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Featured Music

Zimbabwean Artists Based In The Diaspora: WHOISMEDICATE Releases “Sorrow” Music Video

Born Lee-Roy Tinashe Munemo, WHOISMEDICATE is one of the many upcoming Zimbabwean born artists based in the diaspora. He recently released a music video for his song entitled “Sorrow”. “The video is just to show people how beautiful nature is and that you dont need a high budget video to make a good music video” he explains the concept behind the video. “Sorrow” is  a song about heartache; when you let someone in and they butcher your heart hence “you took my heart to the grave” in the lyrics.

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Events Featured Music

MotherLand X Presents “King of the Boards: a new innovative series to shine light on producers

MotherLand X is one of eSwatini’s music label which is always pushing boundaries and elevating local artists. In the recent months they have been hosting a social Sunday event called Pop Sunday which has been well received by the youth. Since its inception, MotherLand X was founded with the main aim of shining a light on producers. “Producers are clearly undervalued all over the world yet they do most of the work behind the scenes”, Rendition (co-founder) explains MLXs background. Inspired by movements like Soulection which highlight the importance of celebrating producers and giving them the same respect as  artists. In its 5th year since inception MLX has grown in leaps and bounds and has elevated eSwatini’s music scene with some of their notable achivements being featured on a number of international projects – with the most recent being Rendition on uSanele’s mixtape, DJ Ohpis perfoming at the Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival, hosted DJ Shimza in December, unearthing new talent – Remedy (one to watch) being the most recent and countless other achievements.

MLX has grown to be a collective of not just producers but an entire spectrum of the creative industry (DJs, photographers, artists, fashion designers, videographers etc). King of the Boards is a new concept show in collaboration with Deck Life Events. The event is called Social Saturday Beer Garden spear-headed by DJ Mkay and it will be hosted at the Albert Millin. With an outdoor upmarket setting, young and diverse crowd this is set to be one of the popular events in the capital city. King of the Boards will be a segment which will feature two local producers to compete against each other. “The challenge to the producers is to captivate a crowd of over 500 people with their beats with the crowd deciding on the eventually winner” Rendition explains the concept. “The battle will be broken down into three rounds, with each producer playing a beat for 2 minutes per round and then the crowd decides on the winner” he elaborates. Each round will test the producers ability to grab the crowds attention considering three different elements.

image of motherland x
Image credit: Motherland X

This new initiative will profile the kingdoms hidden talent and give producers the same platform and respect that artist get. Performances and deejay sets have been scheduled in between the rounds to keep the crowd entertained. With the ultimate goal of this concept is giving bedroom/budding producers the chance to showcase their talent and open doors for mentorship or even collaborations.

 

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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 Interviews Music Reviews

A Conversation With The Beats & Bass Movement: The Past, The Now & The Future

Dance music culture plays a very important role in the youth culture in the kingdom of eSwatini. Over the years, the culture has provided many young people from the small country avenues through which they can use to express themselves and move the world. The house music scene in the country is one of the strongest in the African continent and as small as it may be, it has a massive influence on the innovation of the scene with the talent and ideas it produces. Driven by a spirit of unity and community, the scene is shaping the sounds of tomorrow. For the scene to be where it is (a healthy space which allows for growth), it needed passionate purveyors of culture in the form of movements and collectives that all have a vision of promoting progression. The Beats & Bass Movement is one of such movement and they have a fascinating story, view of life and music, and passion. We spoke to them to find out more about what their movement is about, their plans and vision.

For those who aren’t familiar with who you are what you can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Beats & Bass is a duo consisting of Khethumenzi Mthande aka “Katz” and Banzi Kunene aka “Bsquared” who are equally responsible for managing the podcast. The two first met back in 2013/14 within the music scene in Swaziland. In 2017, Beats and Bass published its first podcast, and have done so monthly till present day. Over the few years, the pair has established a more mature following from the type of music they play. This growth has resulted in a new partnership with Jelele FM — an online radio station. The Beats & Bass Movement aims to continuously improve its branding and marketing to keep their supporters exultant. Access to the podcast is via the podcast link or streaming via www.jelele.com.

What were the events that lead up to the the establishment of The Beats & Bass Movement?
The Beats & Bass Movement was formed in 2016 by two well-known eSwatini spinners, Sphelele Mhlanga aka “Jazzinsoul” of Ol’tymers Sessions and Khethumenzi Mthande and has been active since then till to date. A popular Shisanyama around Mbabane called Solanis had started hosting strictly deep and soulful house sessions every Saturdays. With the growth of the sessions, more followers wanted to access to the recorded sets of the sessions. At the time, there were no platforms to share the live mixes/sets, so that gave us an idea to create Beats & Bass Movement.

In 2017, the live sessions come to an end and we shifted our focus to mixtapes for the podcast. The plan was to release two main mixtapes and a guest mix from spinners of our choice who relate to the kind of sound we liked. Jazzinsoul moved on and focused on Ol’tymers Sessions. Bsquared was first introduced to the movement as a guest. He made his first mixtape and with its success, we requested a second mixtape a few months later. He has since fully joined the movement as an equal partner. So working together made sense
and was seamless as we knew each other from the past and he has been active with the show from the 7th show to date.

What inspired the movement to support the fusion of all the vast genres in the music culture through your sound and mixes?
Growing up, we were both exposed to a huge variety of music from soul, jazz, gospel, kwaito and R&B, which made our musical palate more balanced. As we got older and started playing, we fell in love with the deep and soulful house sound. Our musical influence also came from DJs who got invited to play in eSwatini for festivals, to name a few, the likes of Vinny da Vinci, Christos, Rocco, Fresh etc. As the internet became more accessible, we got the opportunity to listen to other podcasts like the Deeper Shades of House by Lars Behrenroth. It therefore became easier to start a podcast after we had seen others successfully doing it.
Eswatini has a small deep house community, and in it, people have different tastes. Our podcast has therefore been structured in a way to cover the diverse music culture. B’squared believed that by giving the masses mixtapes with music people are yet to know will help us became the go to podcast for listeners who want to enjoy upcoming deep house music. So every month, we record mixtapes with new music that we found interesting and that people will start enjoying in a month or two in the club scene. This also give us enough time to compile more good music to put out there to the people.

Tell us a bit about the selection process for deciding on what your artistic approach is in pursuing new ideas and concepts especially with regards to having guest mixes?
Well, we don’t have a solid rigid selection process on guests but the sound is our main basic influence. Our aim is to stay true to ourselves as well as the movements tradition of being a strictly deep and soulful house publisher. But now and then we accommodate sub genres like bossa nova, neo soul, trip hop and electronica thus the guest DJs’ style of play is the first most important factor in the guest mix selection process. We also have a platform where music lovers can make submissions for their mixtapes. This platform is via an open email address which is beatsandbassmovement@gmail.com. So far, we have published a few mistapes coming from this platform, mostly we approach the DJs ourselves. These are individuals who inspire us with the type of sound they play and is also a great way for us to learn from them. We recently started to exploring the idea of working with other podcasters. By doing so, this allows us to extend our brand as we also do guest mixes for other shows. The most recent relationship was with a duo based in Pretoria by the name Lovesouldeep Experience.

image of beats & bass dj
Image supplied.

Who would you love to collaborate with on future projects both nationally and internationally?
The Antidote Music would be our nationally selection. This music label has produced amazing talent, the likes of !Sooks, Mzwaa, Secret Souls who are doing well locally and across the borders. Working with them would be a blessing as we can learn a thing or two from their experience. They have been to more gigs and made good networks with other people we would love to work with in the near future. For now, our international selection is too colourful to mention, we would like to work with a lot of guys. But our main concentration for now is us. We still want to keep working hard, learn to stay consistent and creative, and with that, see where the growth process leads us. Maybe we might stand a chance to penetrate the industry and present our music taste to the world. For a mid-term milestone, a feature on BestBeats.tv would hurt. And yes off course, other radio stations in South Africa to play some of our mixtapes. Maybe one day we would host our own radio programme as part of the growth process.

What do you feel is unknown to the general public about the music industry and culture of Swaziland? What do you want to make people aware of in relation to the spaces you are moving in?
Eswatini is a very small nation. In saying so, the number of places where one can go out for fun are a handful, thus making the deep house community small. We do not have a lot of joints that are strictly for deep house, as a result, getting paying gigs is a hustle as most of these establishments opt for resident DJs. We believe the country has a great potential, music wise. We need to broaden our creativity to come up with crazy ideas and new concepts that can benefit both the artists and fans. We have started collaborating with other fellow DJs. This idea behind that is to create unity and the support structure when each of us host events. The unity amongst ourselves will be very vital in order for us to grow the following of the genre. With time, our network will be massive and we can expand and venture into other concepts.

image of beats & bass dj
Image supplied.

Could you briefly describe your DJing process and how your music evolved since you first started playing together?
[Katz]: As Katz, I fully began playing in 2014 after learning to use CDJs. From there on, I started playing in various clubs within the kingdom with other fellow DJs. I used to play dance music at the time. With time, I eventually found a music genre I felt comfortable listening and playing which is deep and soulful house. A few years later, I became a resident DJ at Solanis Shisanyama for 3 years playing strictly deep and soulful house. This is the very same place I met Bsquared for the first time, as previously mention. At the time he was based in Pretoria.

[B’Squared]: My journey began back in 2008 when I went to varsity in Jozi. I had a few friends who loved house, and so I started my house collection. At the time I wasn’t playing, just a few indoor parties with friends, nothing major. Fast track to 2010, I moved back to Eswatini, bought my first PA system and that’s where it all began. Back then where I came from, a DJ would play the whole night. I used to play deep house, commercial house, old school house, kwaito etc. A few years later I moved back to GP, that’s when I decided to only focus on soulful and deep house. As and when I visit home, I would get a chance to play. This is how
Katz and I met. Ever since we’ve know each other, we have always kept it true and loyal to deep house.

We believe in taking time to do anything really. We spend days buying new music online and listening to it. Tracks selection for any mixtape plays an import role when making your final recording. More time is spent on creating combinations of tracks that work together to produce the kind of sound you hope to achieve. It’s like telling a story, your selecting needs to project the way you feel and how you want your audience to feel when they listen to your mixtape and live sets. Therefore, having sufficient music helps ease the job of selecting what to play.

image of beats & bass dj
Image supplied.

What are the dynamics of your relationship and how does this influence your art?
We are friends first, who respect each other as individuals and so happen to love the sound we both play. To maintain the balance, we believe in being open minded and having proper communication with no filters and if the situation allows so that we can move on to our shared vision. What keeps us grounded is always reminding each other of the fact that music is greater than both of us combined. So we try to be as humble and dedicated to being better than the previous day. This helps us to focus on the music and keeping our followers pleased. Happy followers give us confidence to explore more and keep us excited to want to
present the next sound.

Has branching out into clothing impacted your brand, if so in what way?
Yes, branching out into clothing has been a positive impact. This marketing tool has helped us positively reach more people who are interested in the Beats & Bass Movement. Their continued support has pushed us into broadening the merchandise designs for people to choose from. To help spread the word to other people, our latest designs incorporates our podcast link at the back of the t-shirts. Curious people not familiar with the movement will use that as an opportunity to check us out.

What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
To keep our Podcast going and keep working with many DJs who offer us guest mixtapes. We are also working towards doing a minor tour in Durban in Aug/September. From there, we join our musical brothers Lovesouldeep for their anniversary at House 22 in October. The biggest thing we looking forward to is hosting our second event for the year in November with a few international guests.

Follow the Beats & Bass Movement on Facebook.

Categories
Featured Interviews Music

Everything Connects Symmetrically In The Life of !Sooks

Dance music in Southern Africa is an undisputed force in the world. Teeming with talent, the region is consistent in developing new innovative sounds, genres and in introducing new ideas in entertainment and creative culture. When speaking of dance music, especially deep house music, you cannot not make mention of the kingdom of eSwatini and the talent that the country produces. !Sooks (real name Sukoluhle Dlamini) is one such talents, highly respected producer and DJ in the underground, who is taking the house music scene in Southern Africa by storm. He just recently released his debut album, Symmetry, through legendary South African label House Afrika and we got a great opportunity to speak to him ahead of his album launch happening on the 5th of July at Jazzuelle’s Darkie Disco event at Kitcheners. 

Your come up and your story is incredibly inspirational. You have made quite a number of strides in your career. How has the journey been so far?
It’s been wonderful, filled with lessons and blessings also, but more than anything I’m just taking it one day a time.

The music industry presents a lot of challenges for young artists coming into the game. How do you stay rooted in your identity, stay true to your values and your sound/art?
It’s not easy man, I guess you just have to focus on your goals and what you want to achieve because it’s so easy to get side tracked. But knowing what you want to achieve makes it slightly easier.

Your fanbase is growing rapidly in Southern Africa and there is no doubt that your music is reaching international audiences. Is this something that you imagined would happen when you started producing music?
Honestly, nope! I had no idea! I was just following my heart and doing what I love but it’s good to know that people relate with the music. It’s a good feeling.

You are based in the kingdom of eSwatini and you frequent South Africa a lot as part of your career. Do you feel pressured to relocate from home to South Africa for your career?
Hmm, pressure? Not really. I don’t want to make any rushed decisions. But the thought crosses my mind every now and then, so I guess time will tell.

You recently released your debut album titled Symmetry through the legendary South
African dance music label, House Afrika, which is a huge achievement. Please tell us how that project came about and how it got picked up by the legendary label.
Thank you. Well, this project has been in the works since late last year after I released the “Viking EP” on Stay True Sounds. I kept it to myself (like I always do with most things haha) luckily at that time I had just met Tim White, and I was already in talks with Vinny Da Vinci about dropping something on House Afrika so it was meant to be I guess.

image of !sooks
Image credit: Facebook

You featured some of the most innovative producers and artists on your album such as
Thoko Namuya, Avi Subban, Pierre Johnson, Secret Souls and Krippsoulisc. What was the creative process for the project?
I wanted to work with some of the most creative artists I know in SA. I still have a few on my list, so who knows maybe I’ll drop another album soon [laughs]. I just wanted to work with artists who would compliment my style very well and I think they did just that. All of the collabs were exceptional.

How important is chemistry when collaborating with people? Were the collaborations
organic or in some cases you may have had an idea and thought of someone? How did it
happen in your case?
It is everything! In my case, synergy played a huge role in these collabs. We spent over two months working on ‘Blue’ with Thoko, just because we wanted to get that perfect sound for the intro and I think we got just that! All thanks to my lovely superstar! ‘Oasis‘, ‘Everything‘, ‘W.D.V‘ & ‘PX2‘ are also special collabs because these guys have different styles and it was so much fun trying to get that right balance of styles. I think we did ‘Oasis‘ in a couple of weeks (Yes, Avi is a Beeeast), Px2 also took us a week or two and ‘Everything’ was done in a few days as well. I don’t have to mention how much I love working with the amigos Secret Souls! The only thing that takes up a lot of time is the mixing and deciding on arrangements and all that. Otherwise working with these guys was so much fun and I’d do it again if i could! I probably will.

The wolf has been unleashed: !Sooks is eSwatini’s very own musical Einstein. 

When making this album, did you have a particular goal in mind or a message that you
wanted music lovers to get from your debut on House Afrika?
Well, this album is basically a fusion of the old and the new. Symmetry.

Mzansi House Vol. 9 is currently number one on the iTunes. That is a monumental
achievement. What does that mean for your career?
It means a lot to me. It’s really great to know that people actually see value in supporting us. I genuinely appreciate the support and for as long as I’m alive I will continue delivering.

Now that you have released the album, what are some of the plans that are in the pipeline for your brand? Do you have any gigs that are coming up?
I’m just focused on growing the brand, making more music and doing a whole lot more experimental stuff. I can’t reveal much right now but there’s still a lot people can expect later on in the year. There’s so many gigs I don’t know how I’ll survive [laughs]!

image of !sooks
!Sooks & Vinny Da Vinci. Image credit: Facebook

Where can people buy the album online and in the stores?
The album is available in all Musica outlets in South Africa and online.

In closing, where can people reach you online to connect, book you or just simply support you?
For bookings, you can email me at sukudlmn@gmail.com. On social media, you can follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Stream/Listen to Symmetry below.

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Featured Music Reviews Uncategorized

Mzwaa Doesn’t Miss A Beat, He Is Right On Time

On the 20th of May eSwatini born and raised musician, Mzwaa, released his highly anticipated EP titled Right On Time. Designed, crafted and structured as his official introduction to the game; determined to leave an impression and the fact that it is released by new label venture, Antidote Indie, made the EP ever more special with its timing sublime.

The contents of the project are telling and contain perspectives, feelings and ideas of a Swazi youth that is hell-bent on getting his hands on anything he set his eyes on and in the same breath, everything that the world said he was not going to get. He raps, he sings and effortlessly displays an ease only seen in those who are rooted in their purpose, comfortable in their skin and confident in their abilities. It is heard in how Mzwaa trusts his voice to deliver messages that his peers in his country and the world beyond his country’s border can relate to. It is quite clear that for Mzwaa to reach this level of confidence and ability, he had to put in his ten thousand hours making the timing ever more special — it took him time to get where he is and the release of his comes at a perfect time in his life, when he is ready.

image of mzwaa
Image credit: Will Brown Photography

Six tracks of beautifully produced songs featuring notable talents such as Velemseni and Young Grixxly as well production from Vuma, Brainz and Alexandros Hatzinikolaou.

Stream the Right On Time EP below.

Categories
Featured Interviews Music

Meet Black With White Stripes: Zimbabwean Born Duo With A Diverse International Sound

Black With White Stripes is a two-man group founded by brothers, Nkosilathi Dube and Thamsanqa Dube. Born in Zimbabwe, the two brothers have; over the years, positioned themselves as innovators that are designing and crafting the new African sound — a sound which the two brothers developed as a result of a deep-rooted love for music. With a family that helped them nurture their talents, the duo has gone into the music game with sheer confidence, certainty and drive; allowing them to break through in different markets in the world.

Having lived in a number of cities such as Maputo, Johannesburg, Dubai and now Cape Town, Black With White Stripes has adopted an artistic approach which allows them to be easily influenced by their surroundings and to be more open to embracing other cultures. This is also seen in their willingness to fuse different sounds from different regions of the world, such as jazz, neo-soul, hip and afro-pop. We recently caught up with them to get more insight into who they are, their music and their future plans. 

What is the origin of the name Black with White Stripes? What significance does it have in your journey in music?
The name is a spin on our last name which translates to Zebra, an animal we often argue is black with white stripes. The name always reminds us to remain unique in the ways we earn our stripes as musicians, because like all Zebras their stripes are different.

What are some of earliest and fondest music-related memories which you can say sparked your love and interest in music?
Our mother was a musician and she sang all the time. We remember every morning we would hear her singing and we would often find ourselves singing along. Before we knew it we were making music of our own. From Nkosi playing keys to me and Wammy producing.

Seeing that you are dynamic and gifted artists who happen to be brothers, what inspired you guys to make music together rather than taking the solo route?
Nkosi: We had started working on music on our own and with that we were picking up uniques skills but when we worked on something together we found that would be create something we wouldn’t have been able to as individuals. Our dad came up with the idea for us to try something together initially because I was playing and learning several instruments while Wammy was learning how to engineer songs, mix them and produce. Fortunately our dad’s vision worked out because our skills complimented each other.

Your sound is very unique as it is a fusion of the new and the old. When it comes to creating music, who are some of your inspirations? The people who constantly inspire you to push boundaries.
Cory Henry, J Dilla, Robert Glasper, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Leon Bridges and Quincy Jones. The list is really long but those are definitely the most influential.

Let’s talk about your creative process for a minute. If I were to sit in on one of your sessions, what can I expect to see or hear?
Lots of freestyling and joking around to the ideas we might have. Most of the songs we have made have started where we have a loop going in the session or a random sample and we just say what comes to mind first. We make sure we are as comfortable as possible so we can create what feels right. Then we hype each other up when we start writing and exchanging ideas before recording them. On rare occasions we might create a beat separately and send them to each other but even then the writing process is in the same space.

image of Black With White Stripes
Image supplied.

How much do your surroundings influence your creative process? You guys have lived in different cities and you’re now based in Cape Town. Does location have an impact in how you create?
Yes it does because the music we make is dependent on our lives. Where we are often impacts our lives positively and negatively. From people we meet to sunsets in a city. Which is why we push to travel as often as we can to learn from other cultures and reflect on how those cultures influence us.

What is your view on collaboration? For Black With White Stripes to exist, collaboration has to happen. How often do you guys leave your comfort zone to collaborate with other artists? 
Collaboration is important we are a result of collaborating and like when we decided to work together we brought different skills. Often we keep an eye out for other artists we could work with. Sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

What can we expect from you music-wise? Are you guys dropping any new music soon?
Yes you can expect plenty of new music. We have been working every single day since releasing ‘Bad lil Vibe’.

What can people expect from you guys this year?
New music and for the people that have known us or are getting to know us, plenty of growth as artists.

Where can we connect with you online?
On Instagram we’re @blackwith_whitestripes and on Twitter we’re @BlackwWhiteS.

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Events Featured Interviews Music

#BringYourFire Interviews: We Speak to eSwatini Born & Bred Singer-Songwriter, Nana, Ahead of MTN Bushfire Festival

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.

We recently caught up with Msunduza, Kingdom of eSwatini, born artist — Nana Magagula. Known for her distinct Afro Soul sound, Nana Magagula has raised her home country’s flag high for over decade; plying her trade as a singer-songwriter and a performer. With a powerful voice and a great energy, she is shaping contemporary African soul music. We got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch up with her. 

Describe your gift of making and artistry music in 5 words.
I stand at the center of the universe, marvel at the colours of sound emerging from me (5 words is too hard, this is who I am).

What is the one thing, lesson or experience do you want people to get from your music?
It is possible to sing along and decide to change careers. A divine intervention.

If you weren’t in music, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Planning to be in music.

image of nana magagula
Image supplied.


What keeps you inspired to make music and what are some of the challenges you continually face in your journey in music?
I paint, I draw, and I love color, the milky-way just a distance above, I play God, faith of a mustard seed. I grow, without any obstacles but lessons.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Bushfire Festival?
Bushfire is a nice people gig, good music, good stalls, good looking people, you can’t go wrong. That simple. A really great ambience that is well blended in harmony with nature and the people, never over the top. We can breathe, and that is good.

What can Bushfire Festival attendees expect from your set this year?
Word turned into sound. Sound into music. Word must turn into sound, sound becoming music, enveloping my audience in blissful teaching. I must grow with them a divine intervention as they sing along, a thought for the first time planted in them; they will want to change careers.

 

Categories
Featured Interviews Music

Parcel shares insight on his well delivered afro-house project, The Parcel EP, and his musical journey

Born in the capital city of the kingdom of eSwatini, Parcel is the latest musical sensation to take the kingdoms entertainment scene by storm. The Parcel EP is a four track afro-tech infused  with hypnotic melodies and basslines accompanied by breathtaking siSwati vocals on two songs. Solid debut release from the lad, one that will be stuck in your playlist for a while . We had a chance to chat with Parcel and this is how it went.

Briefly tell us about Parcel?
My birth name is Sibusiso Bongani Zungu from Mbabane, Swaziland. I’m a dance music DJ/Producer. I fell in love with music at a very young age, I grew up listening to Gospel, Kwaito and rnb music and later on I started singing in a local church choir. That’s where I got a bit knowledge about music and that’s where I started exploring music more. I found house music most interesting and in 2015 I started music production using FL Studio.

You recently released an EP briefly tell us about the EP? What/who inspired it?
The EP is called The Parcel , it consist of 4 songs, 2 vocal tracks, Ngiyatifela Ngawe an afro house song with siSwati lyrics written by myself and Temantungwa who is also on the vocal on the song. Then Sive Esimnyama its afro tech house song featuring Nkosi Nda a Zimbabwean born vocalist. The other two tracks are instrumentals which is Bongani that has also got the afro tech vibe and lastly the special one, The Parcel, its down tempo and has more of a deep house vibe to it. The inspiration behind the whole EP is love. The love of music, people and life.

Tell us about the concept behind the EP and who you worked with?
As we all know, a parcel is a package that is to be delivered. And in this case I wanted to deliver music to the world. And it also made sense because Parcel is my stage name, a childhood nickname. I worked with Temantungwa Ndlangamandla, Nkosi Nda and Sandile Nkambule who is the brains behind Sive Esimnyama.

How has the response been?
The response is positive and overwhelming. I’ve been getting so much love from people all over the world.

What or who inspires your music?
My inspiration is from legendary dance music icons such as Manoo, Black Coffee, Djeff Afrozila, and Da Capo.

image of parcel dj

Take us through your song making process?
Ngiyatifela ngawe: I was at the studio this other day and a friend of mine came through, he was with Temantungwa, he introduced me to her, told me she is a pretty good singer and luckily I was looking for one. Seeing that we were both free that day and the studio was available, we decided to work on something, we recorded a very short song for a test and she passed with flying colours. I made her listen to some more beats I had and she chose the beat for “Ngiyatifela Ngawe”. I was excited because I had been looking for a vocalist for that beat and her voice was perfect. She wrote verse and I wrote the chorus and also created the tune for the chorus and Ngiyatifela Ngawe was born.

Bongani: Initially, this one had vocals on it. I was working on a remix for some friend of mine, and one day I was just listening to the instrumental of the remix and while I was listening, my flat-mate started shouting out some crazy chants. I didn’t understand what he was saying but I really liked it and we recorded them.

Sive esimnyama: It was written by Sandile Nkambule and he was supposed to sing it but we were at Nkosi Nda’s place for some input as he’s an experienced then he fell in love with the song and we went with him because we felt his voice was most fitting. The next morning we went straight to the studio, we recorded the song and it was done.

The Parcel: I was just having fun with the vocals to Star Boy by The Weeknd and in the process I came up with a chord progression I really loved. I uploaded the Star Boy bootleg on my soundcloud early last year to get feedback from people. While I was working the EP I went back to my old stuff and I came across it. I had forgotten about it but when I heard it again I knew this had to be on the EP. I removed the vocals and did some modifications then boom, there was The Parcel.

Going forward in 2019 what can we expect from you?
A lot of music, visuals and collaborations.

Any notable collaborations?
I have my finger crossed for some big ones this year but I don’t want to jinx it. You’ll just have to wait and see.

Are you available for collaborations?
100% available. Producers, singers and musicians at large can get in touch via social media or via email.

 

image of parcel dj
Image source: Instagram


Any notable performances?
I’m hoping the success of the EP can open up platforms for me to showcase my craft.

What can we expect from you the latter part of the year?
I want to release at least 3 EPs before the end of the year.

Where can fans-to be gain access to your music?
My music is available on iTunes/Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Traxsource, the list is endless. This link gives easy access to all stores and streaming sites: http://smarturl.it/TheParcelEP

You can stay updated with my music via my social pages as well:
Facebook Profile – Manzini Parcel Sibusiso
Facebook Page – @djParcel
Instagram : parceldj_sd

Stream The Parcel EP on Apple Music below.

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Featured Music Reviews

ZiyawakaZitha Gives You All Area Access Into A World of Indigenous Swazi Dance Music

Eswatini born and raised sound engineer and producer, ZiyawakaZitha, is a seasoned Southern African music industry professional. Having started his journey in music in 2001 as a young sound engineer; he quickly transitioned into the production world as he sharpened up his skills as a keyboardist and drummer. This shift to production opened up more opportunities for him in the music industry as time went, gaining other professional titles such as vocal couch, music directorship for live event, and this further cemented him as a businessman to look out for in Southern Africa.

With just a few years shy of two decades working in the music industry in different capacities; ZiyawakaZitha has helped shaped the music scene in the Kingdom of eSwatini as we know it, helping artists and producers develop signature sounds that can export to other regions. Eighteen years after he first enter the game, he finally releases his first debut EP titled ‘All Area Access’ — an offering which comes as a result of time, experience and a sublime artistry. On this EP, ZiyawakaZitha lives up to his to name as the body of work is a sonic experience which compels you to dance, let loose and be completely consumed by the music.

image of all area access ep
Artwork of the All Area Access EP by ZiyawakaZitha.

Fusing indigenous Swazi folk music with dance music, ZiyawakaZitha displays production craftsmanship in the composition of every track of the EP — he plays in a creative territory which many have not ventured into which speaks to the innovation which the EP carries. The first track, Asambe mntfwanami, featuring Swazi Soul artist, Bholoja, offers the listener an opportunity to take a deep dive into traditional swazi folk music but delivered to you in a very current way; which drum patterns more common in today’s electronic dance music. The second track titled ‘My Help’ is an energy filled six-minuter which is guaranteed to set dance floors alight.

Mabelengwe featuring breakout Swazi singer-songwriter, Sands, is another huge track which sees storytelling take the forefront on groove-centered production pushes the limits of afro house. The fourth track, Mantentelazane, is a cool yet hard-hitting track which you can play if you want lift your mood up — perfect for starting your day with a mindset of winning and attracting good vibes. The last song on EP features highly respected, accomplished and talented singer-songwriter, Velemseni, and it is called ibhasi — a beautiful song about almost missing her bus to Mbabane. Velemseni provides insight into the happenings before she boards her bus and questions herself why she didn’t prepare properly a day before for her trip. She also beautifully depicts the terrain and sights as she journeys and prepares to go on this trip; giving the listener a glimpse of the time of day. Beautiful song and a beautiful way to end this incredible project off.  The All Area Access EP is one of those projects that are timeless, progressive and representative of culture of people that offer the world so much artistically.

The EP being released by respected dance music label, Antidote Music, makes this release even more special as who else would be fit to release such a quality body of work which is deeply homegrown. Now that’s beautiful and represents ownership. The Swazi culture is beautifully captured and represented.

Stream the All Area Access EP on Apple Music below.

Stream the All Area Access EP on Traxsource below.

Stream the All Area Access EP Mini Mix below.

Follow ZiyawakaZitha on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.