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.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.