Charles Basenga Kiyanda

Six months music challenge, part 8: Undercover black man

Well, apologies are in order. First off, I must apologize for not having posted anything in a long while. Mostly, I was busy with a conference and just dropped the ball when I came back, but I also had some website problems, which leads me to my second set of apologies. My website was blocked with this “You will probably die and your computer will explode if you access this site” welcome screen from google. Very dramatic. I had gotten infected by some hacker person of some sort. Not fun. I believe I cleaned the infection dilligently, but it still took a while for google to decide that my site wasn’t a bearer of the pleague anymore. So, with this, I’ll have to be more dilligent with updates.

Ok, now back to business. I was tempted to keep the site of undercover black man to myself and just rip off his music recommendations as my own, but I figured it wouldn’t be too ethical. Instead, I figured it was probably best if I just relax the requirement that I find a new musical artist every  week for my 6 months music challenge. To be fair, how many people do you know (with a job outside the music industry) discover a new musician every week?

Undercover black man is an interesting blog. It covers more than music alone, with the broad theme being “everything to do with black culture”. Now, I’m using the term “black culture” loosely here. For one thing, there is definitely not, on a global scale, such a thing as a black culture. I think I was aware of that a long time ago, but it definitely became clear to me when I moved to the United States (of America) in 2005. I’d just moved to a smallish town in Illinois when I went to comcast to get cable connected. The person serving me at the counter was african-american and, I swear, she must have spoken to me for 5 good minutes before I could get a word in the conversation and let her know I hadn’t understood a thing she’d just said. She looked at me perplexed and proceeded to articulate in a way I could understand. While the slang used in everyday conversations is only but one aspect of the culture of a group, I’ve come to realize that I have very little in common, aside from the colour of my skin, with the black people of the USA. I’m the son of an immigrant who was never a slave, french is my first language, etc, etc. Historically, linguistically, financially I share more with my swedish office mate than with african-americans. So there you go. A long rambling to say that, while I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a single black culture, that’s how I’ll describe the blog I found.

Musically, there are, on undercover black man, links to many artists who distribute single songs and whole albums, covering many different musical styles. I personally wasn’t too excited by most of the artists presented there, but I still peek on there regularly as I found that once or twice, there was a suggestion I liked.


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