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Featured Music Reviews

Single Review: Bakai – Under Those Trees Feat Manu Grace

Bakai are back in a big way with their new track titled ‘Under Those Trees‘. This time, they bring in the world class talent Manu Grace, to lace a touch of sultry gracefulness to take this groovy lo-fi house tune to the next level.

image of bakai under the trees
Under The Trees by Bakai Feat. Manu Grace.

Featured on powerhouse Cape Town based indie label, Kudukudu, Bakai’s atmospherically beautiful signature vibe is back with this summer banger for your face. I spent a good 20 minutes playing this track again and again just to properly soak up its brilliance. My cat ‘Socks‘ can confirm that my dance moves are average but this song is definitely not. With a music video surely on the way, this is a dreamy masterpiece you should hear on every decent radio station and pumped up loud in your local club. If not, please have a little chat to the DJ, yes?

Tell your friends and family about Bakai and Manu Grace and support these quality acts. Get your feet moving and grooving. Follow Bakai on YouTube and Facebook. Follow Manu Grace on YouTube and Facebook.

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Culture Featured Interviews Videos

Meet Karabo Moeti: Maseru-born Videographer & Cinematographer Hoisting Lesotho’s Flag High

Karabo Joseph Moeti is an aspiring young videographer and cinematographer born in Maseru, Lesotho. The  3rd year business administration student is determined to make his mark in this industry and highlighting creative treasure that exist in the nation of Lesotho. His latest video, Phases Of The Moon, is a three-minute montage with the focal point being overcoming. “We all go through issues in life and this piece is a reminder of how mentally strong we have to learn to be in order to overcome“ he explains  about the video. “It is also important for us to acknowledge our sadness when it occurs. Your sadness leads to creativity “, he elaborates. I had a chat with Karabo to find out more about his journey.

What motivated you to start a YouTube channel?
I started my YouTube channel because I watch a lot of youtube videos in my spare time and one day I made a realisation that if I put my mind into it I could really turn it into a passion and hopefully inspire others in the process.

What or who inspires you as a person?
There are many people and things that inspire me as a person and as a creator. My parents for one. I look up to them because they’ve done everything in their power to afford me the opportunities I have today. I have other Youtubers I look up to such as Casey Neistat, Peter McKinnon, KSI and many others. I also get a lot of my inspiration from architecture and nature. But most importantly my friend Retshepile who got me into video making and video editing.

image of karabo moeti
Image credit: Titos Gram.

Your subject matters differ in every video, briefly share why you took that route?
I’m still in the process of discovering myself as a creator. At the moment I feel like I can do a lot of things, but I’m yet to find that niche I’m looking for that will not only grow my channel but grow me as a person and creator.

What equipment are you currently using?
At the moment my only equipment I have is my camera (Canon 800D), A microphone and a mini tripod.

What are some of the goals or vision for your channel?
I want my channel to grow to be as big as it can possibly get. I’m really passionate about making videos and I only would do this for as long as it takes. I do not always have platforms to express myself creatively and to me making videos is a form of expression.

How has the journey been? What are some of the challenges you have encountered and how have you been able to overcome them?
The journey has been extremely difficult I’m not going to lie. It took me about a year just to get 100 subscribers, but obviously this may differ depending on the kind of content you’re creating. For me it has been extremely challenging. I have school and I do not always have the motivation to put myself out there. Coming from a smaller country such as Lesotho or eSwatini will also have its own challenges. It is not easy to gain access to the global market and really find your niche or rather your target market. It is also not easy to find a large audience that can commit to the content I’m creating. At the moment I cannot say I have overcome these challenges but I’m hoping that as long as I keep creating hopefully doors will eventually open. Even if it takes years. This is something I love doing and I will keep doing it.

What can we expect from the channel in the near future?
Growth. The channel keeps growing and I keep growing as a content creator. As long as I have breath in my lungs I’ll keep on creating. Do not expect the same kind of content though. I’m constantly changing and that will inevitably be translated in the content I create.

Follow Karabo Moeti on Instagram here. Feature image credit goes to Abuti Tony.

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Featured Music Music Industry Insights Reviews

The Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit: Positioning The Creative Industry To Be An Economic Driver

The 12th of December 2019 marked the beginning of a new dawn for the creative industry of the province of the rising sun. It could easily be said that the day was the beginning of a new era for the creative fraternity of South Africa. The Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit, a summit concept which is designed to be a driver and provider of economic growth, social impact and the business in the creative sector. ‘Where Art Meets Africa‘ is the summit’s tagline and that alone gives you insight into the big plans that exist for this conference — a gathering which aims to be highly localised and rooted in housing delegates from different regions in Africa and the world for three days. The summit serves as a manifestation of the great vision of Stanley Khoza, respected Mpumalanga-born creative industry leader and Vice President of AIRCO SA, to build structures and platforms to boost the creative economy of the beautiful province of Mpumalanga.

“For us as AIRCO South Africa, we have taken a clear decisive decision to make sure that the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit focuses on semi-urban and rural areas of our people. This is where a majority of our performing artists suffer. It is our responsibility to ensure that we unlock the economic power and value so that our people can benefit from the economy” says Chairperson of the AIRCO South Africa. Rooted in the objectives of why the summit exists is driving socio-economic progression which is to better the lives of those in the creative economy and those entertained by creative practitioners (the masses). More than anything, the summit is designed to be multi-disciplinary; covering the arts in its entirety from music to fashion to film and more.

image of mandla maseko
Honourable Mandla Maseko, Chairperson of the Association of Independent Record Companies South Africa.

The summit is supported by organisations such as the Gauteng Film Commission, AIRCO SA, South African Tourism, the National Lotteries Commission and the Cultural & Creative Industries Federation of South Africa and more are to be added. These organisations are not only sponsors, but they are stakeholders that have a direct vested interest in the growth of the economy of South Africa through mediums of creativity. A ripple effect of change driven by collaboration, education and social empowerment is to be expected as the bigger vision is to have more platforms like this in all South African provinces.

image of mpumalanga creative arts summit
Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit Press Conference. 12 December 2019.

“Many people don’t know that many big blockbuster films were shot in the province of Mpumalanga. Award-winning international films like Blood Diamonds were shot in the province. And most importantly, Mpumalanga is home to legendary and world-renowned artist Dr. Esther Mahlangu. This province has a lot to offer and the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit aims to encourage and promote the talent and treasure that exists in Mpumalanga” says Stanley Khoza.

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The beauty of the Mpumalanga province.

By structure; the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit is to have two days of workshopping, networking and education with the last day being a day dedicated to exploring the tourism presented by the province. Industry thought leaders, artists, business people and the masses are to gather at the Emnotweni Arena in the capital city of Mpumalanga — Mbombela. The summit is to happen every December and it promises to be a catalyst for growth in culture, the arts and business.

To get more updates on the Mpumalanga Creative Arts Summit, visit their website here. The new decade promises to bring development and change in the creative industry.

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Business Featured Music Music Industry Insights

Culture + Tech: Using Data Science To Enhance The African Creative Industry

It’s December 2019, we have reached the end of what we would think was a great decade. A decade characterised by new inventions, shifts in culture and schools of thought. The changes in society are evident and with technology enabling us to do more in an automated way, humans are buying themselves more time to think, feel and be in the moment as robots are taking over many of the tasks that we once had no choice but to do (manually). When humans have more time, they are afforded the ability of enhancing their creativity. Think about that for a moment, when we have more time, we will have the luxury of tapping into a more spiritual and creative side of the human experience, and the assumption there would be that humans will direct their focus to things that meaning.

Sure, technology has its dangers and hazards; and if powerful tech sits in the wrong hands or is created by people that do not prioritise the honest reflection of the diversity that the world carries by building inherently-biased applications, we will continue to have issues. The opportunities presented by technology, and as we enter into the new decade, are immense and with the growing human need for entertainment and creativity as we’ll have more time; adequately preparing for the creative boom by up-skilling ourselves in tech is a no-brainer. What do I mean by this? The new decade that we going into is one where most, if not all, tasks are going to be increasingly automated power by artificial intelligence. For any AI-driven tech, you often need large sets of data to and to extract value from it, we need the skills to operate the tools that will help us mine the data to deliver value. Data science, described as one of the most exciting careers of the future, is a field that is already being used for the entertainment space but the catch is that they are owned by the tech companies, your Apples, Netflix’s, Spotify’s etc. Just to break it down, data science is a described as a multidisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge from unstructured and structured data. With data science as a tool, we can build tech that matters and will provide the platforms to springboard us into future.

Very few creatives are up-skilling themselves to be future-proof because the rules of engagement of industry are changing in the new decade and we ought to be ready for it. In the new decade, to survive and deliver maximum value to industry and the masses (in my humble opinion), you need to equip yourself with the right skills. Just being a traditional journalist won’t cut it, the media industry has drastically changed in the last decade and we saw many, once glorified, media houses tank because of failure to innovate in a highly fast-paced and digital world. Just being a musician won’t be enough, there are AI-driven bots that are capable of making music, and as much as the music industry started seeing increased revenue in the last few years; the tech companies have been integral in this growth. Now don’t me wrong, I am not saying that robots are going to take over the world, but they are going to get pretty and seriously close. As artists or supporters of culture, in our various professions/interests, can be owners of the channels through which deliver value to the world. The people who will own the best tech that will deliver convenience and value quick are going to be rulers of industry. This has already started happening in a lot of industries and everyone is scrambling to beef up their tech departments to prepare for the wave that is to come. Culture changes and moves with time and it can be beautifully and perfectly merged with tech to create new experiences for humanity.

To truly and radically transform the African creative industry, we need to take the necessary steps to drive innovation in the space. We need our own tech platforms, built by creatives for creatives and the masses to enjoy; from streaming platforms to AI-driven bots that will us with discovery, the facilitation of connections and problem solving. The creative of the future is a dynamic one; they can code, build actionable business models and are insanely dope creatives. We do not have a shortage of ‘insanely dope creatives’ in the African continent (admit it, Africans are nice) but we do have a shortage of in the creative space is tech talent that will drive industry forward. Culture and tech do not have to war. They co-exist symbiotically for the goodness and the betterment of humanity. As 2020 draws nearer and nearer, let us make the means as the creative industry to build tech that we can own, that is culturally-relevant and inherently designed for our people. With ownership embedded in our minds and rooted in how we move, we can encourage consistent innovation. I mean, we do live in a continent where humanity began, let’s show the world where the real juice comes from.

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Featured Music Reviews

Raheem Kemet returns with fire single ”SomerSALT’

Legendary Durban MC and poet, Raheem Kemet is back with new music and it definitely has been worth the wait.

image of raheem kemet
Single artwork: SomerSALT by Raheem Kemet

SomerSALT‘ is the name of the new track from Raheem released through Sony Music Africa and it’s a street banger of note. If this is a taste of what’s to come then we are all in for a treat in 2020. With more music and videos on the way, you will want to turn this up real loud.

Stream SomerSALT by Raheem Kemet on Apple Music below.

You can also stream the single on all other streaming platforms.

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Featured Music Reviews

eSwatini’s rising star, Parcel, releases his Ekhaya EP under Surreal Sounds Music

Following is stellar debut release The Parcel EP, Parcel proved that he is here to stay and give us more stunning releases. He is now back with another EP, and has brought the heat once again. His afro sound is the type you can’t get enough off with some crazy yet touching bass line. On the opening song Ekhaya flexes with a lead guitar which will have you playing an invisible lead guitar and every hair in your body standing up because of this heavy and groovy bass line with a touch of shadow voices. The second song is entitled Music Is Life and is also another stunning jam fusing a number of elements but focusing more on a standout bass line, making you dance by force. This is the kind of afro house you can expect in those Ibiza parties.

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Featured Music Music Industry Insights Reviews

MTN SWAMA 2019: The Best Gospel Category Playlist

The 3rd edition of The MTN SWAMA Awards is seven days away, with voting having recently ended,
everyone is looking forward to who will be taking home one of the most prestigious awards in the kingdom of eSwatini. With a dress theme of Glitz and Glamour, the Royal Swazi Convention Centre will the place to be on the 7th of December, celebrating all of the hardworking Swati artists. In light of this, we will be curating a daily playlist that will feature every nominee from each category until the day of the event. The main aim of these playlists is to promote these artists to a wider audience and prove that they were nominated deservingly.

With this curated playlist, we feature the Best Gospel Artist category. According to Wikipedia, “gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics.

Nothando Hlophe – Uyangilelwa
Ever since her debut, Nothando Hlophe has been marvelous and a fan favorite. This song is taken off her album recorded live at the Soweto Theatre in South Africa. It talks about how God is fighting and winning battles for her.

Samu Manana – Uyasebeka
Not new to the music scene, having been with Ncwandeni Christ Ambassadors. Uyasebeka is a SiSwati song praising and thanking God for His greatness and no one like Him. She talks about God’s sovereignty, eternal reign and makes couple of bible references thus why she’s bursting into song and praising Him. This is one of those modern gospel songs with a strong message.

Linda Dlamini – Lona ngumnyaka wetfu
This is a song reassuring believers that this is the year that we are going to be remembered by the Heavens. This song was an instant hit among the gospel fraternity because of the it’s message and was on high rotation on local radio stations.

Mimzkhlu – Hallelujah
Mimzkhulu is a gospel hip hop artist who has been making waves since his debut. On this song, he features Skhubash, and they are appreciating God for being merciful and not neglecting them despite being a sinful human.

Phetsile Masilela – Imphilo yami
Imphilo Yami is another song giving thanks to the Lord, she emphasizes that her life is fully and wholly dependent on God and states how God is her comforter and shield. This is another fan favorite amongst the gospel fraternity.

Police Male Voices
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any of their songs online but having heard their music a number of times I can safely say that they are well deserving nominees and have been in the music industry for a while and continued to deliver amazing music. Watch a recent performance by Police Male Voices.