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Kommanda Obbs. Photo by Tseliso Monaheng.

#katarasessions Is The NPR Tiny Desk Concert Of South Africa

If you've always wanted to see South African musicians performing stripped-down and personal shows, we got you.

What music lover doesn't love NPR's Tiny Desk Concert? It brings us our favorite artists live in concert at the comfort of our homes, offices, campuses and train and uber rides.

The South African answer to the Tiny Desk is the #katarasessions, which is a series of stripped down performances by your favorite South African-based artists—the likes of Thandi Ntuli, Msaki, Bongeziwe Mabandla and Kommanda Obbs have all rendered performances of their songs.

The ongoing series is filmed by Tseliso Monaheng, one of the most prolific documenters of live music in South Africa. As much as the #katarasessions requires improvisations from the musicians, it's also shot in one take, with one handheld camera—no retakes or editing out of mistakes.


Read: In Photos: Documenting South African Jazz With Tseliso Monaheng

Unlike the Tiny Desk concert, however, #katarasessions is not shot in one fixed location. It also features a musician performing one song only. The session can occur anywhere from a recording studio, to a rooftop at Sea Point in Cape Town or Maboneng in Johannesburg. "Katara" is Sesotho for "guitar."

"It started last year when I was living in Cape Town," says Monaheng. "Thandi [Ntuli] had come down with The Brother Moves On. They had a gig that night, a Saturday. I asked if she'd be down to do this thing I've been wanting to do for a while. She was like, 'ja.'"

"So, I asked if she knew anyone with a guitar. Keenan Ahrends, who's in her band, was in town. They came over to Sea Point that evening, we took a walk, and the first one happened."

You can watch some clips of the #katarasessions below and be sure to subscribe to Tseliso Monaheng's YouTube channel for more to come:





Interview

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The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

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The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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