Image supplied by Apple Music

Apple Music launches Isgubhu

Apple Music's Isgubhu Offers a Distinctive Home for Africa's Dance and Electro Music

Apple Music has launched a new music platform Isgubhu for Africa's dance music including amapiano, gqom, kwaito and other popular subgenres.

Apple Music has reportedly launched a new destination site Isgubhu for Africa's dance and electro music genres. Isgubhu has been created as an homage to Africa's dance and electro music's global prominence. African subgenres amapiano, gqom, kwaito, Bolobedo house, Shangaan electro, Mzansi house and deep house will be more accessible through dedicated collections. Apple Music has borrowed from a popular Zulu term "isgubhu" for the newly launched music destination. The term which refers to any hollow vessel or container that can create a beat has evolved with music; from describing a drum or the act drumming to becoming a colloquial term that refers to any beat or banging song.

Read: Listen to Wizkid's 'Made In Lagos' Interview with Apple Music

Isgubhu will spotlight esteemed industry players of certain genres who were pivotal to creating music classics. Soul Candi, a recording label which is historically known for its longstanding, high quality house music productions will be cast into the spotlight. House Afrika, Stay True Sounds and Uganda's Hakuna Kulala and Nyege Nyege Tapes are notable recording labels that will feature on "Spotlight On".

"Spotlight Voices" voices, on the other hand, will focus on the vocal and lyrical side of the music through well curated playlist from industry musicians and DJs. Black Coffee, who recently dropped his latest album "Subconsciously", has been announced as the first curator of Spotlight Voices playlist. The first Isgubhu cover star reportedly commented on being the first to lead the new home of Africa's dance music: "To me home is everything... the absolute core of my being. Bringing the sounds of South Africa to the world is a life-long mission I'll never stop chasing after".

Apple Music also announced that there will be a spotlight through "Isgubhu By" where one handpicked artist will curate their favourite African Dance and Electronic albums to feature for the month. The first "Isgubhu By" artist will be international gqom maestro, DJ Lag.

South Africa's music scene is diverse with emergent original music beats like Bolobedu house and Shangaan electro carving a caveat in the music scene. Isgubhu is admittedly needed and comes after the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) finally recognised gqom and amapiano as separate music categories. Prince Kaybee, Black motion, DBN GOGO, DJ Zinhle, Da Capo, Stiff Pap, Kenyan producers Euggy and Slikback as well as Uganda's prolific group Nihiloxica and more artists are featured in the collections.

Visit Isgubhu on iTunes.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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