Afternoon Afrobeat (#23): "Choukrane" by Mounira Mitchala

Image via RFI Musique
Until now, I had not been familiar whatsoever with Chadian music. Although I'm not usually a fan of traditional-styled African music unless its Mariam Makeba, Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, or Amadou et Mariam, I do sometimes make an exception, and Mounira Mitchala is one. 

Mounira Mitchala is a 30-year old from Chad who combines traditional Chadian rhythms with "a little modernism" in what she calls "trad-modern".

Mitchala grew up in Nigeria and German and always had an appreciation for music. While in Germany, she made sure to continue to listen to traditional music from Africa like Oumou Sangare.

As she explains:
By the time I reached my teens, I knew I wanted to get out there and perform live, so I started taking drama lessons to overcome my natural shyness. After that, I went on to sing. I used playback at first. But then gradually as I gained more confidence I began to use my real voice. The turning-point came in 2000 when I wrote my first song in English and started performing concerts.

Her voice has gained much recognition, especially since she comes from a country that has so few internationally-known singers and musicians. 

Know known as the 'gentle panther from Chad', she sings in Chadian Arabic and combines musical styles from various parts of the country to promote unity and make her music relatable to all Chadians.

If you like her sound, be sure to also download this Africa in Your Earbuds mixtape from OkayAfrica which opens with one of her songs (one of my favorites actually) and includes other artists from across the Sahel (and Nigeria).


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