool designers debuting their lines at Ghana Fashion + Design Week 2012 (via our folks at FashionistaGH):

*All photos by Abass Ismail for ACCRA [dot] ALT.

LOOK SHARP: Accra Street Style

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WELCOME TO ACCRA. | TJ + AJEPOMAA | photo by ACCRA dot ALT

ACCRA‘s got serious style. Folks here love to look good but they keep it low and undercover. But it’s about to get hi-def.

This was more than apparent at the first-ever Ghana Fashion + Design Week held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel over the weekend. The affair brought some of the coolest young designers to strut their stuff on the catwalk including our favorites – Duaba Serwa (Ghana), Sarah Duah (Ghana/Germany), Orange Culture (Nigeria), Coccolily (Ghana/Canada) and Christie Brown (UK/Ghana). These style stars have some bright destinies ahead. Can’t wait to see what they cook up next.

In the meantime and in-between time, peruse through this garden of images. We thought these cool kids had fashion worth stopping to take a picture for. We also decided to do something fun while waiting two hours for the show to finally start. Gotta love our people.

Tune in tomorrow to see photos from the catwalk.

BAYO of Orange Culture | photo by ACCRA dot ALT

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NNEKA and the WARM WOBBLY

AN ACCRA [dot] ALT FEATURE INTERVIEW

NNEKA AT HIGH VIBES FESTIVAL, ACCRA GHANA | photo by ACCRA dot ALT

If you’ve ever seen Nneka perform, you’d remember. Like tell-your-grand kiddies-one-day type remember. Her presence just sticks with you.

You get the impression that she’s just being herself. Onstage and off. Dressed down, hair pulled back, comfortable in her own skin. When Nneka performs, she gets free. She strips herself bare to the bone for strangers in crowded rooms to see across the world.

This is what keeps us glued. This self-reflection society music and her unique ability to cull out the good, the bad and the DAMN-you-ugly! parts of our selves. Nneka’s sound bends soul, folk, AfroBeat, hip hop and reggae together into spaceships of human possibility. Her voice is an amplifying swirl of thunder and lightning – a blue shadow draped across the front door, the delicate cool taste of coconut water, the rake of the comb through tightly coiled hair – that strides out making you wanna run and hide. Nneka’s music makes you uncomfortable enough to confront your secret hiding places, dig out those dungeons of doom and reckon with your lingering ghosts.

NNEKA AT HIGH VIBES | photo by ACCRA dot ALT

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Funky COLD Madina: M.anifest x LyricalWanzam

M.ANIFEST | photo by ACCRA [dot] ALT

LYRICALWANZAM | photo by Clockwork Media

FUNKY COLD MADINA is not only the name of Tone-Lōc‘s 1989 hip hop classic but a fitting reference to two of Ghana’s most ice cold emcees (*however, Lōc’s version is spelled Medina).

M.anifest and Lyrical Wanzam – who both grew up in the Accra suburb of Madina – team up and trick out this track about having fun with life, “Sheygey Reasons” (pidgin for “for foolish reasons” or “for the sake of it”). Producer Kwam1 flips highlife upside down with Vis-a-Vis  + K. Frimpong’s 1977 muse “Obi Agye Me Dofo” (Someone Has Taken My Lover).

The MCs have had a succulent mango kind of year. M.anifest created new music for the Rocket Juice + The Moon album (released in March 2012) performing with Damon Albarn (of the Gorillaz), Tony Allen, Flea, Erykah Badu, M3NSA (of FOKN Bois), and Fatoumata Diawara. In June M.anifest performed live on Big Brother Africa 7: Stargame! for millions of television viewers continent-wide and just last month he jam-packed a show at Africa Express in London.

Word on the street is that Wanzam is beginning work on his first EP project. His AfroPolyTank mixtape received 10,000 downloads in the first week of its release in February 2012 causing cats to sit up right and take notice. The lyricist is signed to the management label Fullish Art and record label, Cryme Records.

BUMP this joint in your speakers. For sheygey reasons.