Featured Music Reviews

PREMIERE: Red Robyn Releases Her Debut Single Titled ‘Dust & Iron’

In the last three years, Durban born and based singer-songwriter, Red Robyn, has been consistent in releasing progressive music with the new crop of Durban based artists that are creating music outside of the conventions that we know. Her rise has been a beautiful sight to see as she teared through many industry barriers, odds and gatekeepers; armed with nothing but her powerful artistry — she has carved out a lane for herself.

The UKZN Music School graduate is ready for the big leagues and she is finally stepping into her own with the release of her debut single titled ‘Dust & Iron‘. Over the years, through collaborations with other artists and performances, she has built a loyal following that has been dying for this moment — where Red Robyn gears up to release her own. The moment is here! Dust & Iron is a smooth, spacey and acoustic with pop influences number which sees the 24-year-old singer float effortlessly on the production with a nonchalant approach of delivering the vocals. With the assistance of frequent collaborator, Sean Ross, Red Robyn produced the song and captured a very emotion-driven vibe.

image of red robyn
Image supplied.

The single is the first of two stand alone singles that the artist will release leading up to her debut EP which will be available in September 2019.

Stream Dust & Iron below.

Culture Events Featured Music Reviews

The Big Hash Releases Young: An Era-Defining Project Built To Flip South African Hip Hop On Its Head

March 28, 2019 was the date set for The Big Hash’s listening session for his debut mixtape titled Young. Scores of young congregated at the SABC, all donning branded clothing through which they express themselves to the world — a world that largely has the older generations, particularly Gen X and Baby Boomers, misunderstands these new generation of young people.

This gathering was organized as a listening session, but something bigger was happening which truly details the power of young people when they band together. Think about it for a second! The South African Broadcast Commission, as a state organ, is largely ran by an older generation that has people who were integral in the fight of overthrowing the apartheid regime which systematically suffocated black people from actualizing themselves on their own land — now what has unfortunately happened with this generation of leaders is that have sustained exclusionary structures from back then to protect their own interests therefore limiting young people from accessing platforms that can change their lives. Now with this generation; things have no choice but to change, rules bent their will and exclusionary structures demolished. You will listen to the kids — whether you like it or not. They will force their way into structures like the SABC. They will move as a unit, driven by purpose and a burning desire to change the world for good, to document the times they live in; through music, fashion, photography and other creative mediums.

The Young LP by the charismatic teenager rap phenom, The Big Hash, perfectly soundtracks this generation — touching on his frustrations as a young artist, friendships, his rise to prominence, the death of his peers in music and his relations with women. With the assistance of the local hip hop culture custodian, Siyabonga Ngwekazi aka Scoop Makhathini, he unpacked each song from start to finish. “The process of making young was inspired by what was happening around me and in my life. A lot of niggas were dying, I mean, it was around the time where niggas like X and Mac died. And these people were young and had so much potential. Taking those things into consideration, this project came about. You can be young but you can’t die young. There’s still so much to do and say” he said when breaking down how the project came to happen. As he was relaying the stories of some of the key moments from the process of recording this project, 808x was on the boards cuing each track on the album.

image of the big hash
Image credit: Innanetwav

When speaking on the sixth song on the project, he paused and got comfortable in his seat on the stage. “This song was supposed to be on Riky’s album. I don’t know if that album is still going to be released or not. But I recorded this album at Riky’s house. I wrote it when Mlindo and Riky were making You And I and I took the song home and recorded it shortly after” he says. For an artist his age, Hash has truly beat the odds and settled into his destiny, and this is seen in the rooms he has been in, the industry co-signs and the support he has garnered in two and a half years.

YOUNG LP by The Big Hash
On Young, the young artist also touches on his relationship with his parents — speaking quite openly on how his mom raised him alone, with an absent dad that never kept to his promises and how all of this has shaped the man that he is and is becoming as he becomes a young adult. On Nothing Comes Free, he says “I ain’t never need no handouts/ yeah my dad got a bad habit of letting me down/ he never gave me shit from his bank account/ so I’m making double of what he make and it’s a big amount” — a scheme that gives us insight into his rocky relationship with his father. Hash’s pen shines throughout the project and he flexes his storytelling skills, his gift of playing with words and songwriting.

Nothing is forced on Young, every song carries a different vibe and a mood which gives us, the listeners, more perspective in the makings of The Big Hash: the man and the artist. He does not shy away from speaking about his biggest sacrifice which is dropping out of school and what he has managed to achieve as a result of that big move. Lines like “I was supposed to be doing my first year/ now I am ahead of my peers in light years” and “I’m in class but fuck it I’ll just leave/ fuck high school I am ready for the big league indicate this confidence and belief in himself that he, indeed, will make a success of out himself.

When asked where he thinks he will be in 10 years, he said: “I honestly don’t care much about who I will be or where I will be in 10 years time. But I do know what I want to do be doing in 10 years time and that’s music. I will always do music because music has always been there for me”. The answer to that question shows us that The Big Hash is focused on his long game and we should expect more music in future.

image of the big hash
Image credit: Innanetwav

Young speaks to his generation, kids born in the late 90s and early 2000s, and millennials. However, he has a heaven sent gift of making music which can easily appeal to music lovers of all generations especially the more melody-driven tracks where he sings. With this mixtape, Hash defines an era, re-imagines South African hip hop and offers a soundtrack to this generation. A lot of his peers relate to him and that’s where his greatest powers lie. Now couple that with great talent and a great team behind him — an era is defined, new benchmarks are set and old practices are improved. That’s powerful. The Big Hash has a long career ahead of him and with the support that he has from his peers, he can achieve anything.

The Young LP by The Big Hash is currently available on exclusively on Apple Music and will be available on other streaming platforms on the 5th of April.

The Young LP by The Big Hash is currently available on exclusively on Apple Music and will be available on other streaming platforms on the 5th of April.

Events Featured Interviews Music

#BringYourFire Interviews: We Speak To Mozambican Band, GranMah, Ahead of MTN Bushfire Festival 2019

We’re literally two months away from the MTN Bushfire Festival which happens from the 24th of May to the 26th of May in the Kingdom of eSwatini. Regarded as Africa’s top festival by BBC, the 13th edition of the MTN Bushfire Festival is set to wow its attendees this year with a great lineup which includes acts such as artists, ASA, Mr. Eazi, Blinky Bill and more. This year, the festival is even more special as it is the Igoda Circuit’s first official festival circuit which will see a handful of artists tour Southern Africa — hitting eSwatini, Mozambique, South Africa and Réunion Island.

One of the headline acts performing this year is Mozambican band, GranMah. Known for their unique take of dub and reggae music, they have taken the African music industry by storm with their unique offerings in music. We recently got a great opportunity to speak to them ahead of their MTN Bushfire Festival debut. Check it out below.

Describe your artistry music in 5 words?

Passion, love, courage, purpose and freedom. In one sentence: We do what we love.

What is the one thing, lesson or experience do you want people to get from your music?
We aspire to make feel good music. Even though life events can seem difficult to overcome, we should always aim to keep on moving, trying our best and never giving up.

If you weren’t in music, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Tough question, as most of us, do have other jobs in different fields.

image of mozambican band, granmah
Image credit: Facebook
What keeps you inspired to make music and what are some of the challenges you continually face in your journey in music?
Living off of music alone is hard. At first, when you tell your family you are a musician, to them you are either crazy famous like Beyonce or they just don’t see it working out for you. These days, however, our families and friends are highly supportive. We have never given up. Once you keep on doing music and failing, the next time you do it, you fail a little less, and as we march through our career we have plenty of things to be grateful for and even more to aspire to. The motto is #WeGot2Move! Coming from an independent band, we know the true cost of making it out there and how hard it is to reach out and find opportunities. A lot of artists, in our country, have to have a ‘9 to 5’ job to sustain themselves and their families, as the income from music is not always enough. When you add the living costs to the studio time, rehearsal space, touring, printing of cds, marketing, etc. costs, it almost feels as if it is a race doomed to fail. What motivates us is our passion for what we do and the passion we receive back from our supporters. It makes us smile and move forward. All those encouraging words from them, all over the world, give us the strength to keep going.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important would you rate the importance of the Igoda circuit in the African live music space?
We believe that the Igoda circuit is a great opportunity where both artists and audiences profit. The artists get to showcase their passion and art to new audiences and people in the business, while the audiences and people in the business, get to experience new sounds, movements and perhaps find a new reason to smile. In other words, can one really rate such experiences? Discovering a new artist you love is an experience 1000 out of 10!

What can Bushfire Festival attendees expect from your set this year?
We have been attendees at Bushfire for many years and always wondered what it would be like to play at such a beautiful place with amazing vibes. One thing we cannot forget is #BringYourFire and we hope to ignite it to the max during our performance. We will bring our very best and hopefully make Mozambique proud. Our country and neighbors are going through a lot of tragedy and loss right now, after the Idai cyclone, so we hope to bring some good feelings and smiles through our music.

Follow GranMah on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud and their website here.

Events Featured Music

Stream Africa’s Grandest Playlist Curated For The Cape Town International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is happening this weekend and we curated a great playlist featuring all of the artists on this year’s line up. Over forty songs curated for you!

READ: Five Reasons Why You Should Attend This Year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Some of greatest musicians in the world have graced the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and this year is no different; with a lineup packed with talent which is highly regarded in the international music arena. You are definitely in for a treat this weekend!

Get your day passes here.
Get your weekend passes here.

Stream Africa’s Grandest Playlist on Deezer below.

Stream Africa’s Grandest Playlist on Apple Music below.

Stream Africa’s Grandest Playlist on Spotify below.

If you prefer YouTube Music, you can stream the playlist here.

Follow The Cape Town International Jazz Festival on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Events Featured Music

Coquette Sessions Hosts Berlin Based DJ/Producer, EDDIE C, At Kitcheners This Friday

Coquette Sessions is known for its inner city parties that boast impressive lineups with some the world’s best pioneering DJs and producers — allowing the brand to cultivate a scene that is authentically underground and archiving of often forgotten dance music genres.

To further drive their purpose, values and vision, Coquette Sessions in partnership with Red Motorbike invites Ontario, Canada, born and Berlin based DJ/producer, EDDIE C, to rock Johannesburg. EDDIE C is known for his eclectic sets that range from disco, funk, acid house and jazz. The event is to be hosted at one of the most iconic and culturally-significant venues in Jozi, Kitcheners, and the lineup includes local heavyweights in the South African music scene such as Ady Fleming, Reezo Hassan, DJ Buhle, DJ Hara and Nolumyuzik.

Watch EDDIE C’s mixmag set.

If you have an appetite for great dance music, swing by at the coolest bar at the khona this Friday!

Entry into the event is R60 before 10 PM and R100 after. Come through!
Events Featured Music

Win Tickets to Kalushi Recordings’ 3 Year Celebration in Johannesburg

After a successful stop in Cape Town as part of the Kalushi Recordings’ 3 year celebration featuring German DJ/producer, Moosefly, SIDES, Rob Toca and Harmonix, the boundary pushing label guns for the city of gold. The Jozi leg of the 3 year celebration has a lineup filled with heavyweights that are respected in the South African electronic music industry. Fka Mash, Avi Subban, Keegs Bantom, Deep Souls, Laminin Music, Jacks Cab and Kalushi Recordings co-founder, Rob Toca are set to set Jozi on fire.

Gear up for a great night of dance music in the inner city of Johannesburg.

Listen to the latest release by Kalushi Recordings titled Kalushi VA Sampler below.

Join us as we celebrate this milestone on Saturday at The Third Place, Johannesburg. Win 1 of 2 tickets to the Kalushi Recordings 3 Year Celebration by following our social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Come celebrate 3 years of Kalushi Recordings at The Third Place, Johannesburg. Get your tickets at Quicket here.
Featured Music Reviews

The Ambience EP: MorseKode & Loux Artiste explain life using Hip Hop as a medium

Soweto based producer, MorseKode, and rapper, Loux Artiste, released the Ambience EP in February – a five track project which carries a strong early 2000s J-sec era influenced in production and in raps. Under the supervision of Soweto’s very own, Speeka Thapelo, MorseKode and Loux Artiste crafted a truly unique body of work which perfectly unpacks youthful, black and township life through the eyes of a millennial South African.

The self-proclaimed god-tier MC, Loux Artiste, uses his pen as a weapon to strongly assert himself in the ranks of the best rappers in Southern Africa. He plays with the English language; detailing the happenings of his life, his experiences and things that are directly linked to his being – rap, fatherhood and his immediate surroundings. He floats on MorseKode’s production, weaving words together to craft stories which give the listener the opportunity to see life through his eyes. Welcome To The Blues Room is the EP’s introduction, it sets the tone of the project with its laid-back, mellow and jazzy feel – the song’s title speaks of its purpose as an introduction to a world the two artists have created.

Vapors follows as the second track and it introduces a new energy to the project; bringing a more hardcore, rap-heavy and competitive spirit to the fore. On this joint, Loux Artiste is encouraged by MorseKode’s production to not hold back with his raps and showcase his top-tier skills, flexing his knack for playing with words and figures of speech. The third track is titled Eleanor, where Loux Artiste introduces themes of self-reflection, fatherhood, love and modern manhood. On Eleanor, he touches on his love life as he raps candidly about his significant other, the role that she plays and the ups and downs of their relationship. He follows Eleanor up with Offspring Pt. 1 featuring Vic, where he zones in on his relationship with his son.

image of morsekode, speeka thapelo & loux artiste
Image credit: Facebook. Soweto’s new Hip Hop fraternity.

The last song on the project is named after the producer, MorseKode, and on this track Loux Artiste flexes his god-tier status as he raps his heart out and closes the project. In the current hip hop climate in South Africa, The Ambience EP, comes as a breath-of-fresh-air and makes us appreciate great lyrics over great beats.

You can download the The Ambience EP here and here.

Stream The Ambience EP on YouTube below.

Culture Events Featured Music

Five Reasons Why You Should Attend This Year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival

We all know that the end of March is owned by Africa’s grandest gathering, Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Every year, for the last twenty years, a smooth transition from Summer to Autumn has happened with great festivities in the Mother City, calling on all those who have an insatiable appetite for great music, easing the mind, leaving your comfort zone and networking with like-minded people who hold similar interests. One of the great things about the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is that it has built a very strong legacy as Africa’s premier arts and culture gathering which attracts local and international crowds — and this was undoubtedly created through consistent work, disruption and innovation carried out over twenty years.

Some of greatest musicians in the world have graced the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and this year is no different; with a lineup packed with talent which is highly regarded in the international music arena.

We list five reasons why you should go to this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival event.

Legacy: 20 Year Milestone
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival started in 1999 and this marks 20 years of the event’s existence; making it a global leader in the live entertainment sector.

A well-curated lineup
The lineup for this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival caters for the for music lovers of all ages; such as Sho Madjozi, Shekinah, Alfa Mist, FKJ and Moonchild, to attract the more younger music lovers — while Don Laka, Chaka Khan and Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles appealing to the more matured music lovers. The great thing about this lineup is that the artists are world-class and could please any music head. 

Oliver Mtukudzi Commemoration
2019 started on a rather painful note as the African music fraternity lost an icon — Oliver Mtukudzi, who sadly passed on the 23rd of January. To celebrate his life and his work, Cape Town International Jazz Festival shines a light on the fallen legend. This is surely going to be an incredible sight to see.

Great energy. Great people.
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival always attracts people from all walks of life with one thing in common — a love for music. Except to see beautiful, open minded and rather fashionable creatives, techies and music heads from all walks of life.

Value for money.
The ticket prices for this event are reasonable with day passes costing R850 and R1250 for a weekend pass. Judging from quality of the artists booked to perform at this year’s event, the ticket prices are justified for this extravagant affair.

Get your day passes here.
Get your weekend passes here.

Follow The Cape Town International Jazz Festival on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Events Featured Music

Win Tickets To Kalushi Recordings’ 3 Year Celebration In Cape Town

It goes without saying that Cape Town, South Africa’s mother city, is one of the global leaders in music, fashion and film. Culture, creativity and a spirit of progression fills the air of the coastal city and forms the bedrock of what the city great — at least from a culture and art perspective. To fully appreciate what the city has done for South African urban culture, you would have to zone in on the people who are behind the movements, the scenes and the properties that often carry themes of the times  — allowing us to document these scenes and cultures. In the dance music scene in Cape Town; a culture of proactiveness has been developed and this very culture has made the city a great hub which the world marks as a mecca for innovative dance music.

These movements, scenes and properties that we speak of; especially in music, have record labels at the helm of the progression. Kalushi Recordings is one of these record labels. Founded in 2015 by Rob Toca and Darren Murphy; the label has achieved and done, in short space of time, a lot for the culture — consistently releasing groundbreaking records from South Africa’s established and up-and-coming artists. They celebrate endurance, progression and growth, by curating an event which is designed to shine a light on dance music culture. The lineup for this event is exceptional and is well within the world that Kalushi Recordings has built for itself in the South African dance music scene — it features German DJ/producer Moosefly, Harmonix, SIDES and Kalushi Recordings co-founder Rob Toca.

Listen to the latest release by Kalushi Recordings titled Kalushi VA Sampler below.

Join us as we celebrate this milestone on Saturday at Reset, Cape Town. Win 1 of 2 tickets to the Kalushi Recordings 3 Year Celebration by following our social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Kalushi Recordings 3 Year Celebration - Cape Town
Come celebrate 3 years of Kalushi Recordings at Reset, Cape Town. Get your tickets at Quicket here.
Featured Music Reviews

The End of UPZ Has Come

Avi Elman, more popularly known as UPZ, first broke into the South African dance music scene in 2007 with the release of Pure Surprise — a song which a was Afro, latin and soulful house music. Pure Surprise changed the landscape of the South African house music with its fresh feel and sound; a sound was introduced and it stretched and improved the sound of the time. The man behind the would then go on to have a very successful career where he pushed the envelope of dance music in Africa, exporting his innovative sound to the world for mass consumption and enjoyment.

UPZ was born in Israel and raised in South Africa, which afforded him the opportunity to develop a multi-cultured identity through he formed the basis of his brand — a brand that would occupy a unique space in the international dance music arena. In his career as a DJ, producer and entrepreneur, he has worked with some of biggest artists in dance music in South Africa, names such as Black Coffee, Black Motion, Cueber, DJ Ganyani, Proverb and more.

image of UPZ
Image supplied.

After long and storied career, the time to let go of the UPZ brand has come. “I really enjoyed working as UPZ and have been flattered with the great responses and support received. During the past few years, however, I have been feeling personally and professionally challenged, and came to the conclusion that it is time for me to move on to other endeavors and music projects. The UPZ brand may no longer be actively around, but the music will still be there for all to listen to and hopefully enjoy. To those that truly supported and took part, thank you for the incredible journey” he says about why he is moving away from the UPZ moniker.

To celebrate and bid farewell to his 12-year-long career, UPZ releases a compilation of some of his best, biggest and most impactful songs. Released by soWHAT Records, UPZ compiles 22 songs which best reflect his career. What a beautiful farewell! We look forward to seeing what is next for Avi Elman as he will no longer be releasing new music as UPZ and is scheduled to perform his final DJ shows as UPZ this year.

Stream the Best of UPZ compilation on Apple Music.

Stream the Best of UPZ compilation on Spotify.

Stream the Best of UPZ compilation on Traxsource.