Audio

Spoek Mathambo's Future Sound of Mzansi Mix: DJ Spoko

Spoek Mathambo drops the 48-minute 'Future Sound of Mzansi Mix: DJ Spoko.'


Two weekends ago we had the great honor to present DJ Spoko (and Black Coffee!) at our SummerStage in Central Park SA house music bash. When we first met Spoko that Sunday (his first day ever in the USA) he was fresh from a short but successful stint in Barcelona for Sónar, where he had performed the night before with South African "superband" Fantasma, which he plays in along with Spoek Mathambo, Durban’s Bhekisenzo Cele, and Cape Town guitarist Andre Geldenhuys. In addition to a crowd-winning performance with Spoek and Spoko doing double duty behind the decks, the Fantasma crew was also at Sónar to screen Future Sound of Mzansi. The forthcoming documentary, which Spoek and filmmaker Lebogang Rasethaba spent two years working on, is an in depth look at the key players on South Africa's electronic music landscape. Spoko (aka Ghost), founder and hometown hero of PTA bacardi house and a champion of township funk, naturally features prominently. With the film's first screenings in South Africa coming up in July (at the Durban International Film Festival) and August, Spoek has a series of mixtapes up his sleeves in which he'll showcase music from several artists featured in the doc. First up comes 48-minutes of hits, exclusives, unreleased material, and future bangers from DJ Spoko. Download the full mix below while you still have the chance, and look out for mixes of Sibot, Okmalumkoolkat, Nozinja and Aero Manyelo coming soon. Spoek had this to say on Spoko's footprint on SA electronic music history:

"Bacardi House has been fermenting for a decade. For three years in the early 2000s, DJ Spoko traveled 40 miles south to Soweto, where he studied sound engineering in the studio of Nozinja, creator of the hyper-speed, hip-shaking Shangaan Electro style. Spoko pushes that sound’s simple yet ear-worming “space” synths, raw kicks and punishing military snares even further."

'Future Sound of Mzansi Mix: DJ Spoko' Tracklist

Intro

DJ Spoko - SumerSalt (Samaninja Mix)

Tribal Warriors - Motota Mutapa

DJ Spoko - Batauweng (ft. Kapa Kapa)

Pegasus Warning - The Mountain (Mujava, Spoko, Spoek Mathambo, Machepies, Panyaza Remix)

DJ Mujava - Township Funk

DJ Spoko - Flying Dutchman

DJ Spoko - Oriwango ft. MK

DJ Spoko - Sgubhu dance

Fantasma - Peaking

Glasser - Home (DJ Spoko Township_Remix)

Tribal Warriors - Lerato ft. Noe-Li (Prod. by Dj Spoko & Panyaza)

Tribal Warriors - Predaitor (Prod. by Dj Spoko )

Tribal Warriors - In the heart of the nite_saxmix (Prod. by Dj Spoko & Panyaza)

Fantasma - Eye Of The Sun

DJ Spoko - Shang Lo Dance

Fantasma - ShangriLa

DJ Spoko - ProblemChild

Bizz_Makhi - Raga Melomo e Prod.by_Blaq_Ghozt_III

DJ Spoko - I Remember ft. G Dog

DJ Spoko - Lord Labaqaxiamo

DJ Mujava - Mugwanti / Sgwejegweje

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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