Music

Solo Changes His Stage Name and Announces the Return of His Musical Theatre Production

The South African lyricist now calls himself Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu.

South African emcee Solo's new stage name is himself Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu. The rapper recently changed his usernames on social media and made the announcement via a press release.


Solo also announced his musical theatre production Dreamers ABC's will make a return. The second iteration of the show will take place at Soweto Theatre between the 23rd and 26th of July. The show made its debut at the Joburg Theatre earlier this year.

Solo said in a press release:

"Evolution for artists comes in different ways, for me it is to once again showcase my life narrated with hip hop and with this name change. What we have decided to do together with the Soweto Theatre, is to bring this story back to the theatre stage for a little longer. The response to our first show was incredible, I'm looking forward to bring this to a bigger audience in July."

The Dreamers ABC's is a musical theatre in which the emcee, his band and quests perform in collaboration with a cast of actors. The play chronicles the life of a young man with big dreams and aspirations and culminates in his success. The young man depicted in the story is of course Solo—each song bleeds into a scene that corresponds with the musical performances. The emcee performs songs his trilogy of albums, .Dreams.A.Plenty (2014), .Dreams.B.Plenty (2016) and C.Plenty.Dreams (2019).

Soweto Theatre PosterCourtesy of the artist

While Solo hasn't clarified the reason behind his name change, he did share in an interview with OkayAfrica last year that he was a changed man who's more in touch with his heritage. This of course came after he graduated as a sangoma alongside his wife Dineo Langa in November. The last album in the trilogy was as much the end of a chapter as it was the beginning of a new one.

Stream Solo's Dream trilogy below and buy tickets to The Dreamers ABC's at Webtickets.




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.

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