Known as the coolest bar in Jozi; Kitchenershas over the years defined the cool, the progressive and the left-field, in the city. Curating events that disrupt the status quo in the entertainment industry in Johannesburg, building a safe space for marginalized communities and being a pivotal player in diversifying the creative and youth culture scenes in Jozi, has allowed the establishment to innovate beyond convention. For many artists and DJs that now enjoy widespread popularity and success, events hosted at the culturally-significant venue have served as a springboard to their industry breakthrough and eventual success.
Experimentation and cutting edge ideas has, without fail, made the venue the cornerstone of progressive entertainment in Johannesburg catering mainly for the alternative and underground scenes. Groundbreaking entertainment and creative concepts accompanied by a strict no-discrimination, no-harassment and no-violence policy has made this Andrew The DJand Broaden A New Sound collaborative venture a success.
Now in their true innovative fashion, the Kitcheners Music team curates an exciting event called Make Me Feelset to happenon the last Thursday of the year. A night that features some of the freshest breakout spinners in the city such as Your Uncle Garry, Sunshine, Nouveaux, Sis’ Madlisa, uMagezangobisi, Black and T-Rooi. All acts have a refreshing approach to DJing and are at the fore of the next wave of pioneering entertainers in South Africa.
Make Me Feel is geared to be a memorable night filled with expertly curated soundscapes. Be prepared to be introduced to new sounds, mingle with like-minded people and have a great time in the heart of city of Joburg.
When you come across an artist that creates art that makes you reach deep into the core of your being, a special connection-driven space for them is created in your heart as what they create helps you navigate this thing called life. For what it is worth, artists armed with their artistry are mediums through which we derive lessons of self-discovery, identity, love, spirituality, love, struggle and more; and allowing us to make sense of our existence. That is the power vested in the artist and oh what a glorious gift it is! The beauty of it all is how artists, as much as they feed off of and are inspired by the human experience, can impressively step out of the human experience to come into their own as observers that offer us commentary on ourselves and the mystery of life. Every time an artist digs deep in attempt to explain their most beautiful, darkest and sometimes most confusing emotions, they build a special connection with the consumers of their art.
Bari, Italy, born musician, Francesca Biancoli, is an exceptional example of an artist that prioritizes the lessons of self-awareness, the beauty of multiculturalism, life and spirituality in their music. Now based in Cape Town, she has cemented her presence in the international music arena as a pioneering creative force hellbent on offering new ways of expression; armed with nothing a great voice, incredible guitar skills and an awe-inspiring creative mind, through which she connects with her audience in the flesh, in the spirit and emotionally. Honest in her expression, she revels in her truths and by doing so, creates easy pathways for people to relate and connect to her.
Her multicultural upbringing in Bari; where she was surrounded by Greek, Turkish and Arabic influences, and her residence in South Africa’s mother city, has afforded her perspective and experiences that influence her artistry – a gift that has undoubtedly shaped her as an artist.
On her latest record titled Hunted; the singer-songwriter unpacks the experiences of women, those are external and those that are internal, to shine a light on them and rightfully place them in the center of important discourse in the world – and what better way should such discourse be delivered than in song. Hunted serves as a beautiful celebratory ode of mother earth whilst also highlighting the brutal treatment that women and nature have to go through. “Nobody teaches you to be a child, nobody teaches you shows you how to be a mother. Time teaches us everything, but every means nothing when we are being hunted” she says when describing the song. Her performance on the song sees her warm vocal delivery marry the sounds that her hands produced when strumming her guitar. Exceptional song packed with many gems in the form of lessons delivered in a world class artistic manner.
With so much music to choose from, it’s easy to get lost in the streaming maze and forget who the true emcees are and what they stand for. One of these artists who truly captures the hip hop art form is one of Durban’s favorite sons, Raheem Kemet.
Raheem Kemet is an acclaimed South African hip hop artist, songwriter, poet, beatboxer and one of the most respected lyricists that Durban has ever produced. He has been on the music scene for the past 16 years, firstly as an Independent artist and is currently signed by major label, Sony Music Africa. Raheem is responsible for hit singles such as ‘The Fire’, ‘Lampin’ and ‘September’
After a busy 2018 where he launched Deconstruct Live, released a single and was performing live a ton, I had a chance to chat with Raheem and cut it up with him about the local music scene, news on any new releases and more.
Thanks so much for making time to chat to me today Ra. First of all, what does picking up the mic mean to you when you perform live? For me, music has always been something that has been therapeutic, a means for me to channel my thoughts. I’ve always attached it to spirituality. I think of it like words manifesting. When I speak and when I rhyme, it’s like I’m either speaking into my life or I’m trying to convey a message across & speak into people’s lives. Getting behind the mic helps me get through this crazy thing called life. The stage & studio is like a sanctuary, a space where I can channel energies and allow it to manifest into the world.
If Kwa-Zulu Natal had a supergroup of emcees and a DJ, dead or alive, for one show only, who would be in it and why?
MCs: XO, Blackmoss, Solomon of BFG, Manelis, Jet Wentworth, ByLwansta, Champ Tile, HCL, Celestial Mic, Canis Major.
DJs: P-Kuttah and The Brother Brother Experience.
This was a tough one to answer as there are so many more dope hip hop artists out there that I didn’t mention. I feel that all of these Emcees encapsulate what a lyricist is all about and are active on the scene except for XO who unfortunately passed away. Whenever I have l have seen these artists perform live, it challenges me to be a better Emcee so I salute them all as they push the game further upwards.
What are you working on musically at the moment and can we expect any music videos or releases in 2019?
At the moment it’s all about the music man. Right now I’m focusing on key features, it’s an element I feel is needed and I have the time to work on this currently which is exciting. I can’t say who the tracks are with right now but they will feature some exciting local and international artists who inspire me. Artists that I want to be aligned with and have their listeners find my music and vice versa. There will definitely be some music videos on the way in 2019 and maybe a full body of work too album wise, an EP or a few singles.
What do you think the Durban music scene needs most at the moment?
Creatively and musically I feel like the scene is perfect right now. The most important thing I feel like the Durban scene needs is a music business infrastructure. Artists from Durban have been suffering for years due to the lack of this infrastructure and have had to travel outside the province to tap into this. If you look at the type of people that really blow up in SA you will see that they are mostly from Durban.
Are there any local Emcees or Hip Hop groups in Durban or anywhere in SA that you are really excited about at the moment and would love to collab with? YoungstaCPT– Really like the homie’s movement especially with the type of vibe he is pushing right now culturally in Cape Town and the identity of the people, it’s powerful man. I can relate to it as I’m a part of the Zanzibari community here in Durban and I feel a responsibility to teach people about my culture.
Champ Tile– I’m excited about him as he is really nice with the pen, his stories and content is very relevant. I hope people start to recognize him more soon.
ByLawansta is doing powerful things in the Durban Hip Hop scene and all over SA.
What is your ultimate dream music-wise?
I’m a huge fan of Anderson .Paak and Smino, it would be a dream to work with them. Being in a studio with The Roots and collab on a EP or album with members of The Wu Tang Clan, Talib Kweli, Black Thought and Mos Def would be the ultimate scenario.
Keep an ear out for Raheem Kemet, 2019 is going to be a huge year for this Durban Emcee. Check out his latest track, Never Late, from earlier in 2018 if you haven’t heard it already.
A few weeks ago, we embarked on an exciting new journey where we push to align ourselves and collaborate with some of Africa’s most forward-thinking creatives that are pushing ideas, art and schools of thought that go against the grain, are not of the norm and are simply just groundbreaking. This move towards the end of the great year that 2018 has been, was inspired by our incessant calling to curate and create meaningful content about Africa’s alternative art scenes. The move resulted in us moving into digital content programming space to support our core content offerings and The Oddlist is one our first pilot.
The Oddlist is a show designed and directed by Mbabane, eSwat based music enthusiast and DJ, This Is Odd (real name Wakhile Gule). “The Oddlist is a show hosted by eSwatini born DJ, This is Odd. More popularly known for his story telling dance mixes, here he brings forth a different side of himself. Continuing with the culture of compiling rare and emotive music, The Oddlist is built of ambient and chilled sounds, shared by This is Odd from his own personal collection of music” says This Is Odd when describing the show and its purpose.
Four episodes in, we are extremely proud with what we’ve managed to achieve with The Oddlist and we are definitely excited for what the new year has in store for us.
Listen/Stream all four episodes of The Oddlist below.
Refentše Solois a Cape Town based singer-songwriter who originally hails from South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria. Pretoria is known for producing some of South Africa’s most innovative, groundbreaking and influential artists in mediums of art such as music, fashion, visual and performance art, and Refentše Solo is undoubtedly one of these artists. With an angelic and soothing voice, the talented musician has taken the Cape Town music scene by storm, collaborating with a lot of the city’s musical talents such as DJ 1D and Bantu The Consciousness.
As a songwriter, she possesses a pen so strong and powerful that she can easily curate sonic vibrations that can make the listener feel, reminisce and dream. Her sweet soothing voice comes as a cherry-on-top, and as much as she is a relatively new act, her talent affords her the luxury to be multifaceted in her artistic approach as she performs well in genres like acoustic soul, house, neo soul and R&B. One of her unique selling points as a singer-songwriter is that she has a great command of the English language whilst being an equally potent handler of Northern Sotho, making her a truly unique South African act.
In 2018, Refentše put her best foot forward by relentlessly pushing to release music online to get her name out there and through her collaborations this year she has managed to build a body of work that will allow her to release her debut project next year. The debut project is set to be a six-track project with production credits from her frequent collaborator DJ 1D, AGORD NOVA and Tsukudu. Genesis is what the project is to be called and the release date is the 9th of January, which happens to be Refentše’s birthday – making it a great gift to herself whilst also serving as her official entrance into the game.
In preparation for the release of her debut release, Refentše released beautiful visuals of a single off of her upcoming EP titled Genesis. The song carries the title of her debut release and it is beautiful song which sees her flex the beauty of her voice and her songwriting skills.
The music video was shot and directed by Naserian Koikai, DOP’d by Ezra Mokgope, styled by Ama Hlalele, creative directed by Prince Mphomanne and Refentše was dressed by Plus Fab by Ouma Tema with set assistance provided by the talented, Wandile Mvula. Beautiful video crafted by a young South African creatives. The future of South Africa is undeniably bright when artists like Refentše Solo step up to the fore to deliver great music.
Dance music in South Africa is an unavoidable force; connecting people across racial, cultural and class lines, allowing them to set socio-economical and socio-political issues/problems aside, in favour of dance, special moments and uninterrupted bliss. Woven into the fabric of the South African society; dance music has, in many ways, always been changing, travelling and progressing at same pace as the country’s youth culture – manifesting as a familiar fixture in the state-of-the-youth conversations and activities.
Dance music has served as South Africa’s amplifier and enforcer of good times and, in the same breath, somewhat of an anesthesia of pain presented by the bad times. In dance music, you are awarded the opportunity to get a sense of where South Africa is; it is all in the music, from the hard-hitting songs laden with conscious content to the easy-going, ‘let’s have a nice time and forget about all our problems’ type of songs. But for the music to be such a brilliant driver of culture, ideas and schools of thought, there has to be individuals blessed with the honor of feeding the nation with the music – the DJs. Many may argue that in South Africa DJs, when speaking of culture and impact, are far more influential than business people, politicians and scholars, because for them to be genuinely loved and appreciated by the masses, the work of their hands as DJ has to approved by the people. In the DJ realm of entertainment, you cannot but influence, respect and credibility; and that is the reason why DJs are so impactful in South Africa. With dance floors as their offices, they share their deep passion for music with people, break records to the masses which directly uplifts the creators of music and effortlessly connect people using music as a social glue. Now that’s special and it speaks to their importance in the economic and cultural spheres of the greater entertainment game.
One of the biggest music genres in South Africa is House music and like kwaito, the genre rose to its prominence from the late 80s to the early 90s, and was spearheaded by a youth that needed something to champion, to promote as their own and to express themselves. Many youths took the genre and spread it across the country and many of the people we regards as legends and pioneers of dance music in Mzansi, were these fearless youths that changed the landscape of entertainment forever. Legends like Pretoria born and raised dance music practitioner, Michael G., first came out into the scene in the early 90s as passion-driven tastemakers that took house music to the masses. Moving from city to city, town to town and nightclub to nightclub, shared his deep love and passion for music as a young DJ, earning a name for himself as a respected dance music specialist that broke new, fresh and powerful records in the country. Through his relentless push and the foundation he had set for himself, he fast became a trusted source for all things house music and that led to him to releasing some of the first majorly successful compilation brands to come out of South Africa, such as Flipside House Vol 1, My House Is Your House and Mi Casa e Su Casa. This further cemented him as skilled music man with an ear for great tracks that many could envy.
As time progressed, Michael G. continued to solidify his name in the South African dance music scene and in the mid 2000s, he linked up with his younger cousin, Jullian Gomes, to form SAMA nominated deep house outfit – the G. Family. During this time in his career, he dabbled quite extensively in production, releasing amazing tracks and remixes that further grew his influence. Having been in the music industry for over two decades, Michael G. shows no signs of stopping what he loves as it has allowed him to travel, meet different type of like-minded people and connect people without any barriers of privilege, race, culture or class. That’s special!
With his ‘Vinyl With Love’ podcast, he shares some of rarest, deepest and most exclusives joints that he finds as he digs and searches for music. Still pushing vinyl culture, he makes an effort to take it back to the basics, where he started and where the focus is on music and the music only. Michael G. is a bonafide pioneer who doubles as a purveyor of dance music culture who is not phased by the glamour offered by fame or trends, what he does is driven by passion and that roots him firmly in his purpose. And that is his secret for his longevity in the game; sticking to your guns, your morals, values and passions will earn you a special place in people’s hearts.
TMi is an exciting act from Johannesburg with a fresh sound that first broke out into the South African music scene in 2015 with the release of Kas’ Lam, a song that which a remix featuring L-Tido and Blaklez. The trio was formed by three solid friends who share a deep love for music that carries a South African flair that stays true to home. The word TMi is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘tuuu much info’ and it serves as a description of what the group plans to offer to the game; great artistry, great concepts and more importantly music, all of which are information that enhances the human experience.
This year, the trio pushed to re-introduce themselves to the game with the release of Mali Yami – a scorcher of a tune which sees TMi create an authentically South African number, where the band members sing and rap in IsiZulu, Sesotho and English. Mali Yam’ beautifully represents South Africa’s festive, jolly energy whilst also highlight the unpleasant conditions that the country’s majority have to face – the song promotes celebration after working hard, overcoming challenges and winning a battle when all odds are against you. Amazing track! Listen to it below.
Xenlaii is a Pietermaritzburg-born, Johannesburg based multi-disciplined creative who is experiment with sound, language and design. A true independent artist, he creative directs his own visuals and photography, designs his own project artworks. He is a University of Johannesburg graduate who has decided to bet on himself as a creative and has set his sights on introducing new ideas and concepts to the world.
After releasing a few singles earlier this year, he makes a return with a new KaeB produced slapper called Kwaze Kwamnandi. On this track, he lyrically channels a Durban kwaito and unpacks the concept of i’nkwari (a party or event) on a slowed down future beats production, flowing effortlessly as he raps in Zulu. The song is about the good life and reveling in life’s jolly moments, however, the song also offers some insight into the South African night life. With this song, Xenlaii, comes into his own by crafting a sound truly unique to him. Stream Kwaze Kwamnandi below.
The Jay Em story is nothing short of amazing. Two brothers from Port Elizabeth with a gift of producing music that allows people to have a genuine connection with people. It was just last year when they burst into the local scene with the help of Stay True Sounds founder, Kid Fonque. Their introduction to the game was with the release of the The September Blueprint, a four track EP which had the culture talking and was lauded for its inventive nature. They deservedly earned their place in the best new comers of the year lists in 2017 with the release of the EP. Their rise was undeniable at this point and the only thing that their journey required from them was consistency.
In 2018, they evidently worked on their craft which resulted in a signing with the The Beat Club, a newly formed label by seasoned South African artist and businessman, J Something. The signing prompted them to make a necessary move to the city of gold, Johannesburg, to take things up a notch and gun for their dreams. They had to leave their hometown, Port Elizabeth, to hustle for a place in people’s hearts, earn their place in Jozi’s competitive music scene and make further steps to make sure their dreams are realized. Their brave move to South Africa’s metropolis has resulted in the release of their first official release on The Beat Club tilted ‘The 011’ – a four track EP.
The title of the new EP details their journey to Johannesburg and the music further expands on that very notion. The EP boasts a very current future beats approach with hints of house and R&B. Beautiful EP which serves a perfect summer burner for the festive season. Stream the 011 below.
Featured image by Kgabo. Follow him on instagram here.
Electronic dance music is a thriving force in Southern Africa and its impact on the greater dance music culture is unmatched. With house music as the leading variant of electronic dance music in region, Southern Africa has fast become the world’s innovation hub for the global dance music culture. The beat that house music carries is the one common thread that packs enough power to connect people of all races, cultures and backgrounds. When people think of the electronic dance music scene in Southern Africa, it is easy for them to default to South Africa, naming it the sole contributor to the dance music culture in the region, which is not entirely true. Countries like the kingdom of eSwatini, Mozambique and Angola, are known for having brilliant dance music scenes that are budding and are showing potential in driving and pushing the culture forward.
Brands that are savvy and in-sync with culture are slowing tapping into these other scenes in these other Southern African countries. They understand that to expand their reach, impact and their footprint into these markets, they need to align themselves as genuine partners and supporters of these budding scenes. Ballantine’s is one of these brands and they are strategically penetrating countries like Angola for one. Their Stay True property is being introduced into Angola in the form of small and very targeted events. Recently, Ballantine’s curated an event in Luanda, Angola, and they partnered with local Angolan creatives who are active in the dance music culture in the country.
Raees Hassan who is more popularly knowns as Reezo Hassan in the South African dance music scene, captured the moments of Ballantine’s Stay True event and the burgeoning dance music culture of Angola. With the help of Fredy Lourenzo also known as Monotronik, Reezo documented the happenings of the scene, spoke to some local creatives to get more perspective, understanding of the scene and also showcasing its potential. Beautiful, insightful and informative mini documentary which we recommend you check out.