Audio

Kajama is a New 'Future Soul' Electronic Sister Duo From South Africa

Listen to "Tricks," the debut single from South African sisters Nandi and Nongoma Ndlovu's 'future soul' electronic duo Kajama.

It’s been, what feels like, a long time coming. Sisters Nandi and Nongoma Ndlovu are making their official debut as the electronic duo Kajama.


I was first introduced to the ethereal sounds of the Ndlovu sisters via Fantasma, the South African “supergroup” of Spoek Mathambo, DJ Spoko and others. Nandi and Nongoma feature prominently throughout last year’s spectacular Free Love LP––one of Okayafrica’s top albums of 2015––contributing vocals to “Higher Power,” “Fire and Smoke,” “Umoya,” and, my personal favourite, “My Wave.”

The daughters of African folk musicians Themba and Bajabulile Ndlovu, the sisters grew up between Zimbabwe, Switzerland and South Africa. Since relocating back to the continent––Johannesburg specifically––they’ve raked in an impressive list of features. But up until now, they've had somewhat of a supporting role in a series of stellar collaborations.

As the 'future soul' outfit Kajama, they produce and sing. Nandi, who comes from more of an electronic music background, handles production and writing and also contributes background vocals. Nongoma, who studied music at the National School of the Arts, is charged with lead vocals and arrangement.

They’re currently prepping their debut EP, to be released on the newly-formed Johannesburg-based indie label, Subterranean Wavelength. Today, we're excited to premiere their first single as Kajama, the hypnotic, semi-woozy “Tricks.” Listen above.

Photo by Xannthe Cupido.

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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