Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

teju cole spotify playlist

Teju Cole’s fans run to him for all sorts of things—for advice on how to be a good writer [here], for his work as a storyteller, his illuminating commentaries on photography, his effortless star power on social media—the list is endless. So it isn’t entirely strange that they can now go to him for suggestions on a good dance track.

The Nigerian-American novelist has been spotted on the music-streaming platform called spotify where he curates playlists around a range of themes. He then shares the playlist on Facebook, including a short note describing the rationale behind the list.

He has 452 followers and follows only three accounts—two of which are the American female rapper Azealia Banks and the BBC Music Playlist.

Cole is no stranger to social media culture. He has consistently reinvented his image as a public intellectual by exploring various social media platforms. After building a powerful fan base on Twitter [@tejucole] and being hailed as one of its powerful influencer, Cole went on to Instagram [@_tejucole] and has since relocated his fanbase to Facebook where his posts get thousands of likes, comments, and shares. Spotify is certainly new frontier for the novelist. We are curious to see what he does with it.

Of the 11 playlists Cole has posted so far, our favorite—and the most popular of them all—is The Liquid Grooves of Lagos. It is a 13-track playlist paying homage to Africa’s most populous city.

Cole has always been open about his love affair with Lagos and has written quite a lot about it. The playlist offers a cross-generational sample of dance tracks made by Lagos-based musicians. It features everyone from Bobby Benson to Wizkid.

Here is how he explains the idea behind The Liquid Grooves of Lagos playlist.

The Liquid Grooves of Lagos:

For your Friday and for mine, I made a compilation I’ve named “Liquid Grooves of Lagos.” Listen, this might be the most beautiful playlist I’ve made yet. I don’t know.

What is a groove? Continuity of feeling with or without development.

Here’s what’s happening in these danceable but not hectic mid-tempo tracks:

Every single one of them is beautiful. You’ll hear the typical cosmopolitan mix of influences that characterizes Nigerian music, especially Nigerian city music. I call it “of Lagos” because that is where I heard this music growing up, though some of it is made by people in other parts of the country. “Of Lagos” because the very point of Lagos is that the energy comes from all over the country, and all over the world. The core of the selection is in Yoruba (my mother tongue) and in English, but there are Igbo language tracks as well, because Lagos belongs to us all.

The main currents are juju, rumba, Afrobeat, Afrobeats, highlife, and the places where all those things meet. Music not in a hurry. (Impress your friends at the office and put this on, trust me…)

For me, the two core Lagos musical geniuses, and among the very greatest of world musicians, are also the core of this playlist: Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti. Sunny is represented here by “Ogidan O Ni Se Barber” (a proverb: if the leopard opens a barber shop, the dog doesn’t go there for a haircut: meaning “recognize your limits, don’t take foolish risks”). Fela is represented by one of his lesser known but most luxuriantly beautiful tracks, “Look and Laugh,” which rolls in at a breathtaking groovetastic length of thirty minutes. It’s so beautiful that you forget he’s singing about how fucked up things can get in Lagos. The difference between Sunny and Fela, and how they represent the two faces of Lagos, is something I’m going explore in-depth one of these days.

Back to the playlist. I have Burna Boy and Wizkid (both heavily influenced by Fela) representing the current generation, and the track by Bobby Benson, “Taxi Driver,” is from the 1950s. So, this compilation is sixty years’ worth of that good-time feel-good vibe that makes the city of Lagos—as maddening as it is—the place everyone wants to be.

Enjoy.

[The link to the playlist: here]

So next time you have a party, you know to hit up DJ Teju!

 

**********

Image via otrolunes.com

 

 

 

Tags: , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Out There: 5 Talkbits on War Futures in Outer Spaces | Ainehi Edoro, Camae Ayewa, Rasheeda Phillips, Keith Spencer & Jamie Thomas in Conversation

out there - graph

As part of its Horizons of the Humanities initiative, the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) will be hosting […]

Excerpt #2 | My Sister, The Serial Killer | by Oyinkan Braithwaite

my sister the serial killer

FATHER   Ayoola inherited the knife from him (and by “inherited” I mean she took it from his possessions before […]

Scholastique Mukasonga’s Novel, Our Lady of the Nile, in Film Production as Short Story Appears in The New Yorker

Scholastique Mukasonga by Sunday Times

Rwanda’s best known contemporary writer, Scholastique Mukasonga, author of the novel Our Lady of the Nile (2015) and the memoir Cockroaches […]

The 2018 Brittle Paper Anniversary Award: Meet the 8 Finalists

brittle paper anniversary award

The shortlists for the 2018 Brittle Paper Awards were announced in October. Begun in 2017 to mark our seventh anniversary, the Awards aim to recognize the […]

Demons in the Villa | Excerpt from Ebenezer Obadare’s Pentecostal Republic

pentecostal republics ebenezer obadare

Pentecostal Republic takes a hard look at the influence of pentecostalism in Nigerian politics. Prof. Obadare is a sociologist, who […]

Yasmin Belkhyr, Romeo Oriogun, Liyou Libsekal, JK Anowe Featured in Forthcoming 20.35 Africa Anthology Guest-Edited by Gbenga Adesina and Safia Elhillo

20.35 africa contributors

In February, we announced a call for submissions for a new poetry project. The anthology, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.