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Imbolo Mbue via Glamour US

Imbolo Imbue’s Behold the Dreamers is one of the most talked about African novels.

The novel tells the story of Jende Jonga—a Cameroonian man from the seaside city of Limbe— and his struggles to make it in the New York City of the 2009 housing market crash. There are some sad moments, but the novel is actually quite upbeat and funny. The observant readers would notice that music plays a significant role in the lives of the characters.

When asked to curate a list of songs that conveyed the spirit of the novel, Mbue put together a playlist that reflects her love for classic Cameroonian party hits, contemporary African club favorites, Brenda Fassie and Bob Dylan. She includes Meiway’s “200% Zoblazo” which was featured in the novel and Psquare’s “Chop My Money,” which she says “was played at virtually every African party [she] attended while [she] was writing the novel.” “Watching party-goers dancing to it was a thrill and an inspiration every time,” she adds.

Here is the entire selection for when you’re ever in need of a playlist inspired by an African novel. The playlist titled “Imbolo Mbue’s Book Notes” was originally on the literature and music site largeheartedboy.com. Scroll down and listen to the entire playlist on spotify

Imbolo Mbue’s Book Notes

Charlotte Mbango & Tom Yoms: “Sengat To”

Ray Charles: “America the Beautiful”

Eboa Lotin: “Ngon’a Mulato”

Miriam Makeba: “Malaika”

Brenda Fassie: “Ngohlala Nginje”

Léo Delibes: “The Flower Duet” from the opera Lakmé

Koffi Olomide: “Effrakata”

P-Square: “Chop my Money”

Tata Kinge: “Yaya”

Frank Sinatra: “New York, New York”

Bob Dylan: “Blowin’ in the Wind”

Nguea La Route: “Ebonga Londo”

Johann Strauss: “Voices of Spring”

Meiway: “200% Zoblazo”

Henri Njoh: “Idiba”

 

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Post image via Glamour US

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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