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Audio: Christian Tiger School 'Carlton Banks'


Christian Tiger School, a Cape Town based duo comprising of Luc Vermeer and Sebastiano Zanasi, are definitely one of the city’s best kept secrets. They are the creators and manipulators of beats that open portals and transport the listener to alternative realms.

On first listen to any of their productions or mixes, it's clear that they are well-versed hip hop heads. Indeed, the group began as a trio of high-schoolers, pioneering “boom-pop” hip hop and aspiring to be rappers. However, they have developed their tunes to urban music of a bastardized and hybrid nature, fusing a little bit of that electro whimsicalness in methods reminiscent of the tendencies of such like Flying Lotus and SAMIYAM. “I went to America for a while, east coasting… and while I was there I hit him up (Flying Lotus). I also got a chance to work with 9th Wonder,” reveals Luc Veneer, validating the suspicion of their possible influences and sources. “Our music is anything and everything really,” he tries to explain, his sentence stunted by the sheer enormity of the scope and the ambiguity of their sound, making it impossible to condemn it to one specific genre.

*Stream "Carlton Banks" below

Even though they've only known each other for 3 years, on stage Luc & Sebastiano function like a well-oiled machine. Their productions are brought alive with expert disc jockey manipulations, unexpected cuts incorporating rap adlibs with street snares that give a sense of familiarity, and bass drops that explode giving a sense of euphoria (evidenced by hardcore head bumps). The technicalities are intense, the sweat drips and every ounce of energy is transferred out of that Macbook and SP-4D4 SX, fuelling the moshpit below. “Insane,” is all one can say, including Sebastiano, when all is played and done.

Although currently showcasing at every other odd gig, Christian Tiger School’s time as a closet band is limited, “We’re working on an EP for release later in the year, although we’re only 3 songs in at the moment,” informs Luc. In the meantime, their bandcamp is substantial to the fiends.

Music
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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