Audio

Batuk, The Pan-African Creative Collective You Need To Know, Make Their Spectacular Debut

Spoek Mathambo, Aero Manyelo and Manteiga's Batuk collective release their debut EP and Mozambique-shot video for "Daniel."

Spoek Mathambo, Nandi Ndlovu, Aero Manyelo and Manteiga.


Batuk is the pan-African creative collective you need to know.

South African producers Spoek Mathambo and Aero Manyelo, alongside artist and vocalist Manteiga, see house music as a vehicle to connect the African diaspora through rhythm culture and language.

For their first project, the group looks to Mozambique as both their spiritual and recording home. Daniel's centerpiece is a thumping four-minute, South African-house-meets-afrohouse jam featuring frequent Batuk collaborator Nandi Ndlovu.

The full EP, consisting of two original tracks plus "Daniel" remixes by German producer Daniel Haaksman, Angolan afrohouse duo Homeboyz Music and Mozambican producer/DJ Freddy Da Stupid, officially arrived yesterday along with the group's powerful debut music video. Filmed in Impaputo, Mozambique, the Kent Andreasen-shot visuals are a spectacular introduction to the style, dance and rituals of Batuk.

According to Spoek, the dancers are from two styles of "spirit dancing" from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe: Nyau and Mapiko. “We were really taken by the movements and beautifully crafted costumes and masks and wanted to explore that in our video,” Spoek tells us.

Batuk are currently completing work on their debut album. Set for release later this year, the project will see the group collaborate with Mozambicans Grupo Zore and Grupo Makarita and Ugandan artists Giovanni Kiyingi, Annet Nandujja and Nilotica.

The Daniel EP can be purchased on iTunes here. Check out a preview via Soundcloud below.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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