Mahalia Burkmar, better known by her stage name Mahalia, is an English R&B and Neo-Soul artist based in Birmingham. Drawing inspiration from Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, Mahalia’s euphonic vocals earned her a spot in Asylum Records UK—a record label that released Ed Sheeran’s debut album +. Interestingly, all of this took place when Burkmar was 13.
Her first EP, Head Space, was released July 2012, and is the epitome of an emerging adolescent’s approach to love. Mahalia’s follow-up EP, Never Change, was released in 2015 after the singer went on a hiatus to finish up her education. The three-year gap gave Mahalia time to mature. In a way, Never Change converses with her previous EP since the themes of the songs “Never Change,” “Borrowers,” “Up,” and “Maisie” focus on personal growth, self-worth, and a more jaded perspective on young love. Her 2016 album, Diary of Me, carries the same messages and can be interpreted as a reflection of Mahalia’s journey into adulthood.
Mahalia’s discography is primarily acoustic-based, but her recent music such as the track “One Night Only” in her 2018 EP Seasons and singles “No Pressure,” “Sober,” “No Reply,” and “I Wish I Missed My Ex,” has experimented with synthesized jazzy instrumentals to align with the contemporary R&B genre popular today. Mahalia has also collaborated with artists Buddy and Little Simz in singles “Hold On” and “Proud of Me” respectively.
Aziza Barnes’s “Alleyway” speaks with curiosity and conviction about the versatility of the conscious, even when the body cannot follow the same adaptability. Barnes demonstrates the restraint between mind and body through the prosaic poem’s form. Poetic features stand in to explore the contingency of the mind, which teeter between rejection or acceptance of the body’s limits, leaving the prosaic form to symbolize the body’s limitations. Aziza Barnes’s speaker is transparent in their criticism of themselves:
As fresh garbage is. As dirt sucked out of a fingernail. As a wall clean of prostitutes. When I am this I am at the mercy of my nakedness.
The language of the relationship between Proteus and Valentine in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, familiar and natural to Shakespeare’s original audience, creates an ambiguity for readers of the twenty-first century. We may wonder about the true character of their friendship when they address each other as “loving Proteus” and “sweet Valentine” (1.1.1, 11). Should we assume a romantic atmosphere between them? Jane Donawerth’s analysis of sixteenth-century usage of English language sheds light on this ambiguity. In the chapter “What Is in That Word?: The Nature, History, and Powers of Language,” Donawerth observes that “[i]n their etymological elements, words were thought to communicate knowledge not immediately obvious, a legacy of the wisdom of the past” (31). In order to discern between our twenty-first-century reception of the play’s language and its original meaning, I will consider the etymology of the character’s names and examine resulting connections.
A year ago I went on a YouTube binge of sci-fi movie trailers and somehow ended up viewing the trailer for Thelma (2017), a Norwegian film directed by Joachim Trier, that combines mystery, thriller, and drama genres for a contemporary twist. The trailer stuck out and was in my mind days after, as it was captivatingly creepy and stirred my fright. In turn of my inherent fear to watch anything that could be the least bit terrifying and weaponize my imagination against me, I hesitated to ever give the movie a watch. Yet recently, I went to the theatre with friends to see The Nun. The film included everything that I typically hate in horror films—ghosts and possession—but I walked away from that movie cracking jokes about the bad dialogue, movie makeup, and the plot holes big enough for a human to fall through. After watching The Nun, I figured if I didn’t go home worried about sisters decked in habits hiding in the darkest recesses of my closet at night, then I could make it through Thelma.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald, The Last King of Scotland is an adaptation of Author Giles Forden’s novel. While this film is a book adaptation, it also has an incredible amount of historical accuracy to the source material. Set in Uganda between the years 1971 and 1976, this film centers around the newly, self-appointed President of Uganda, Idi Amin, played by Forest Whitaker, and his relationship with his confidant and personal physician Nicholas Garrigan, played by James McAvoy.
The first question many people ask when they see the film is, were these people actually real? President Idi Amin was indeed a real person who took over the country of Uganda through a coup d’état against incumbent president Milton Obote. Born sometime between 1923 and 1928, Amin was abandoned by his father and recruited to the British colonial army, where he served for eight years. Afterwards, Amin quickly rose to prominence in Ugandan politics and military, eventually becoming commander of the Ugandan army. While President Milton Obote was on a foreign trip, Amin took his opportunity and seized control of the country for himself. He would rule Uganda from 1971 to 1979 before being overthrown himself.
It’s rather late, but we can’t forget the Meet the Editors Series. This week we are introducing Dina Nashed, our new Asst. Poetry & Nonfiction Editor.
Dina is a junior at Lewis who is majoring in Biology on a pre-med track. On campus, she conducts chemistry research, serves as the president for ACS, historian for Beta Beta Beta Biological honor society, and is the student senator for Arts and Sciences. Off-campus she works as a medical scribe and teaches Sunday School at her church as well as volunteers at Almost Home Kids for children with complicated medical needs. She enjoys watching spoken word poetry performances and reading various types of poems. In her free time, you’ll find her at a random coffee shop reading or watching tons of spoken word poetry.
Toronto musician Lou Val is a distinguished SoundCloud artist whose sultry vocals and acoustic guitar-heavy beats have made its mark in the R&B sphere. His music was elevated from SoundCloud to renowned platforms such as OVO Sound Radio, Pigeons & Planes, Noisey, Spotify, and Apple Music.
Lou Val released Lonely In Paradise last May. This EP is packed with tracks that capture the artist’s approach to handling topics such as romance, failed relationships, self-reflection, and nostalgia. Lonely In Paradise is a blend of R&B, Indie, and Electronic beats complemented by Lou Val’s honeyed singing.
Songs off of Lonely in Paradise include the leading single, “The Earth Stood Still” as well as “We Live Fast,” “Not So Naive,” “Float,” “What She Needs,” and “Learn To Love.” Lou Val made sure to create an EP that spotlighted his lyrics by avoiding distractingly synthesized drops. These tracks encapsulate his insecurities about intimacy, the longevity of budding affairs, and finding love from within.