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Kenyan singer, Maya Amolo, named first-ever Fresh Finds Africa artist by Spotify



23-year-old Kenyan alternative R&B artist, Maya Amolo, has been announced as the first-ever Fresh Finds Africa artist by audio and media streaming provider, Spotify, as part of its programme tailored to specifically spotlight and develop emerging independent artists from across the continent of Africa.

The Swedish company, in a statement on Wednesday while making the announcement, said the programme is centered on its Fresh Find playlist, and “focuses on helping emerging artists to learn and grow by giving them the tools for long-term and sustained career success.

“The Fresh Finds playlist serves as a launchpad for up-and-coming artists to get exposure, while also catering to fans and industry tastemakers who want to discover fresh new talent,” the streaming company said.

The Nairobi-born Maya, cut her musical teeth on SoundCloud while collaborating with Internet producers to create ‘Sad Boi’ tunes including ‘U Wanna’ and ‘Where Tornados Flew,’ which propelled her to top of her career and an artist to be reckoned with in Africa.

Her powerful vocals quickly and soft harmonies quickly amassed her a dedicated listenership and grabbed the attention of local producers and musicians, according to her citation on the Spotify platform.

Speaking on making Maya the first Fresh Finds artist from Africa, Spotify’s head of music for Sub-Saharan Africa, Phiona Okumu said:

“Spotify has always been committed to connecting fans to up-and-coming artists and the music they love. The Fresh Finds programme is an enhanced version of that.

“For an upcoming artist like Maya, these figures promise an increased audience and opens her up to new opportunities which might not have been possible without Fresh Finds.

“Fresh Finds Africa will be a monthly programme, with a new artist selected every month by the Spotify music team, and forms part of Spotify’s continued commitment to support the African music industry, through initiatives such as Equal and Radar,” Okumu said.

Maya’s first body of work, Leave Me At The Pregame, which was released in mid-2020, takes the listener through a melodious journey of self-acceptance and healing.

She has gone on to establish herself as one to watch, having been covered by NPR, The Native Mag, Okay Africa and Tangaza Magazine.

She is set to release the first single from her forthcoming project on March 31.


First ever African Fashion exhibition debuts in the UK Saturday



The first ever African Fashion exhibition which has been touted to be UK’s most extensive exhibition of African fashion artistry is set to debut in London on Saturday, July 2, according to the show organisers.

The epoch making African Fashion event which is aimed at showcasing designers from the black continent, as well as exoose Africa’s diverse heritage and cultures, which will open at London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, is also the country’s first exhibition dedicated to the medium.

Apart from the fashion show, there will also be an exhibition are African objects, sketches, photos and film from across the continent, starting from the African liberation years in the 1950s to 1980s to up-and-coming contemporary designers, according to the event organizers.

The project curator, Elisabeth Murray, in a statement, said the scene is set with a section on “African Cultural Renaissance”, highlighting protest posters and literature from independence movements that developed in conjunction with fashion.

“The Vanguard is the central attraction, displaying iconic works by well-known African designers including Niger’s Alphadi, Nigeria’s Shade Thomas-Fahm and Kofi Ansah of Ghana.

“Over 250 objects are on display for the African Fashion exhibition, with approximately half of these drawn from the museum’s collection, including 70 new acquisitions.

“Many of the garments on show are from the personal archives of a selection of iconic mid-twentieth century African designers with one of the highlight being the centre-piece made by Moroccan fashion designer Artsi Ifrach, called “A Dialogue Between Cultures” which was Inspired by the British trench coat and headscarf,” Murray said.

“The conversations and collaborations that have shaped the making of the Africa Fashion exhibition are a testbed for new equitable ways of working together that allow us to imagine and call into being the V&A of the future,” she added.

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Germany to return prized artefacts stolen from Africa during colonial rule



The German government has agreed to return prized artefacts stolen from Aftican countries, particularly from Cameroon, Namibia and Tanzania, during the colonial times over 120 years ago, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The priceless artefacts which were looted by the German colonial government officials during the colonial era will be permanently returned to their original countries, the Foundation officials said.

The Berlin-based Heritage Foundation which manages museums based in the German capital said it had entered into negotiations on the returns of artefacts to their countries of origin.

According to the Heritage Foundation, some of the artefacts to be returned are a shell-studded statue of a mother goddess named Ngonnso, which holds “great spiritual significance for the Nso’ people of northwest Cameroon.”

The statue, according to the Foundation, has been part of the collection of Berlin’s Ethnological Museum since 1903, after a German colonial officer who had taken it by force from the Nso tribe ‘donated’ it to the government.

The board also approved the permanent return of 23 artefacts including jewellery, tools and fashion items, to Namibia, the statement noted.

The artefacts which were stolen from Namibia during the colonial period from 1884 to 1919, were sent to the southern African country in May for research purposes and will now remain there.

The statement further said the Foundation’s President, Hermann Parzinger, has also been authorised to sign an agreement on the return of objects Germany looted from Tanzania during the Maji Maji Rebellion and other conflicts during its early 20th-century colonial rule.

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