Alsarah is a Sudanese born singer-songwriter and ethnomusicologist.
Alsarah & The Nubatones was born out of many dinner conversations between Alsarah between Alsarah and Rami El Aasser about Nubian ‘Songs Of Return’, modern migration patterns and the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt. Under the leadership of Alsarah and with a common love for the richness of pentatonic sounds their sound grew into what they have dubbed ‘East-African Retro-Pop’. Signed to Wonderwheel Recordings, their debut album ‘Silt’ was released to international acclaim in 2014 and their sophomore release ‘Manara’ topped the ‘2016 Best of Lists’.
Alsarah’s star quality and expressive live performances with her quartet, The Nubatones, have been steadily amassing fans including The Roots’ Questlove with their spellbinding and eclectic East African retro-pop.
“Alsarah & The Nubatones unlock African past in ‘Soukara’ video” – Spin
“Alsarah, the new star of Nubian Pop “ – The Guardian
"The music she's created in the U.S borrows the scintillating plyrythms and snaking melodies of Sudan, but she and her sharp band energize it with dashes of funk and hip hop, finding clear pathways from Nubia to New York."Chicago Reader
"Manara features original content and serves as a contemporary look at Alsarah's world now." – The Fader
"The beauty of the artists and the natural world in the perfect harmony." – Afropunk
"In contemplative ballads or springy, danceable tunes, her music was transparent."The New York Times
“The entire album is thoughtfully composed, tempos change and bridges emerge just as songs might start to sound repetitive (they don’t). Unlike a lot of ‘diaspora albums’, nothing about Silt feels gimmicky. There are some gorgeous interludes between tracks and a few worthwhile remixes tacked on at the end” – Beacon Reader
Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa Bookings via Akum Agency
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Alsarah & The Nubatones - Ya Watan [Official Video]
Alsarah & The Nubatones - Habibi Taal [Official Video]
Alsarah & The Nubatones - 3roos Elneel [Official Video]
Alsarah & The Nubatones - Soukura [Official Video]
Alsarah & The Nubatones: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
From the mountains of Namaacha, in Mozambique, comes one of the most relevant and poignant MCs of Southern Africa. Azagaia is revolutionary, political and an avid critic of the Mozambican government. He has been censored, boycotted and even he was imprisoned on false drug charges. But the fact is that he is the voice of the young generation and respected all over the country. The Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone called him a “hero of the people” and in many ways he is the only voice of opposition.
His latest single “MIR - Música de Intervenção Rápida” (Rapid Intervention Music) was written after the last demonstration of the veterans of war that was brutally ended by the Mozambican police. The Minister of Justice responded to the song saying that sometimes the Human Rights can be violated to protect “higher interests”.
His second album Cubaliwa is a word of the language Masena, meaning birth or being born, spoken in the central region of Mozambique, Manica and Sofala, the latter which is known as one of the cradles of the resistance in Mozambique, where names that emerged in the '60s spearheaded social organizations, and later policies, responsible for the movement that won the Independence. Cubaliwa is also a word of the language Ronga, and with a similar meaning in the languages Changana and Xitsua; means writing or it is written.
This summarises the concept of his second album, it is a call to change mentalities and the need for each Mozambican to be born again, to be more open, hard-working, to be a listener and culturally rooted, to be less corruptible, to be free from prejudice as racism, tribalism and social classicism; to be able to manage the economic resources of their country in a more human perspective and not only towards profit. This change can only happen through Education; hence the need to pick and value what is written by Mozambicans and all who contribute to the global knowledge.
Backed by the Os Cortadores de Lenha who features some of the finest musicians in the country, they lay the foundation for Azagaia’s hard-hitting lyrics and charismatic stage persona to leave the audience in raptures.
Azagaia - Minha Geração (c/ Ras Haitrm & Word Sound and Power) Official Video
Azagaia - MIR Música de Intervenção Rápida
Azagaia - A Marcha Director's Cut
Azagaia - Minha Mesa
Azagaia - O ABC do Preconceito
Azagaia - As verdades
Azagaia - Sétimo Dia (Official Video)
Blinky Bill (Kenya)
Blinky Bill’s music is a mix of futuristic African beats meets, Funk, hip-hop, Pop, electronica and hint of jazz.
Blinky Bill released his first solo album, ‘Everyone’s Just Winging It And Other Fly Tales’, at the end of 2018. The title expresses the idea that human beings float through life doing their best – sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing – and that our existences have their share of upsets. The album features some excellent, spontaneous, productive collaborations, especially with Sampa the Great, Petite Noir and Nneka. Other guests are personalities from the Kenyan scene, such as Muthoni Drummer Queen or Sage.
No stranger to the music scene, Bill was the lead vocalist/song-writer in Kenya’s most ground breaking alternate act Just A Band. The Kenyan Musician/Producer has participated at: SXSW (2012 & 2015), One Beat Music Program (2013), Ted Global in Brazil (2014), Red Bull Music Academy Tokyo (2014), Paleo Festival in Switzerland (2016), Design Indaba in Cape Town (2017), Mama Festival in France (2018) amongst others.
What the Press has to say:
“Groove is the heart of throbbing solo debut from laidback Kenyan rapper” – MOJO
“Musician-producer Blinky Bill marches to his own beat with infectious alternative vibes…” – REDBULL
“Showdown distills the essence of the bubbling Nairobi music scene of which Bill is a mainstay” – MEAWW
Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa Bookings via Akum Agency
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Blinky Bill - Don't Worry
NO TOUCH AM - Blinky Bill ft Nneka
Blinky Bill - Showdown (Official Video) ft. MVROE, Kiwango
MITYA x Blinky Bill - ATIE
Bongeziwe Mabandla (South Africa)
Bongeziwe Mabandla has created a matchless Afro-folk sound, over which his soulful voice delivers in both Xhosa and English. Influenced by artists like Tracy Chapman, Simphiwe Dana, Jabu Khanyile and Oliver Mtukudzi, his sound has a rhythmically grass-roots vibe, while fusing elements of traditional Xhosa music, Mbaqanga, Soul, Hip-hop and Dub.
Bongeziwe has performed some of the biggest festivals in South Africa including Cape Town World Music Festival, Oppikoppi and Rocking the Daisies, as well as Sakifo Festival in Reunion and Azgo Festival in Mozambique. His debut album Umlilo, received two nominations at the South African Music Awards 2013, for Best Newcomer and Best Adult African album categories.
2014 was been a big year for Bongeziwe Mabandla with his perfect blend of urban-African folk, heartfelt lyrics and honest delivery, seeing him take to the stage in Australia at the Australasian Worldwide Music Expo and the Mullumbimby Music Festival, Germany at Africa Festival, in Paris at Festival d’lle de France, at the renowned Primavera Sound Festival in Spain, at Sukiyaki Meets the World Festival in Japan. He took part in the One Beat program in the USA, an incubator for music-based social entrepreneurship where innovative musicians from around the world launch collaborative projects designed to make a positive impact on local and global communities. At home in South Africa he has collaborated with Joss Stone and Vieux Farka Toure on their South African tours.
2015 saw Bongeziwe play extensive run of shows across the globe; including a headline spot at Bushfire Festival in Swaziland, a comprehensive Canadian tour playing Nuits d' Afrique, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Mission Folk Festival, Canmore Folk Festival and a second Australian tour including Woodford Folk Festival and Sydney Festival.
His follow up to Umlilo, titled Mangaliso (meaning “marvel” or “miracle”), is a worldclass record that confirms he’s among the most purposeful and gifted artists working in South Africa today. Among the highlights are first single, “Ndokulandela”, a hypnotic song that showcases Mabandla’s meditative, yet powerful, voice, “Bawo Wam” which carries with it the spirit of the ancient on a song built around a distinctively modern beat-heavy groove and “Khaya”, a track that reveals Mabandla’s guitarwork as among the most lyrical South Africa has produced.
Mangaliso was produced by Tiago Correia Paulo (Tumi and the Volume; 340ml) who also features, along with Mike Wright (Zebra & Giraffe), this new format has played some of the finest festivals in the region during 2017 including Sakifo Festival in Reunion Island, Zakifo Festival, Oppikoppi and Rocking the Daisies in South Africa.
Bongeziwe Mabandla - Ndibuyile ('Live' - Popsicle Studio Session)
Bongeziwe Mabandla - Yini (Live at The Lyric Theatre)
Bongeziwe Mabandla - Ndokulandela ('Live' - Popsicle Studio Session)
Dope Saint Jude
Dope Saint Jude (South Africa)
A former drag king-turned-rap kingpin and producer, Dope Saint Jude’s moment to shine was encoded in the stars by her ancestors. The Cape Town-born, queer-identifying woman of colour took her first strides into music-making at the tail-end of 2013, releasing a string of singles plus a video which led to increased visibility on the Internet.
She has steadily kept her eyes transfixed towards the future — imagining alternative narratives for marginalised groups of people (“most people explore racial oppression in hip hop, but why don't we explore gender or queerness?” she’s previously stated in an interview); creating lanes where there previously were none (her Drag King troupe BrosB4Hoes is the first documented in South Africa); and wreaking havoc on stage, from one show to the next, using her elaborate antics.
2018 was a break through year for Dope Saint Jude with her single Grrrl Like getting rave reviews across the globe and being #1 to 5FM at home in South Africa, a killer showcase at MAMA Festival and closing out the year with Afropunk Johannesburg.
What the Press has to say:
“Dope Saint Jude captures a moment in time: unapologetic, assertive and unique, her sound is just what 2018 needs.” – HUNGER
“Dope Saint Jude is the patron of South Africa’s intersectional hip hop scene.” – VICE
“Activist and aspirant academic, Saint Jude injects her lyrics with catchy, clever wordplay that both parodies and parades positions of power.” – AFROPUNK
Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa Bookings via Akum Agency
RSA/ Whatsapp: +27 64 128 2045
Moz: +258 84 433 4432
Dope Saint Jude- Grrrl Like (Official Music Video)
Dope Saint Jude - Brown Baas
Dope Saint Jude feat. O/J - The Golden Ratio (Official Music Video)
Estère (New Zealand)
Estère is a girl with an MPC she calls Lola. With Lola, Estère samples and records a mixture of bass, synth, drums, guitar, vocal harmonies, kazoo, cutlery drawers and anything else that tickles her fancy then layers the production with pulsating rhythms and evocative melodies that adhere to her own genre dubbed - Electric Blue Witch-Hop.
Onstage Estère is joined by a number of different mechanical personalities that she terms her ' machine band'. Together they create a unique high energy showcase of what happens when music mixes with the imagination.
Drawing inspiration from the evolution of reptiles, imaginary boyfriends and cultural identity amongst many other things, Estère delivers her songs with a voice that has been described as rich toned and elastic.
Acclaimed as being a one-of-a-kind performer, Estère’s reputation for exciting, playful performances has seen her open for international artists including Erykah Badu, Flume, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Aloe Blacc, Morcheeba, Baths, Ikonika, KT Tunstall and has put her on international stages in cities and festivals through-out Australia, South Korea, Denmark, New Caledonia, UK and Europe.
In April 2014, Estère released her debut self produced album which was featured on various international blogs including Afro Punk, Disco Naiveté and Portals. 2016 was a big year for Estère, with be tours of Australia, Southern Africa and Europe and the release of her first single 'Ambition'.
Estère recently released release MY DESIGN, the first half of her two-part sophomore album MY DESIGN, ON OTHER’S LIVES.
“Control Freak” is a thunderous, rhythm-led track...Attitude not only matched by the punchy composition but also Estère’s own unflinching declarations that she “knows how to be cruel.” - Rolling Stone
"Estère is stunning; an artist with a seemingly boundless imagination and talent, and a refreshing approach to music making. Breaking free of the often-insipid subject matter of popular music, she delves much, much deeper lyrically; tackling themes such as the evolution of species, the impacts and effects of technology, and our dependence upon, and relationships with, our digital technologies. Estère’s music is music that makes you think. Yet paradoxically, her voice and beats are so mesmerizing that it is almost impossible to not lose yourself in her masterfully crafted soundscapes." - Ambient Light
"One of New Zealand’s most exciting musicians is back! Wellington-based Estère, who defines her distinctive musical genre as “Electric Blue Witch-Hop,” has just dropped My Design (P1), which fuses electronic music with heavy bass and drums, creating a unique juxtapositon that falls right in line with the artist’s noted passion for defying genre. My Design is an immersive experience unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed." - AfroPunk
"With a velvet smooth voice that has already drawn comparisons with Erykah Badu (with the charm of Lianne La Havas) she sang live, sampled her own voice and spun loops through Lola... With her colourful, soulful voice and ability to produce effortlessly, Estère Dalton is definitely not an artist to sleep on." Aclaim Magazine
"Young Kiwi Estere was also a wonder. The Wellington-based singer's unique sound, style and dance moves, reminiscent of Solange or Erykah Badu, make her one to watch."The Age
After several evocative pseudonyms, Ibaaku chose his first name in Djola for this new project, marking a turning point for this multidisciplinary artist. Born in Dakar, but originally from Casamance, Ibaaku is a prolific artist; not only a producer but also a multi-instrumentalist, author, composer and radio host.
Before launching his solo career, he has worked for a few years with the best Senegalese hip-hop artists, including Xuman, Keyti, Daara J (Faada Freddy's group) and PPS. He furthermore remains a key member of the collective I-Science.
Ibaaku also collaborates regularly with other cultural and artistic fields, such as fashion, visual arts and video. The already cult record « Alien Cartoon »was born from the collaboration between the Senegalese designer Selly Raby Kane (who dressed Beyoncé among others) and Ibaaku, (who composed the music for one of her fashion shows).
Both hip-hop and experimental electro music, blended with Senegalese references and remixed local sounds, represent the major influences of the DJ’s first opus. Here and there, some great references to the Beat Scene and its leader Flying Lotus can be found. We may also think of Sun Ra as an intellectual and visual reference, notably because of the Afro-futuristic imagery proposed by the two artists.
Let yourself go on the Seneg-Alien’s space shift to measure the unique power of this cosmic being from Dakar’s nights!
What the press has to say:
“Senegalese producer Ibaaku’s “Djula Dance” is a prime example of Afrofuturism as it stands today: an eclectic, electronic opus to a fantasy alien attack.”The Fader
“The 11 songs on the Dakar-based artist’s upcoming release through Akwaaba Music play like a haywire crossing of distorted bass, thumping hip-hop inspired breakbeats and Senegalese samples. It’s a sound that’s at the same time dizzying and completely hypnotizing.” Okay Africa
“There’s a lot of electronic music coming of Africa these days, and none of it sounding quite like anything else. But a little over 6,000 miles from Capetown to the Senegal capital of Dakar, a producer named Ibaaku is turning heads with a West African variant of Afrofuturism.”Thump.Vice
“Alien Cartoon album is the mirror of Afrofuturism today, the title itself “Alien + Cartoon” remits me for the speculative imagination that most African culture should be seen by the other, the false idealization of a proper place, a proper behaviour, a proper interpretation that leads to grotesque conceptions as a response to established clichés of race, corporeality and gender. New questions addressed to the ever mutating Afrofuturism connotation that is shaping the work of contemporary artists like Ibaaku, carrier of unparalleled artistic path that start taking form when playing keys and clarinet that slowly brought him into various genres like Hip Hop, Souk, Jazz and Folk.” Lacroixx
“His kick-off single and video “Djula Dance” captures the essence of this dude’s weird like no other. Avant-garde dancing on the moon? Not something you see every day. His dreads tied up into antennas kind of makes sense once you hear it." The Culture Trip
"Its success led to the emergence of a new kind of music in Senegal, a wave set to rival variations of electronic music all over the world. We sat down with the creator multidisciplinary artist Stephen “Ibaaku” Bassene after an ethereal performance at the What Design Can Do conference in Amsterdam on 1 July.”Design Indaba
“Ibaaku, a Senegalese artist who brings the “Afro-futurism” back on the dancefloor thanks to his vertiginous afro-psychedelic music, influenced by the “black” experience. Some Sun Ra’s sci-fi going on? Nothing surprising, as we can notice the visual esthetic in his clips, tainted by a hyper-galactic mysticism.”Les Inrocks
“The Senegalese Ibaaku, and his psychedelic compositions are a total hit on the dancefloors!!!” RFI Musique
“Creative! Captivating! Innovative! Lively! Surprising! Original! Here are the most common adjectives that emerge after looking Ibaaku’s superb video “Djula Dance”. Ibaaku will certainly position himself as the key artist of a afro-pop dance movement, almost freshly new in West Africa even though it is hard to strictly define this artist. For Ibaaku himself, his music is called “afro-hypnotic electro”."Music In Africa
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IBAAKU / DJULA DANCE (OFFICIAL CLIP)
IBAAKU / Yang Fogoye
IBAAKU - Monkey Boy
IBAAKU / Live @ WDCD
Ibaaku - live Alien Cartoon @ Institut français Dakar
Inna Modja (Mali)
Inna Modja is a musician, songwriter, and visual artist from Mali. She grew up between Accra and Bamako where she was born. After learning her craft with artists like Salif Keita, and Rail Band of Bamako, she relocated to Europe where her solo career took off. With her unique style, mixing Desert Blues and Hiphop, she’s now one of the most important Malian contemporary artists on the international scene.
Following the success of her first two albums, Everyday is a New World and Love Revolution, Inna’s priority was to go back to her roots and work on a more intimate and personal album. She recorded Motel Bamako between Bamako, Paris and London, collaborating with mythical Malian artists such as Cheik-Tidiane Seck and Oumou Sangare. She succeeded in capturing her roots, as when we listen to Motel Bamako, we find ourselves in the heart of Mali.
Inna, as a « female genital mutilation » survivor, is also a very committed artist & activist for Women’s Rights. She’s been standing up against Women abuse for almost a decade now. In the song, Tombouctou she denounces the crisis in the North of Mali with the help of electro loops and guitar riffs, led by a proud rap in Bambara. The video for was directed by Marco Conti Sikic & Inna Modja and filmed in the studio of Malick Sidibe, the legendary late Malian photographer.
Motel Bamako is a voyage that mixes Sahel Blues, Electronic music and Hip-Hop.
“Strong message, poignant lyrics mixed with a flawless groove.”LES INROCKS
“Hard-hitting and sensual, deeply committed to social justice, but with a natural pop flair, the bad girl of Malian French Pop.”DAILY MIRROR
Hypnotic...sultry...vulnerable...empowering. These words come to mind when first experiencing the music of Jojo Abot, the Ghanaian singer-songwriter who is poised to capture the ears of discerning listeners worldwide with her experimental blend of electronica, afrobeat, jazz, neo-soul, house and reggae.
Creating across continents and dividing her time between Accra, Copenhagen and New York City, Jojo Abot's emergence onto the global music scene marks the genesis of an exciting new talent and sound. Presenting the best of multiple worlds, Jojo Abot's music is truly a cultural and musical sonic fusion, a perfect and growing melting pot...
JOJO ABOT is a Ghanaian artist expressing herself through music, film/photography, literature and performance art. FYFYA WOTO, meaning New Birth - New Discovery serves as the theme and title for her ongoing project exploring the SELF as a provocative tool in the discovery, exchange and evolution of the subject of IDENTITY. Through her work, Abot Investigates new forms of spirituality and expression as part of a growing global conversation around shared space and share identity that exists beyond the conventional bias of colour, race, class or sexual orientation.
Currently in NYC as a member of New Museum's incubator program, NEW INC, Abot is also on tour with a supporting slot on the incredible legend, Ms Lauryn Hill's tour with a recent show at Radio City Music Hall along with Common. Having played at iconic venues such as the Apollo Theater, Kennedy Center and Kings Theater along with Global FEST and NYC Summerstage, Abot continues to connect with the global audience. She was recently listed in “OkayAfrica’s 100 Women” (March 2017).
A true cultural fusion and genre bender in both sound and artistic expression, Jojo Abot is poised to take the world by storm with her uniquely coined AFRO-HYNO-SONIC sound and otherworldly perspective.
“Uncompromisingly original, per usual, experimental singer/songwriter and performance artist Jojo Abot has just released an eclectic two-for-one visual from her newest EP, ‘NGIWUNKULUNKUL’—a collection of songs about black empowerment in spite of and in resistance to white supremacy and racial oppression.”Afropunk (July, 2017)
“Expressing herself through music, film/photography, literature and performance art, Jojo is intensely artistic and breathes cultural and intellectual depth, an otherworldly perspective and an innate sense of edge into all of her mediums.”AFRIPOP MAG (July, 2017)
Bookings via Akum Agency Jess White E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Moz: +258 84 433 4432
RSA (Whatsapp): +27 79 162 3138
JOJO ABOT - To Li (Official Video)
JOJO ABOT- Gods Among Men + Marching (NGIWUNKULUNKULU)
JOJO ABOT - Pi Lo Lo (Official Video)
JOJO ABOT - Lom Vava (Official Video)
JOJO ABOT - Nye VeVe SeSe
Maia & the Big Sky
Maia & the Big Sky (Kenya / Australia)
Maia represents a vibrant new colour to Kenya's contemporary musical landscape. Born and raised in Nairobi, Maia's sound weaves funk, folk & jazz all sprinkled with Swahili spice. Her enigmatic shows range from solo acoustic soul, to high-energy dance-laden sets accompanied by her full band.
Her songs sing of love, life, new political horizons in Kenya, the plight of women across the world, and personal introspections of both the joy and solitude in not belonging to any single culture or community.
Maia has shared the stage with artists such as Keziah Jones, James Blunt, Habib Koite, Thandiswe, and Mafikizolo, and has toured in the USA, UK and East Africa. Festival performances have included Africa Utopia (UK), HIFA (Zimbabwe), Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar), Blankets & Wine (Kenya), Visa for Music (Morocco) and Mafrika Music Festival(NYC).
She has earned herself two African Academy Awards for her song 'Uko Wapi' and recently release her second album, Maia & The Big Sky,.
Maia is currently co-directing her first feature length documentary, The Letter, which is a musical journey into the history and culture of the Kenyan coast, exploring the issues of inter-generational conflict between young people and elders.
What the Press say:
"Maia fuses her musical influences like a lounge chameleon". -The Guardian, UK
"Her tunes bring a new sense of chill to the African music scene". -Okayafrica
"The songbird who causes ripples whenever she performs". -The Standard, Kenya
"She tells stories from deep within, be it about the tragic bomb blast in Uko Wapi or a simple feel good song like Guava Tree". -The Bar
Management: Chris King E: email@example.com
Bookings: Kitt Ross E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: AUS +61 450 915 341 / UK +44 7967 108831
PAWA - Maia & the Big Sky ft. Blinky Bill [Official Video]
Maia & the Big Sky - PAWA ft. Blinky Bill
Lola - Maia & The Big Sky [MUSIC VIDEO]
Maia - Pawa LIVE @ Cool Waters Jazz&Roots
Majiwa’s style is defined by syncopating soulful multilingual vocals to his rhythmic acoustic guitar. Incorporating elements of roots, reggae, jazz, the freedom of Latin rhythms, the soul of soul and the spirit of Benga into a free-flowing soulful sound.
Singer-songwriter Louis Majiwa has landed from outer space right where he needs to be, just between Memo and Julian. His rhythmic acoustic guitar style, leaking melodies between his teeth with raw caramel honey dipped vocal tones melting hearts wherever he goes.
Julian Guzman is a multi instrumental percussionist from Girardot, Colombia, specialised in Latin percussion, cajon, bongos, traditional Colombian guacharaca and guiro. With delicate and well-placed rhythms, Julian is the heartbeat of the band, sometimes a flutter, others times thunder.
Emiliano Beltzer aka Memo is a bassist and guitarist from Argentina. He picked up the bass at 18 and has never looked back. Memo has recorded and toured extensively in Argentina before relocating to Melbourne. Memo joined Majiwa adding new layers of Latin rhythms and depth to the free flowing landscape, which the band crafts on the Melbourne music scene. When not playing with Majiwa, you can catch him keeping the beat funky and soulful with acts such as Amaru Tribe, Santa Taranta, Funkalleros and the Cumbia Killers.
Either in solo or trio mode, Majiwa is a fresh new voice to keep an eye out for.
Ata Tukibaki taken from the 'Imagine' EP released in 2014.
Nonku Phiri (South Africa)
Following the release of her debut solo single, the internationally acclaimed 'Things We Do On The Weekend', Nonku Phiri has established herself as on one of the most distinctive and influential voices in South Africa’s electronic music landscape. Effortlessly moving between house, electronica, R'nB and kwaito.
She was first brought to the music industry's attention at the age of 17 courtesy of a serendipitous collaboration. She proceeded to become a sought after collaborator, working with multiple artists, spanning continents and genre spectrums. In 2015, the undeniable trajectory of her burgeoning success led to Nonku embarking on her solo career journey.
After years of travelling, performing and writing, 2018 will bare witness to the launch of her independent label 'Albino Black' along with the release of her highly anticipated EP. Nonku has reached a juncture in her career where her creative voice and perspective are both clearly defined, congruently carving a path for her most impactful musical journey to date.
What the press has to say:
“The world just got a little brighter. Nonku Phiri returns today with a new single.” - OKAYAFRICA
“South Africa's best-kept secret is being unearthed. Nonku (née Nonku Phiri) has a distinct original sound: hip-hop, R&B and house music wrapped in a delicate bow of left-field electronica.” -ESSENCE
Branko - Let Me Go (feat. Nonku Phiri & Mr. Carmack) [Official Music Video]
Sibusile Xaba (South Africa)
Charismatic guitar savant Sibusile Xaba reframes maskandi and the avant garde into his own humanist manifesto.
With a vocal style that is part dreamscaping and part ancestral invocation, Xaba divines as opposed to plainly singing. Combined with a guitar style that is rooted in expressive picking, Xaba's music shatters the confines of genre, taking only the fundamentals from mentors such as Madala Kunene and Dr Philip Tabane and imbuing these with a mythology and improvisational intensity all of his own.
His debut LP, Open Letter to Adoniah (one half of debut double album project) is a musical open letter to Sibusile Xaba’s child, Open Letter to Adoniah is an album reverent of life and its connectedness to a higher source. The music emanates from dreams revealed to guitarist Sibusile Xaba over consecutive days and was recorded by Mushroom Hour Half Hour in the Magaliesberg Mountains, just outside of Johannesburg in Winter 2016.
Maskandi, malombo, the desert blues and jazz all figure in Sibusile Xaba's expansive vocabulary, albeit through a magnetic individual filter.
What the press has to say: "This music is extraordinary" – Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio)
"Xaba's intricately fingerpicked patterns produce emotional warmth and rich texture, and he brings an abundance of heart and complete spirit commitment as he sings, laughs, declaims and weeps over the tracks" – The Wire
“Une musique bien enracinée [qui] nous laisse comme en apesanteur”. – Le Monde newspaper
“Super deep sounds on this wonderfully addictive album... Don't miss out... Don't be late Don't wait music you need.” – Jon More (Coldcut / Co-founder of Ninja Tune)
“This blew me away, punched me in the gut the minute I heard this cut”. – Anthony Valadez, KCRW Radio
Sibusile Xaba - Sibongile : Tribute to the Mother (Reprise)
Sibusile Xaba - Swaziland
The Brother Moves On
The Brother Moves On (South Africa)
The ghost inside the magic, the stranglers of an innocent idea of bringing performance art to its knees through costume, music and storytelling... The Brother Moves On have created a genre of music that is truly their own Music Of Black Origin, no one show is ever the same as their tear up the stage and captivate their audience.
The Brother Moves On [abbreviated as TBMO] is a South African performance art ensemble from Johannesburg, Gauteng. The group was founded somewhere between the years 2008 and 2010 by broad-based artist Nkululeko Mthembu and his brother Siyabonga Mthembu. TBMO began as a self-proclaimed art movement mainly of graphic and fine artists and since began incorporating instrumentalists for the live performance environment. The TMBO sound is a tradition-trouncing trans-Atlantic Afro-centric futuristically ancient fusion that jack knifes between offworld spectral dub-metal, hyperrhythmic rock psychedelia, indie-township and astro-afro-free-jazz.
Taking a cue from that other “Brother From Another Planet” Sun Ra they embrace a multi-genre, multimedia aesthetic, re-challenging hip-hop’s five pillars (MCing, DJing, B-boying and graffiti writing) into a conceptechnic performance art project that incorporates historical, political, and sociological perspectives. The band notoriety has earned them representation by The Goodman Gallery one of South Africa’s biggest commercial galleries as a performance art collective, a first for South Africa’s live music scene. Having released three DIY EP’s and two DIY albums the band are busy with their first industry album due out in 2017.
“a lively and highly expressive hybrid that spans rock, Xhosa funk, jazz, folk, electronic, dance, spoken word – all labels they hate, by the way, as labels restrict – they prefer to think of themselves as post-genre. Their music is neither black nor white, but clearly rooted in South Africa, feeding off the country's unique political history” – The Guardian UK, Siji Jabbar
“The mastery of their instruments is incredible, moments of virtuoso technical ability are accompanied by a direct connection to some sort of power higher or otherwise. A religious experience. Sacred. A culmination of well curated combinations are streamlined into a central theme or body. Inventive, one of the only bands I have ever seen or heard that truly could deserve the label of unique.“Underground Press, Nathan May
“You will be changed forever after you have witnessed the potent, political musical force and dervish spirit of The Brother Moves On live on stage.” City Press, Lloyd Gedye
“To put it plainly, The Brother Moves On represent possibly one of the most important young South African perspectives we’ve yet to hear. Their work, part musical and part performance art, confronts and soothes at the same time, never fearing the political dimensions, with a message that encourages political consciousness and authenticity. The Brother Moves On is the most important band in this country.”Platform Magazine, Andy Petersen.
The Brother Moves On - Shiyanomayini [Official Music Video]
The Brother Moves On - iMfene [Live, Sofar Johannesburg]
The Brother Moves On ft. Shabaka Hutchings - Kude Leee [Live, Sofar London]
Urban Village (South Africa)
Urban Village music encourages and motivates, entertains, and awakens cultural and traditional consciousness; it encapsulates day-to-day personal and societal experiences echoed with teachings by the elderly, bringing us back, not to be regressive but to take us back to a point where our identity reflects us and our stories.
Inspired by an innate love for the sound of music and with rhythm that flows through their bones with the same consistency as blood, the band came together in 2013 but not all at once. It all started with Lerato Lichaba, the bandleader, and one by one the four found each other, like souls that once met on the other side. Their sound can be described as a blend of folk music, Zulu rock, Xhosa funk, mbaqanga, maskandi layered with electric and funky acoustic melodies clearly rooted in South Africa.
Urban Village consists of young experiential artists from Soweto, Johannesburg: Lerato Lichaba on Guitar/Vocals, who has toured extensively with the legendary Madala Kunene as part of Forest Jam Orchestra, multi-instrumentalist Tubatsi Mpho Moloi on flute, guitar and Mbira who was an actor/dancer in the renowned musical production Umoja, Xolani “Cush” Mtshali on drums and Simangaliso “Smash” Dlamini on bass.
Often referred to as one of the hardest working bands in South Africa - they have played over 100 shows over the past two years including Oppikoppi, Basha Uhuru, Afropunk Johannesburg and Design Indaba – Urban Village released their debut release Bantu Art (EP, 2016) and are in the process of preparing to enter the studio for their debut album, to be released in 2019.
“Urban Village’s music that awakes something in you, like a light in the still of the night that creeps into the darkest corners and ignites the dark. There’s music that gives you life, triggers your mind to run wild and sets your soul free.” – JHB Live