Music
8:57 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Nigerian-American Writer Teju Cole Shares His Personal Playlist

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:45 am

Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole's fans and followers — especially on Twitter — are scattered across the globe.

For Tell Me More's "In Your Ear" series, he shares the music that's a part of his world.

"Lately I've been listening a lot to Nigerian dance music," he says about Naeto C's 5 & 6. "Nigerian pop music is very, very big in Lagos right now."

Cole describes American jazz musician Vijay Iyer as "one of the best composers in any genre today." He lists Iyer's cover of The Star of the Story as "something that I listen to over and over and over again."

He also points out the art collective Just a Band, "who are anything but just a band." He loves their song Migingo Express. "They are four young Kenyans who just seem to have the pulse of the world at their fingertips," he explains.


Teju Cole's Playlist

5 & 6 by Naeto C

The Star of The Story by Vijay Iyer

Migingo Express by Just a Band

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally today, we have the regular feature we call In Your Ear, that's where we invite some of our guests to tell us about some of the songs that give them inspiration. This February we decided to observe Black History Month by featuring global voices - artists and achievers who have roots in Africa, but who are making an impact all around the world. People like Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole, whose fans and followers, especially on Twitter, are scattered all over the world. When we spoke to him recently we asked him to share the music that's a part of his world.

TEJU COLE: Hi, I'm Teju Cole, and these are some of the songs that are in my ear right now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "5 AND 6")

COLE: Lately I've been listening a lot to Nigerian dance music. Nigerian pop music is very, very big in Lagos right now. Unlike what it used to be 20 years ago when we mostly listened to American R&B and hip-hop. So we've got our own music that is very popular now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "5 AND 6")

COLE: One of the best composers in any genre today is the American jazz musician Vijay Iyer. And his last studio album was called "Accelerando." And a cover of "The Star of the Story" by him on that album is something that I listen to over and over and over again. I consider it a perfect track. I just really, really love his music and I really admire the many different things he does.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE STAR OF THE STORY")

COLE: And finally, one of my favorite groups is the Kenyan art collective called Just a Band, who are anything but just a band.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIGINGO EXPRESS")

COLE: They do their own videos, they do cartoons, they do animation and, of course, they do music. And from their album "82," is a song, "Migingo Express." They are four young Kenyans who just seem to have the pulse of the world at their fingertips. And I just really, really adore all of them and I really, really love the music they make. "Migingo Express" is my favorite at the moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIGINGO EXPRESS")

MARTIN: That was Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole telling us what is playing in his ear. To hear our previous conversation with him, head over to NPR.org, click on the programs tab and go to TELL ME MORE. Please listen throughout February for our Black History Month series. And you can also weigh in on Twitter if you'd like with the hashtag #AfroGlobal. And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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