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Featured Music

Rooted in jazz, growing in house: Bruce Loko takes South African deep house & techno to the world

Breyton, Mpumalanga born producer, Bruce Loko, is an artist that has a special and rare talent of bending sound to his will. Gifted with a great ear, an unconventional approach to crafting modern electronic music soundscapes, and a deep background in jazz music, he has quickly worked to become an innovator for South African music. He operates and flexes his skills in the electronic music arena and his rise to prominence in the local scene is no coincidence, but a result of passionate hard work.

He embodies much more than just your typical button basher or DAW operator, he has positioned himself as the go-to guy for all things innovative and daring when it comes to house music – see him as being a medium of which the universe uses to connect man in song. It is no surprise that the world calls for him prompting him to evade the South African borders as a representative to go heal and unite people in the name of dance music. A pioneer in his own right that has undoubtedly created opportunities for himself which very few artists from the province of Mpumalanga have received, and that right there is what we call breaking boundaries.

Sonically, Bruce Loko is known for his deep, atmospheric and technical interpretation of house music. He stays true to his training in jazz as he incorporates pulls some stylistic elements from the genre in his more modern, electronic production. The sound he has created, a style that he confidently owns, is innately South African but carries enough fire power to live comfortably in the global dance music arena. Bruce Loko is loved dearly by the South African underground and highly respected by his peers in music, people like the UK’s Atjazz, Kid Fonque and Aero Manyelo, all pioneers in their own right.

Bruce Loko is well on his way of building a successful career which will see him break new ground for South African electronic music, encourage a culture of innovation in our music and introduce us to new concepts.

Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Culture Events Featured Music

xJazz Music Residency Programme: Jazz gets rejuvenated, stretched & pushed to its limits

British Council Southern Africa Arts partners up with one of the biggest and most impactful festivals in Malawi, Lake of Stars, to bring you the xJazz Music Residency Programme. The programme sees six young and talented female jazz musicians from the UK, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Kenya, connect to form a one-of-a-kind band called Banou Azania (Royal Africa when translated).

The main focus of the residency is to provide the artists involved opportunities to build new connections, collaborate and showcase their talents. The residency is, in its core, designed to facilitate a cultural exchange that is not limited by borders, but one that encompasses a trade of ideas, insights, expertise and knowledge. The residency started on the 23rd of September in Lilongwe, Malawi, and it will run until the 4th of October in Johannesburg.

UK based instrumentalists, Isobella Burnham and Sheila Maurice-Grey, Zambian guitarist Micah Miyanda, Malawian vocalist Marylyn Chimombo, Kenyan drummer Kasiva Mutua and South African trombonist Siya Makuzeni, collaborate to re-imagine contemporary jazz and connect to inspire more women to take up an instrument or two.

xjazz music residency 2018
The project curator and band leader, Siya Makuzeni, says the following about the residency: “Through the xJazz music residency the aim is to bring together young and phenomenal jazz musicians who happen to be women, from five different countries, for them to experiment, create music together and build connections that will hopefully be beneficial to their careers going forward while inspiring other young women to pick music instruments up.” The xJazz Music Residency serves a purpose bigger than just connect women artists of the diaspora, but it also seeks to be a very important conversation starter about the visibility of women in the arts, especially in music.

To get more updates on the xJazz Music Residency, follow the #xJazz hashag across all social media platforms.

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Featured Music Reviews

ECHLN, KaeB & EMAMKAY release a groovy inspirational tune through Darker Than Wax

South African artists; ECHLN, KaeB and EMAMKAY, are at the forefront of the next South African sound. Futuristic soundscapes and banging electronic beats stylistically packaged in an authentic South African way are what they are known and respected for, locally and abroad.

ECHLN has slowly built a presence in Cape Town’s underground electronic beats scene, working with many of the talented break out acts in the Cape Town scene such as Vuyo Renene, Uno July and Hunter Rose — making him a respected fixture in the alternative scene in the Mother City. Originally from Pretoria, EMAMKAY has created a solid lane for himself in the alternative music scene in Gauteng, gaining respect and receiving praise with each project he releases. The now Johannesburg based artist has his focus set on being consistent in releasing purposeful and impactful music.

Tembisa born multi-genre specialist, KaeB, is a pioneer in his own right. Consistent in releasing groundbreaking tunes that shift the beat culture in South Africa. A man that is behind the creation of a new, authentic and proudly South African genre called Mzansi Mnandi, KaeB is a bona fide innovator.

The three producers linked up to create a truly game changing track titled ‘Right Now’ which was released through Singaporean label, Darker Than Wax. Right Now is a beautiful song that touches on topics such as striking a reasonable balance between patience and impatience when chasing your dreams, perseverance and embracing change that comes with growth.

Stream Right Now below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Avi Subban & Pierre Johnson connect for the release of the ‘Rejects EP’ via Kalushi Recordings

Since its official launch in 2015, Kalushi Recordings has pushed to change the landscape of house music in South Africa. Founded by two highly respected electronic music practitioners in South Africa, Rob Toca and Darren Murphy, the label has been consistent in breaking new sounds, records and introducing new artists to the nation. With a strong ethos, determination and passion, the Kalushi Recordings continues to innovate and facilitate the progression of the underground Mzansi.

After a string of culture shifting and progressive releases in the first half of 2018, the label redirects its focus and plans to shake things up in preparation of the festive season. To shake things up, they connect talented Johannesburg based artist, Avi Subban, and new break out Cape Town talent, Pierre Johnson, for the release of the Rejects EP – a three track deep house project.

With this project, the two producers align their very unique and distinct styles to create a groundbreaking body of work that sets a new standard for South African deep house music. They shine on this one and show the culture that they are one of the most experimental, left-field and forward-thinking producers to ever come out of the scene. Kalushi Recordings has, without a doubt, one a great project on their hands and one they should be proud of.

image of kalushi
Rejects EP by Avi Subban & Pierre Johnson via Kalushi Recordings.

The EP is set to drop on the 28th of September.

Stream the preview

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Featured Music Reviews

iPiano la se Msotra: DJ Jaivane is soundtracking the lives of township youth with his unique Amapiano sound

Mr. Simnandi is what they call him in Gauteng’s amapiano scene, a dangerously talented spinner and purveyor of authentic township culture. Hailing from Soweto, DJ Jaivane, as young as he is, is a pioneer of amapiano music with a name that garners respect when mentioned. A culture shaper of note, he is behind the virality of the amapiano music in many townships in Gauteng.

When dealing with anything authentic and original in the culture and art spaces, you are gifted custodianship and a platform to disrupt, establish a new narrative and break boundaries, and that is exactly what DJ Jaivane does. From Soweto to Gomorra to Tembisa to even eVutha, they know his name after having laid a solid foundation as the go-to guy for breaking amapiano records. As much as his offline presence is strong and healthy, he is also quite an influential force online with over 30 thousand followers on Facebook, just over four thousand followers on Instagram and about three thousand fans on Twitter.

On Youtube, his fans upload his mixes and they receive thousands of plays and that goes to show how much of an expert and connoisseur he is. He soundtracks the lives of township youth with his talent and there is no doubt that he will continue gaining traction, shifting culture and pushing authenticity in Mzansi.

Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Featured Music Reviews Videos

WATCH: ASAP Shembe invites us into his dark & mysterious world with the visuals of Iyabiza

Johannesburg based artist, ASAP Shembe, is not your regular rapper. He is far from average and definitely does not fit any conventional artistic moulds that may exist in South African Hip Hop. To put it plainly, ASAP Shembe is an anomaly, an enigma of some sort — one that forces you to think beyond societal norms, makes you slightly uncomfortable and introduces you to new concepts. Everything that ASAP Shembe touches is conceptual, intentional and well thought-out, making him even more attractive as a new artist breaking into the game.

He carries his hood, Vosloorus, on his back proudly and moves with his trusted compadres on a quest of changing the landscape of South African music. Alternative is what they would call what he does, but in all honesty, ASAP Shembe embodies much more than that — he makes purposefully potent music with an aim to teach and disrupt. He fuses trap with traditional Zulu concepts beautifully to create something we have never seen before. A boundary pusher of note, ASAP Shembe is an artist is so artistically powerful that we believe he will be the subject of a lot of studies in the future. Yes, he is that amazing!

To usher in a new season, he delivers the visuals of Iyabiza, a single that was initially released in June. The video features dark scenery that fuels the mysterious persona that ASAP Shembe carries. In the video, you can catch glimpses of Shembe rapping while his crew rocks out, in unison, with him.

His new project, MAJOZI, drops tomorrow on all digital stores. Be on the look out.

Watch the Frans Malesela Kekana directed and MRMKHOLS music video.

Follow ASAP Shembe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud.

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Culture Events Featured Music

Weheartbeat presents Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party: Our five questions with S. Fidelity

For this year’s Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party hosted by Weheartbeat and the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, we’re doing something really interesting for all our beat heads and electronic music fans. There are exciting international acts at this year’s Bloc Party and to give you some more insights on these artists, we sent some of them five questions to find out more about them, their plans and their thoughts on the Bloc Party.

We chopped it up with Swiss beat machine, S. Fidelity, to get more insight on what he does, what he has in store for at the Bloc Party and what he is most excited about to learn and experience in South Africa.

image of swiss beat maker and producer, s. fidelity
Image supplied

Describe your artistry and what you do in 5 words.
Funk loaded post analog drama.

What is the one thing, lesson or experience do you want people to get from your music?
Good vibes only.

You are performing at this year’s Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, what can we expect from your performance?
A live vocoder radio journey through my time, space and genres. Expect the unexpected.

What are you looking forward to see, experience and learn in South Africa?
It’s my first time in South Africa, so getting to know people, culture, music, food and life.

Where can people follow and connect with you online?
InstagramFacebookSpotify and Twitter.

image of fakugesi event artwork
Catch S. Fidelity at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party. Get your tickets here.

For more details and updates on the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, follow Weheartbeat on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Featured Music Reviews Videos

WATCH: FAKA drops the new visuals for their new single titled ‘Queenie’

FAKA is back! The ever impressive duo has come back with a new single titled Queenie. The single comes in the form of a music video that celebrates the queer and trans bodies. The main angle of used for the groundbreaking visuals is POC queer representation and visibility.

The Jabu Nadia Newman and Luvuyo Equiano Nyawose produced and directed video features up and coming queer creative forces such as Glow Mami, K$, Angelo-Ho and many more.

The Angel-Ho produced track is a serious bop – one that is perfect for hot festive season months that are coming up. FAKA has transcended far beyond South African borders and this tune is something that will propel them even further.

Follow FAKA on Facebook. Visit their website here.

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Business Culture Featured Music Reviews

Introducing Xpressed Records: An independent label on a mission of taking Afro House to new heights

Xpressed Records is a independent label founded in 2016 by Soweto-born DJ/producer, Nelo HD (formerly known as Nelo). The label took its first giant leap in 2017 by making its presence felt with the release 16 singles, many of which were songs by the Nelo HD. In 2017, the label found solid ground, a space through which they innovate and break boundaries and built a foundation.

The label primarily focuses on electronic music, with Afro House as one of their core offerings and specialties. The label plays in a niche and alternative space, and which the guidance and expertise of Nelo HD, it is slowly becoming a go-to hub for innovative house records.

image of nelo hd, the founder of xpressed records
Image Supplied. The founder of Xpressed Records, Nelo HD.

Stream the latest episode of Xpressed Records Radio below.

Follow Xpressed Records on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud and Youtube.

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Events Featured Music Reviews

Weheartbeat presents Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party: Our five questions with Zikomo

For this year’s Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party hosted by Weheartbeat and the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, we’re doing something really interesting for all our beat heads and electronic music fans. There are five international acts at this year’s Bloc Party and to give you some more insights on these artists, we sent them five questions to find out more about them, their plans and their thoughts on the Bloc Party.

We caught up with Long Beach, California based producer, Zikomo, who is known for his unique bounce, fluid electronic beats approach and his eclectic sets. He has built up a very strong reputation in underground beats scene in LA and he is gearing up to wow his South African fans with his music and sets. check out the interview below.

Describe your artistry and what you do in 5 words.
What I do in five words.
1.Produce Fire
2. Wear a Mask
3.Watch anime
4. Play video games
5. I am Groot

What is the one thing, lesson or experience do you want people to get from your music?
The music that I make regardless of whether it is in the form of a remix/edit or an original composition is a representation of myself.

image of los angeles based artist, zikomo
Image Supplied.

You are performing at this year’s Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, what can we expect from your performance?
An all EDM and Bluegrass set. Haha, I’m kidding. I’m gonna keep that a secret but all I’m gonna say is prepare your bodies.

What are you looking forward to see, experience and learn in South Africa?
I’m looking forward to seeing everything and submerging myself in the culture. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to come out and perform for you guys and I look forward to learning more about the community. Also looking forward to the food.

Where can people follow and connect with you online?
You can connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, or Soundcloud.

image of fakugesi event artwork
Catch Zikomo at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party. Get your tickets here.

For more details and updates on the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, follow Weheartbeat on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.