Cape Town In Your Earbuds: John Wizards

In the lead-up to Cape Town Electronic Music Festival 2015, Okayafrica shares an exclusive Cape Town In Your Earbuds mixtape by John Wizards.

Artwork by Philippus Johan

In the lead-up to this weekend's Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (Feb 6-8 at City Hall), we've launched a spin-off of our regular Africa In Your Earbuds series. All week we'll be profiling five Cape Town-based artists/producers bringing their sounds to CTEMF with our exclusive Cape Town In Your Earbuds mixtapes and Q&As.

Cape Town five-piece John Wizards first won our hearts in 2013 with their dreamy self-titled debut album, a cheerful conglomeration of intricate beatwork, swirling melodies, multifaceted instrumentation, and, of course, a nod to southern African sounds, which included one of our Top Songs of the year. For their Cape Town In Your Earbuds, the group's frontman John Withers has prepared a 21-minute treasure chest of vintage South African jazz. Speaking on his inspiration for the mix, Withers told us:

"Recently I've found myself listening to some of South Africa's older generation of jazz musicians, many of whom came out of the group The Blue Notes in the 1960's. Between musicians like Johnny Dyani, Louis Moholo, Dudu Pukwana and many others forced into exile, there's a large and fascinating body of work that I had never taken the time to listen to, and am only really beginning to learn about. This mix includes some of my favourite examples of this music thus far, as well as some older tracks from musicals, and field recordings that I've loved for a while.

Thankfully, it's not difficult to find any of this music online. I'd recommend anyone with an interest to go to the blog Electric Jive, where there's a great collection of these records and rare live recordings that are being preserved and made available."

Listen to John Wizards' Cape Town In Your Earbuds below, and catch the group live at CTEMF Saturday 7 February 20:00-21:00 at the Audiotorium.


1) Johnny Dyani & Okay Temiz- Traditional South African songs (0:00-2:40) South Africa

2) Xhosa Ngqika- Ikostina (The concertina) (2:40-3:10) South Africa

3) Kevin Volans- White Man Sleeps (III) (3:10-4:50) South Africa

4) Hugh Masekela- Minawa (4:50-7:50) South Africa

5) Dudu Pukwana- The King of Weasle is called Easle ) (7:50-9:40) South Africa

6) VA- The Michaelangelo and Woolmark National Jazz Festival- Nolani (9:40-11:10) South Africa

7) The Flaming Souls- Tell It (11:10-13:30) South Africa

8) Johnny Dyani- Granmother's Teaching (11:10-15:55) South Africa

9) Louis Moholo- You Ain't Gonna Know Me (15:55-18:30) South Africa

10) Phiri (Musical)- Who's Earth Is This? (18:30- 21:20) South Africa


Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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