Five years ago, a video of Gasper Nali, a musician from Malawi, was posted to YouTube. It’s still there, with 95,000 views. Not bad. Twelve days ago, the same video was reposted as “Африканский музыкант” and it’s currently got 722,000 views.
Then a Facebook page called Latinos Post picked it up and posted it, and by Facebook’s count it’s got over 7 and a half million views. Here’s “Abale Ndikum Gem”:
Seven and a half million views—a small number, hardly Taylor-Swiftian (to say nothing of Korean rapper Psy, whose “Gangnam Style” has over two billion views on YouTube) in the big picture, but it’s off the flippin’ chart for a Latino audience’s response to an unidentified African man whose song has an unreadable cyrillic-alphabet title. The Latinos Post page has been edited, and now does contain some information: “The song is ‘Abale Ndikum Gem’ by Gasper Nali, next to the Nkhata Bay in the Republic of Malawi. He is playing a small drum with his foot and one of his large string guitars that he makes of recycled materials, including wire from burnt tires. Nali was featured in the documentary, ‘Deep Roots Malawi‘, where he explains the origin of his instrument.”
You can’t find a lot more about Gasper online, but he does have a Myspace page. Until he surfaces and claims his fame, that’s all we got. That, and the flood of remixes and mashups that seems inevitable: