the ADE -Amsterdam Dance Event-, the largest dance conference and festival in the world starts this Wednesday 14th October 2015. 3,000 participants –professionals from around the world-are expected and the clubs and venues will be inhabited by an estimated 350,000 visitors. Now that EDM (Electronic Dance Music) has become mainstream worldwide the program will showcase the biggest dj-stars over a number of five nights. But mainstream commercial big money music is not only what’s up. This year the focus is strongly on the booming electronic music scenes of Africa as well. High time for Mzansi House!
In the fringe of the festival a small selection of hot and happening African music can be heard. In addition, the documentary “Future Sound of Mzansi”, about current South African dance music, is on show in De Balie.
DJ / producer Black Coffee: “There is no specific sound going on in Johannesburg, everything is happening. Commercial house, deep house, all kinds of house. Everyone has their own favourite sound. All I can say, because we’re African, it just revolves around rhythms. The rhythm gives us hope. ”
The first raves in the early 90s emerged in South Africa as Black Coffee remembers. The 39-year-old DJ began ten years ago and has become the most famous DJ/producer from South Africa.
Belgian/Dutch DJ/producer Eddy De Clercq played on one of the first raves in Durban,”Mission to Mars” in 1996, and is very impressed by Black Motion: “That to me is the ultimate South African house group. Especially live, when they perform with a band featuring some very strong percussionists and singers. Their sound is not typical Electronic Dance Music but relates more to the original house-vibe. Sexy and spiritual. Black Motion makes the most melodious jazzy house and their driving rhythms are just irresistible. Listen to their track “Rainbow” for instance, which is more pop oriented house music, such an innovative way of creating dance music. ”
Black Coffee & Friends perform on October 16 in Radion, Amsterdam. Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band with DJ Afrobot on October 17 at Pan-amafropeans in OT301 and on October 18 at Danse Danse in Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam. DJ Eddy De Clercq mixed this compilation of his favourite tracks of Mzansi House especially for Soul Safari. Hear some of the best tracks by South Africa’s Black Motion, Culoe De Song….and more.
Black Motion ft XoliM-Rainbow
Culoe De Song ft Shana- Amasiko
Black Motion ft Mckenzie-Mother of Earth (intro)
Black Motion ft Zulu -Bhana Shilolo
Black Motion ft XoliM-Set Me Free (main mix)
Black Motion ft Mckenzie-Mother of Earth
Black Motion -Bilouwa
Black Motion ft Fearless Boys & Udu -Black Channels
Black Motion ft Celimpilo -Kakaramba
Cathy Battistessa -Une Nouvelle Humanite (Da Capo Touch)
Culoe De Song ft Busi Mhlongo -Wabeba
the early years of Bubblegum or Mapantshula Afro pop.
Legends like the late Brenda Fassie and the Big Dudes, Chicco Twala, Dan Nkosi, Ebony, Richard Makhubale of Volcano, Dan Tsahnda of Splash, Yvonne Chaka Chaka to name a few, are some of the most known South African artists in the genre. But the genre crossed borders as well, from Namibia to Zimbabwe, Bubblegum became most popular through the radio and rapidly captured the dance floor. Bubblegum was a response to Western styles like disco and the fast spreading house music which originally came from the black ghettos of Chicago and New York. When the second Summer of Love took the UK over in 1988, first house, and later techno conquered the world. DIY – do it yourself – a motto that had already appeared in the punk movement, lifted the young house scene to the next level. With a minimal set up – keyboards, some drum machines and samplers it was suddenly possible to make music without having to rent expensive studios. Township disco was born, Bubblegum was the next logical step, followed by Kwaito.
1994 -the rise of Kwaito
The early 1990s saw many changes in South Africa; these include the release of Nelson Mandela, the lifting of political, economic, cultural and sports sanctions, an agreement on a new constitution and the country’s first democratic election in 1994. These changes inevitably dramatically affected the South African music performance structures and industry. The lifting of sanctions provided South African musicians with easier access to international music and a radical revision of censorship, while the easing political situation allowed for greater freedom of expression. Freedom of expression meant that for the first time the youth of South Africa could make their voices heard. The music genre kwaito emerged during this period and represents a culmination of all these changes; it is a practical manifestation of that freedom of expression for which the youth had longed.
The origin of the word kwaito comes from the Isicamtho word amakwaitosi (which means gangster). Amakwaitosi derives from the Afrikaans ‘kwaai’, which means strict or angry. The association of kwaito with gangsters is because kwaito in itself is all about ghetto music. To kwaito musicians and their fans alike, the term simply implies that the tracks are ‘hot and kicking’. The subject of kwaito remains a relatively unexplored topic within the academic environment because up until recently the focuses of musicological and ethnomusicological studies in Africa have been restricted to indigenous music, as opposed to urban music.
Can kwaito be deemed an authentic South African phenomenon?
A new urban genre developed in the 1980s, an Afro-dance pop, mainly influenced by mbaqanga and African-American popular styles. Bubblegum marked a shift or a cultural turn in the content and form of South African music. This genre developed because of promising developments in the fight against Apartheid as well as the introduction in South Africa of television in 1976, which allowed for the promotion of music across all ethnic groups. It represented a move towards music that was more urban then traditional. All these factors made an enormous contribution towards the development of kwaito, which began at the pinnacle of bubblegum music and when the aprtheid era was drawing to an end
Kwaito instrumentals are usually made entirely of synthesised sound. The tracks are constructed using a fusion of slowed down house music tracks (normally 100 and 120 beats per minute) and African percussion, which forms the core of the rhythmic pattern. The lyrics in kwaito are normally not sung, but recited in rhythmic speech, usually in Isicamtho or any of the South Afrcian official languages. Times are changing for Kwaito and the artists constantly pursue new sounds. Artists are spending more time on the production of their albums than before and have broadened their frontiers of influence. The music is becoming more developed and complex, with artists constantly seeking new idioms and mediums of expression like adding an opera singer or live instruments that give elevated status. Kwaito draws a lot of its traits from American hip hop and house. African-Americans (the pioneers of hip-hop and house) and black South Africans both have a similar history of oppression by the whites. Thus, there are similarities present between the original American music genres and kwaito but that does not make kwaito a direct descendant of hip-hop nor house. Kwaito draws its musical influence from various sectors of the music world, including American and European music, but also from various South African music genres and makes extensive use of local African instruments, for example marimba and xylophone, Izibongo praise poetry and, most importantly, lyrics that use indigenous South African languages as an alternative for English. For these reasons, kwaito can be considered an authentic South African phenomenon.
Source: partial text from the essay ‘Kwaitofabulous’ the study of a South African urban genre by
een 4 uur durende muziekspecial over Zuid Afrikaanse jazz, soul & funk door dj Eddy De Clercq & Frank Jochemsen. In dit programma gaat samensteller Eddy De Clercq terug naar de geschiedenis van jazz en de diverse invloeden van Nederland en Engeland in de muziek van Zuid Afrika. Vooral in Cape Jazz is dit duidelijk terug te horen maar ook in latere stijlen als township jive & kwela jazz zitten elementen welke Westers aandoen maar verweven worden met typische Zuid Afrikaanse melodieën en zang. Maar ook de excellente soul-jazz uit 1969 -een belangrijke periode in dit genre- komt aan bod, alsook de Mzansi House van 2014 naast enkele eigen producties van Eddy De Clercq & Friends, opgenomen in Zuid Afrika. Luister!
A 4 hour music special about South African music; jazz, soul & funk by dj Eddy De Clercq & Frank Jochemsen. Inthis program,compilerEddyDe Clercq dives deep intothe history of
South African jazz andthevarious influencesof the Netherlandsand England on the music ofthe country.Especially inCapeJazzthese influences are clear, butalsoin laterstylesastownshipjive&jazzkwelaWestern genres like R&B and jazz areinterwovenwith typicalSouthAfricanmelodiesandvocals. But also the excellentsoul-jazzof 1969–an important period in thisgenre-is discussed, as well as theMzansiHouse2014alongside someofEddyDe Clercq’s own productions, recorded in SouthAfrica.
The programme is presented in the Dutch language, but the music speaks for itself. Listen!
Vrije Geluiden Radio 6 20.00h-24.00h -26th July 2014-Theme: South Africa
the past few weeks I spent some hectic time in South Africa, hence my absence from these pages. No time to write, just soo busy travelling, meeting exciting people and partying on Valentine’s Day in Jo’burg. That was followed by a fatal morning when the newspapers announced the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius. Talk of the day and on the front pages for the rest of my journey in South Africa. Thankfully there was more fun and excitement to fill my days and nights; looking for rare records and the sound of Johannesburg!
It was in the streets of hip Melville that I witnessed some of the most exciting new hybrid of house music, coming out of shops and boomboxes of passing cars. So as a fresh post here today, I report on the house scene of Johannesburg, a city also called Jozi by its loving citizens.
“People making house music in shacks in townships, it’s everywhere, on the radio, tv and media”
ELECTRAFRIQUE NAIROBI in association with KALAWA JAZMEE is delighted to invite you to
Robert aka Dj Murder lives in a homemade overthrow of corrugated iron. He is sleeping between his greatest asset, a battery of computers and keyboard types.
With his buddy Thabo ‘Smol’ Mabogevane he forms the duo Black Motion, one of the new young house-sensations in Johannesburg. 2011 and 2012 was big time for the duo as they headlined concerts all over the world in places like Miami, Canada, United Kingdom etc. Through a mutual relationship the boys have been offered to create music in a professional studio but they choose for the impromptu studio in the shack – ‘home is where the heart is’. Black Motion is one of the acts which is showcased in Real Scenes: Johannesburg, a recent short documentary about the thriving house scene of South Africa’s capital.
In one of the scenes the boys can be found hunched over the illuminated displays, while a monotonous drumbeat fills the space, synths vibrate into a warm flow and their bodies rhythmically pan on the hypnotic groove. Their sound is based on that of pioneer-dj Oskido who discovered Black Motion in 2010. Ricardo Da Costa of Soul Candi Records defines the genre as a slowed down version of the original American house music but with even deeper basses and more complex rhythms, interwoven with a spirituality which is inspired by traditional drumpatterns of the African ancestors.
The classical trained musician Black Coffee is perhaps the most famous South African dj of the moment. He is seen as someone who passes the positive message of house as a true ‘griot’. In Africa, griots are known to pass the history and culture of a certain tribe through music and song. His albums are good for gold. The man conquers the country with a full symphonic orchestra during megaconcerts where those by Madonna fade. Black Coffee is at present travelling the world giving European and American tours.
Through the success of Black Motion and other young and established acts, black boys in cities such as Johannesburg today dream of becoming the next famous dj and producer of hits. Black Coffee, Black Motion, Culoe De Song, Mash-O (the Drum herbalist) and white wunderboy Ralf Gum are just a few names of a new generation in Johannesburg that dreams aloud about house music as a way out of the townships. The prevailing sentiment is that house music can create a better future for everyone in South Africa. Hope rises on the horizon. DJ Black Coffee’s latest album is applicable called ‘Africa Rising’.
Top 5 -Jozi House
1. Black Motion – Aquarian Drums -(album CD -Kalawa Jazmee Dance 2012)