Afro-House Explorations

After a welcome winter hibernation, Rhythm & Roots is back and what better way to start 2013 than with the soulful, fresh, warm sound of Afro-House. Over the past month or so my playlists have been dominated by mixtapes, bootlegs and soundcloud sessions pouring over the offshoots of house music that are flourishing in Angola and South Africa. After a lot of digital crate digging I have put together a mix that celebrates some of my favourite Afro-House tunes, whilst also incorporating some influences from further afield akin to the sound and rhythm. So, a bit of context…

South African House

Unlike other parts of the world, in South Africa, house music is not confined to the dancefloor but has become one of the country’s dominant sounds, leading sales and making stars of its biggest names. Resident Advisor recently celebrated the SA House (centring on Johannesburg) as part of the “Real Scenes” mini-documentary series – a great introduction to the scene.

South Africa has not only become a global mecca of house music but has also managed to formulate its own diverse scene with its own diversity of sound. There is the upbeat, snare driven house sound epitomised by DJ Mujava‘s international breakthrough Township Funk, the deeper, soulful style from producers like Black Coffee, Black Motion and Culoe de Song and then the smash hit, lyrical, Kwaito-hereditary sounds of big name producers Professor, Oskido & DJ Clock.

Angolan House

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Meanwhile, the past few years have also seen a house music explosion in Angola, drawing inspiration from the South African scene and offering stiff competition to the Kuduro sound that has, historically, dominated the country’s electronic music scene. As Benjamin Lebrave, who offers a fascinating insight into the rise of Angolan house via This Is Africa, noted in July after a visit to Angola:

“A genre that was practically absent just three years ago during my last visit can now be heard virtually anytime, anywhere.”

Many Angolan producers such as DJeff and DJ Silyvi lean towards the deeper side whilst also emphasising rhythmic richness and incorporating traditional vocals samples. New producers are constantly appearing on Soundcloud with fresh sounds in a genre that continues to spread and diversify. It will be interesting to see two how these scenes now evolve and how they will feed back into electronic music globally.

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Rhythm & Roots Volume XIII

Rhythm & Roots Voume XIII It has been a while and in that while lots of new music has been buzzing around my ears. This is the 12th edition of Rhythm & Roots mix series. This mix criss crosses from deep Brazilian Dub from Digitaldubs, South African spiced electronics from LV, swaggering digital cumbia (new El Buho preview), Angolan house, Soulection hip-hop take on baile funk by Sango and everything in between! Stream the whole thing via Mixcloud below. Tracklist after the jump. Continue reading

Punk in Africa: A selection (DJ Zhao)

Punk in Africa is a documentary currently touring cinemas and film festivals which looks at the history of punk rock music in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Kenya from the 1970s to the present. The film examines the fascinating social and political context behind the music’s emergence in the different countries and it subsequent evolution to today’s scene.

To coincide with the film’s promotion, worldy-wise DJ Zhao has put together a really great and rather lengthy (75 minutes) mix journeying across the different interpretations of punk music “demonstrating the connectedness between Rock and Roll and its African roots, between power chords and dance beats, between decades past and today, between defiant youth in London and defiant youth in Zimbabwe.” The mix is nicely put together and features some cheeky edits and mash-ups along the way and even includes a few contemporary global bass sounds for good measure. The film offer a great insight into a previously under exposed piece of African musical history and DJ Zhao’s selection is the perfect accompanying soundtrack.

DJ Zhao – Punk in Africa Selection

 Tracklist after the jump:

Continue reading

Afrographique – Charting Africa

Thanks to okayafrica for this one, which, though not strictly musical…is well worth writing about. Afrographique is a Tumblr site run by Ivan Colic, art director/information designer at the South African advertising agency Zoom Advertising. The blog focuses on what is labelled as ‘visual literacy’: presenting data in ‘exciting and digestible format’. The well-designed and engaging ‘info-graphics’ show data such as mobile phone usage, Sino-African trade and internet penetration across Africa. Here is Colic talking about the project at a Tedx Stellenbosch event and some examples of the graphics:

 

For more, go to http://afrographique.tumblr.com.

Spoek Mathambo & CHLLNGR – Put Some Red On It EP

Vodpod videos no longer available.

South African MC/producer/graphic designer/DJ etc. Spoek Mathambo has been signed up by the legendary Seattle based label Sub Pop, who will release his Put Some Red on It EP in July with a full length LP to follow. Danish producer CHLLNGR is on beat making duties for the EP and you can download/stream the title track courtesy of Sub Pop which tackles the trade in blood diamonds and  features weighty sub bass, spaced synths and a rather excessive drum fill.  The full 7 track release will feature remixes from the likes of Machinedrum and Shabazz Palaces. A Danish producer, a South African MC and an American label: global bass.