News Brief

RMBO & Morena Leraba Connect on a Song About Standing up to Forces of Power

Listen to RMBO and Morena Leraba's new track.

South African producer and DJ RMBO's latest song, which we are premiering here, features Lesotho's Morena Leraba, who's known for being a shepherd musician.

The song, which is titled "Mzabalazo," has a huge kwaito influence with skittering drums and buzzing synths. Leraba laces the music with matching flows to give the track more personality.


RMBO, a founding member of the rock band BLK JKS, tells us that the song started its life on a cold day in Lesotho in 2017.

"As soon as we got to Maseru I was so cold that I just started making music on my laptop," he says. "We then went to a fest called Afriski in the mountains, and, because there was no network in the snow to stream music on Apple Music, I played a playlist of beats I had done. Morena Leraba heard that beat and asked if it belonged to anyone. I said, 'nah!' He said he has lyrics for it then I said, 'cool let's do it.'"

In case, you, just like me, aren't educated enough to understand Sesotho, RMBO, breaks down the meaning of the song:

"Here, 'mzabalazo' (or 'mosabalaso' in a Sesotho tone) is a borrowed word from the South African liberation struggle and it's synonymous with rebellion/revolt or rather, a word coined originally in South Africa, toyi-toyi. The message here is simply standing up to forces of power and Morena Leraba uses the meaning to confront power/oppression he encounters in his village and when he comes to Johannesburg. Names of South African apartheid leaders are used as metaphors here."

Listen to "Mzabalazo" below:

News Brief
Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns (via Getty Images)

New Fela Kuti Reissues & Box Set Are Coming This Year

Partisan Records has shared initial news of upcoming Fela 50th anniversary reissues and a new box set on the way.

Fela Kuti fans have a lot to look forward to this year as Partisan Records (home to Fela's catalog) has announced plans to release special reissues of two 1971 albums: London Scene and Live! With Ginger Baker, the classic album in which Fela and his band Africa '70 where joined by the Cream drummer.

The label has also said they plan to release the fifth installment in their ongoing Fela vinyl reissue box set series, which are handpicked by notable names in the music world. Previous volumes have been curated by Erykah Badu, Questlove, and Brian Eno.

Partisan has also shared that they will also be launching a scholarship program at Fela's alma mater, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in London this year. The label will be sharing more information on all of that exciting Fela Kuti 2021 news soon, so keep and eye out.

In the meantime, Fela Kuti is currently leading the fan vote for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can head here to cast a daily ballot for the afrobeat legend. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.

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