Free Download: Pequeño corazón de África (Various Artists)

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I bet you didn’t know about this. There’s a country in Africa where they speak Spanish. OK, they speak other languages too, but in Guinea Ecuatorial, a former Spanish colony, Spanish is still one of the official and most prevalent languages.

Not to be confused with the other two African Guineas (Bissau and Conakry) much less with the New Guinea of the South Pacific, this tropical West African, relatively small country was a colony of the Spanish Empire contemporary to Latin America, but it remained subjected to the crown for much, much longer.

I didn’t know any of that either until I checked Wikipedia, so don’t worry. The thing is, this guy called Zachary Jones knew about it. He’s a Spanish teacher in the US who hosts a website with lots of interesting, cool stuff to be used by fellow Spanish teachers as classroom tools.

His curiosity to explore the extent of the language’s influence took him all the way to Africa where to his surprise, discovered a bunch of kids rapping and singing in Cervantes’ language. So, he put together this free compilation to help shed some light over that universally ignored scene and their music.

Apparently there’s a trend among the new generation of Ecuatorial Guinean artists to claim back their colonial language and culture (after many others had traditionally rejected it and preferred English or French to make their music because those are the languages spoken by the majority of their neighbors). These kids are proud of being Spanish speakers and they sing about it a lot. And the best part is, their accent and their slang doesn’t sound like anything you’ve heard anywhere in Latin America or Spain. The isolation developed the language in a whole different way and the same thing happened with their music. There’s some rap, reggae, r&b, pop, traditional African rhythms and even some flamenco guitars in there. Plenty more than enough to serve as an Ecuatorial Guinean music 101 and maybe spark the interest of some to explore more about this African music en español.