Shangaan Electro is back and it’s found a new home on Warp Records no less. Nozinja will release a 12″ of his music on the label and ‘Tsekeleke’ is the first bit of music, with a video directed by Chris Saunders in Johannesburg.
A special South African dance music event this Thursday night, October 17th presented by U:mack, Nialler9 and Choice Cuts.
Shangaan Electro (South Africa) (Honest Jons / Jiaolong)
+ Nialler9 and DJ Scope Plus screening of I Sing The Desert Blues Thursday October 17th
Doors 8pm // Tickets €15 from www.tickets.ie/umack Facebook event.
Shangaan Electro is characterised by an ultra fast-pace (180BPM and up), sped-up vocal samples, marimbas, digital beats, synths and afro-centric melodies. I’m giving away 10 single tickets to the gig. If you’d like one email “Shangaan” to [email protected] before noon on Thursday.
U:mack, Choice Cuts and Nialler9 present South African dance wizards Shangaan Electro on Thursday October 17th in The Sugar Club. More news during the week.
Syrian electronic maestro and recent Four Tet collaborator Omar Souleyman is finally doing his own Dublin show on Thursday November 7th. Support comes from Toby Kaar, tickets are €18 plus fees on sale Thursday from tickets.ie, ticketmaster.ie & outlets nationwide.
Shangaan Electro is a style of music I came across when I visited South Africa a few years ago. It’s since come out of its origins into something of a worldwide phenomenon thanks to an Honest Jons compilation, remixes, support from Damon Albarn and a live show.
The orginator of the Shangaan style (characterised by digitised marimba beats and African rhythms which rarely drops below 180 BPM) is Richard Mthethwa aka Nozinja and he’s responsible for all of the productions in the style of Shangaan Electro. His latest release comes out on Dan Snaith’s Jiaolong imprint which recently released his Daphni album. The two tracks ‘Heke Heke’ and ‘Hoza’ are good examples of largely instrumental Shangaan.
Body & Soul Festival is back in Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath for three days from June 22nd – 24th for the Summer Solstice.
The full lineup of acts are: M83, St. Vincent, Villagers, Little Dragon, John Talabot, Shangaan Electro, Gold Panda, Redinho, The Herbaliser, Emika, Tieranniesaur, Kormac’s Big Band with more TBA.
The festival also offers artisan food, a Kids garden, art installations, green crafts, holistic therapies, hot tubs and a costumed Masquerade Ball on the Saturday night.
Tickets are €99 for weekend camping, €25 for Friday add-on (no main stage acts on Friday), €30 for campervan tickets, family €99 for 1 adult and 2 kids. Combined weekend and bus tickets are €127 or a single Sunday ticket plus bus is €83.
In which I invent a new word, Aoife and I talk about Azealia Banks (that’s her above drawn by 400 Facts), why Grimes reminds me of Opus III, why Chairlift are great, Twitter fights with Zomby, Icelandic intentions and pronunciations, a load of brilliant Irish electronica and some Shangaan electro.
Since I first met up with Shangaan Electro producer Nozinja in Johannesburg in 2010, the ultra fast-paced marimba electro music was an unknown phenomenon. Since then, thanks to an Honest Jon’s compilation and lots of media coverage, Nozinja and his team of dancers and singers have toured Europe, Australia and made appearances at Damon Albarn’s Another Honest Jon’s Chopup gigs in October last year alongside Fatoumata Diawara, Flea, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Tony Allen and Theo Parrish.
Last month, two new compilations appeared on digital download sites. The clown-faced boiler suited Tshestsha Boys’ released Youtube Top Hits while Tiyiselani Vomaseve, a five-piece girl group released Tiyiselani Volume 1. All music is by Nozinja. Here’s a tune from each:
Shangaan Electro producer Nozinja has made his first remix of a Western artist of LA band Pollyn. Nozinja is joined by Nurse Matlala for a video shot in Soweto, Joburg in South Africa and the song features new vocals based on lyrics from the Pollyn song. When Nozinja was in Dublin last, he left me about 150 cassettes featuring three volumes of Shangaan Electro which I may sell €5 on his behalf with his blessing. if anyone is interesting in buying leave me a comment? I’ll drop some into Elastic Witch for sure.
Gorillaz, Mali Music, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, Deltron 3030, Monkey: Journey to the West, Doctor Dee. Damon Albarn’s career path has a multi-faceted global outlook these days. Last night’s Another Honest Jon’s Chop Up gig was just the latest chapter in Albarn’s role as cultural curator which this year has seen an charity album recorded in the Congo called DRC Music and now Rocketjuice and The Moon, his latest collaborative project with Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nigerian-born legendary drummer Tony Allen.
Honest Jon’s is the record label based in London that Albarn has a hand in and a “chop up” is Nigerian slang for a feast and what a rich one it was – both his Rocketjuice and The Moon collaborators were present in Vicar Street along with a large troupe including French-based Malian-born singer Fatoumata Diawara, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and father to eight of the ensemble Sun Ra member Phil Cohran on Space Harp, Detroit techno/house legend Theo Parrish, Soweto dance magicians Shangaan Electro, rapper M.anifest & Malian keyboardist and singer Cheick Tidiane Seck.
With such a loose and disparate large group of musicians (much like the widely-diversive Honest Jon’s discography which swings from ’70s English folk to the dance rhythms of Actress), large passages of indulgence or noodling were to be expected. Over the course of an hour and 45 minutes even with a rotating on-stage membership, what transpired was an incendiary and uplifting display of musicianship and talent packaged in an old-fashioned knees-up concert-style that only momentarily lost focus.
At the centre of the entire night’s performance was Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble who added a brace of brass tones to almost every song from the middle of the stage. Whether it was the dizzying funk of ‘Damn’ led by M.anifest, ‘Red Skies’ with Fatoumata Diawara on vocals, adding body to Shangaan Electro or the Ethiopian funk-vibe of their father Phil Cohran’s songs, they were the hardest working section of the assembled musicians. Albarn, Flea and Allen collaborated on the languid Rocketjuice number ‘Poison’ and otherwise, added deft touches with their instruments to the setlist. Flea’s bass-playing was funky, silently-contributory and jazz-inflected when required (‘Dolo Mbife’) and Allen’s soft rich rhythms kept things in check on songs like ‘Put It Out’.
The diversions into the outer reaches of the musicians present were the real highlights. Theo Parrish led a Miles Davis’ On The Corner- style frenetic cop chase theme psychedelic funk and synth workout, Cheick Tidiane Seck’s solo organ song settled into the room’s skin after a few minutes. Fatoumata Diawara shone in a duet with Damon on twinkling keys for a touching quieter number. Her rich heart-filled distinctly African voice prompted an audience member to exclaim “Wow wee wow” in response. Her voice really was that beautiful.
Having visited Soweto myself to witness Shangaan Electro, in all its glory, the trio’s introduction on a Dublin stage was a personal achievement for the producer and leader Nozinja dressed in a toga and multi-coloured wig. Warning that “Now we move at speed”, he was joined by Nkata Mawewe and one of the Tshetsha Boys in a mask and a fake belly paunch for some loose-limbed flailing while 180bpm beats streamed through the speakers at a frenetic pace. The upsurge in tempo added a shot of raw energy to the show.
The night finished on a couple of all-cast tunes, with one called celebratory rendition called ‘Here We Go’ ending a fascinating evening. To paraphrase a tweet by Emmet Condon I saw after the show from this was not world music, but out of this world music.
The night finished with Nozinja getting me to take photos of himself with everyone in the Honest Jons Chopup entourage. Here are the best of the photos. All above photos by Kieran Frost. More photos on Facebook.
I can’t wait to see Nozinja and dancers hit Ireland. Rumour has it they will appear at the Cork Jazz Festival in late October at the Honest Jon Pop-up gig which looks to include Damon Albarn along with possibly, Shangaan Electro, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Kokanko Sato, Theo Parrish, and more unlikely Erykah Badu. Go buy this album immediately.
A month before the World Cup kicked off in Soccer City in Soweto in the townships of Johannesburg, I made a detour on the last day of my Smirnoff Experience trip to meet an influential music producer by the name of Nozinja.
Nozinja is the kingpin of the Shangaan electro scene and has been since 2005. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard anything about this genre, it only really exists in the Shangaani areas of South Africa. Shangaan electro is characterised by an ultra fast-pace (180BPM and up), sped-up vocal samples, marimbas, digital beats, synths and afro-centric melodies. It barely exists outside of Soweto but does exist in other parts of the country where the Shangaani people are from in Limpopo for example. DVDs are the primary medium in which the music is shared as the accompanying dancing is just as important as the music. For now, Youtube videos are the primary way of spreading the phenomenon. Just watch this video of the kid-friendly Tshetsha Boys dancing and you’ll understand straight away why I wanted to be there.
After a 30 minute taxi ride from our hotel, myself and my companion Sarah found ourselves waiting outside a Soweto shopping centre for Nozinja to pick us up. Sarah (who works for Dazed and Confused) and I had both independently of each other, sourced a meeting with Nozinja with the help of Wills Glasspiegel, a producer, blogger and field recordist who also had a hand in the new Honest Jons compilationNew Wave dance Music from South Africa but more on that later… (more…)