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Interview: Cape Town World Music Festival

Interview with founder of the Cape Town World Music Festival, Ma’or Harris.


Bringing together 32 acts from across the globe and thousands of music-lovers over two days, the inaugural Cape Town World Music Festival is set to be underway this weekend. Its debut lineup features artists like Spoek Mathambo, Zaki Ibrahim, The Brother Moves On, FreshlyGround, and Oliver Mtukudzi, among others. We caught up with festival organizer Ma’or Harris to find out what sparked the idea for the festival and what fans should expect.  

OKA: How did the idea for the Cape Town Music Festival come about, what inspired it?

Harris: The inspiration came from several directions. From the need for a real inner city cultural experience in Cape Town. From the lack of a platform for styles of music that are out of the mainstream. To create an opportunity for those who cannot afford tickets to big festivals and to experience an inner city festival, for this we designated one free stage. Mostly, to pass on what we love most and that is appreciation of good and inspiring live music through a high end production.

OKA: And is the plan to have the festival every year?

Harris: Definitely an annual festival; we are here to stay. We want to enrich the city with a calendar event to boast with. We want both tourists and locals to plan their visits and holidays around this time to see what Cape Town is about. How rich this city is and how inspiring its people are. We have a tremendous wealth of music and now an opportunity to share it in a big way.

OKA: How has the process of putting it all together been? And what are some of the challenges you've had to deal with?

Harris: Wow. This is a big one. As this is our first year, almost everything was a challenge. It's quicker to say what wasn't a challenge and that was the artists’ response and the people of Cape Town's enthusiasm and willingness to come on board. We have been working on events for the past seven years and this one has been by far the most exciting, rewarding and inspiring.

OKA: The list of artists you have lined up is pretty incredible; how did you set about choosing the musicians? 

Harris: This is the best and fun part. This gets us going. It's getting in touch with the musicians we love and telling them about our project. Because we are a bunch of music lovers with diverse styles it's the easiest and most natural part of the process. I think any music lover would love to put a festival line-up together, no?

OKA: You’re probably right. Last question, what is it that you want to people to walk away with from the experience of the festival?  

Harris: I would love people to come in order to watch an act they know and leave after discovering two other acts they have never heard of. More so, I would like to smash the idea of what the term 'world music' means to so many people. I want people to see world music as a very general term that doesn't really define a particular style of music but rather many styles that are mostly totally unrelated to each other; styles that all come from a true place, that is, however subtly, related to tradition.

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Here's a Playlist of Chill Songs to Relax to at Home

Keep calm with this playlist afro-jazz, funk, alternative, and R&B tracks from Nigeria, South Africa and more.

It's a time of uncertainty and stress right now for people all over the world. As we socially distance and quarantine ourselves, it's expected that we deal with feelings of anxiety and loneliness. But it's also good to remember that we're all in this together and music can certainly help with that.

For that, we've curated a playlist of Chill Songs to Relax to at Home with music ranging from afro-jazz, funk, alternative, and R&B that can help you relax but also maintain perspective during these days.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Photo credit: Hugo Glendinning & Gavin Rodgers

The 13 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Niniola x Femi Kuti, Darkovibes, Dope Saint Jude, Tony Allen x Hugh Masekela, Rema and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Davido's Fiancé, Chioma Rowland, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The Nigerian musician made the announcement via a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday.

Chioma Rowland, the fiancé of star Nigerian musician Davido, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The artist shared the news via Instagram on Friday, writing that he and 31 people on his team decided to get tested after returning back to Lagos from abroad. While he and the rest of his team received negative results, Rowland's test came back positive.

"Unfortunately, my fiancé's results came back positive while all 31 others tested have come back negative including our baby," wrote Davido. He added that they both showed no systems, but would be self-isolating as a safety measure.

"We are however doing perfectly fine and she is even still yet to show any symptoms whatsoever. She is now being quarantined and I have also gone into full self isolation for the minimum 14 days," he added. "I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for your endless love and prayers in advance and to urge everyone to please stay at home as we control the spread of this virus! Together we can beat this!"

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Juls Drops New Music Video for 'Soweto Blues' Featuring Busiswa and Jaz Karis

The Ghanaian-British producer heads to South Africa for the music video for the amapiano-inspired track.

Heavyweight Ghanaian-British producer Juls shares his first offering of 2020, and it does not disappoint.

The producer enlists South African music star Busiswa and London's Jaz Karis for the jazz-inflected "Soweto Blues," which also boasts elements of South Africa's dominant electronic sound, Amapiano. The slow-burner features airy vocals from Karis who features prominently on the 3-minute track, while Busiswa delivers a standout bridge in her signature high-energy tone.

"The song dubbed "Soweto Blues" is a song depicting the love, sadness and fun times that Soweto tends to offer its people," read the song's YouTube description. The video premiered earlier today on The Fader. "The energy is amazing, the people are lovely and I've found a second home — especially the vibrancy of Soweto," the producer told The Fader about his trip to Soweto for the making of the video "Jaz Karis is singing a love song, which is symbolic of my new love of Soweto and I'm honoured to have worked with Busiswa whom I have been a fan of for a long time."

Fittingly, the music video sees Juls traveling through the township, taking in its sights and energy. The video, directed by Nigel Stöckl, features striking shots of the popular area and its skilled pantsula dancers.

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