Omzo and Yero of Minen Teye
Minen Teye is a rap group out of Nouakchott, Mauritania. The group, sometimes referred to as the conscious generation, is a rather loose collective of rappers and singers from the rural parts of the country. The main members Yero and Omzo moved to the capital to pursue higher education at University of Nouakchott. Other members of the collective moved to the city avoid civil unrest and the border squabbles with neighboring countries Senegal and Mali, which dates back to the late 1980s– but the capital Nouakchott has seen its share of trouble in the last two decades and recently with the military coup in August 2008. According to my Mauritanian source here in Brooklyn, Yero and Omzo are in the third generation (2003-present) of the rap collective which dates back to the mid-1990s. Their lyrics are politically charged and critical of the military government which has been brutally suppressing dissent and painting that suppression as fighting terrorism and Islamist militants, drug traffickers and illegal migrants. Minen Teye members have been harassed by police and government officials several times in the last year. They are in the process of recording a new album which should be out sometime next year. In meantime, these two tracks feature outside vocalists, Senegalese songstress Sista Soda and Senegalese rapper Gaston. The tracks are from their recent release, from earlier this year Moro-Itanie.
Here’s a video a Facebook friend posted a few hours ago – Women on the Frontline: Mauritania, a documentary presented by Annie Lennox shining a light on violence against women and girls. Here, they look at the Islamic Republic’s interpretation of the Sharia law Zina. [UNIFEM]
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