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
Burna Boy performs at the Warner Music Group pre-Grammy party in Hollywood on January 2020. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Warner Music)

Burna Boy, Tinariwen, Michael Kiwanuka & More Nominated For 2021 Grammy Awards

The Nigerian star and Tuareg band are nominated in the newly named Best Global Music Album category.

The nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards are in.

The awards show, which will be hosted by Trevor Noah, will see some of the world's biggest artists up for categories like Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.

As we previously wrote about, the Grammys have renamed the international category of Best World Music Album to Best Global Music, in an effort to reportedly make it more modern and inclusive.

In that new Best Global Music Category, Nigerian afro-fusion star Burna Boy is nominated alongside Tuareg desert rock group Tinariwen, NYC afrobeat outfit Antibalas, Brazilian-American Bebel Gilberto and British-Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar.

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