What Cubans are singing
He’s got moves like James Brown, style like Bootsy Collins and Havana can’t get enough of him. Erick Alejandro Rodríguez, lead singer of Cimafunk, has taken Cuba by storm with “Me Voy” (I’m leaving). A song about where to end the evening after parties have wound down and the streets have emptied, it pairs a loping guitar melody with stuttering handclaps and Afro-Cuban percussion. Rodríguez’s voice – teasing yet insistent – dares you to stop dancing.
What Israel is listening to
Dancing at the edge of a precipice has always been a potent metaphor for life in Israel, which Rona Kenan, a singer-songwriter, has explored throughout her work. The sighing accordions of “Songs for Joel”, her concept album from 2009, recall the songs of her father’s idealistic generation, even as the lyrics hint at their growing political discomfort. Her new album, “Time of the Orange”, explores that same tension between vibrancy and existential dread. “There is a dark and narrow corridor,” she sings in the haunting yet upbeat “These Times”, “between those who die and those who sing.”
What Africans are laughing at
Pity the woman who takes a shortcut through Anne Kansiime’s banana garden. “You think there is a road here?” she yells, brandishing a hoe. “People of your size should not trespass: do you know how big you are?” The sketch is typical of Kansiime, a Ugandan comedian who has won fans across Africa with her TV series and Youtube skits, and is breaking down barriers in a male-dominated industry. Her most popular character is a forthright Ugandan everywoman, indignant at everything from cheating husbands to ripped jeans. Most of her rage is comically misplaced, but her struggles – whether seeking work, paying rent or defending her land – are bitingly familiar.