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Spoek Mathambo On Segregation In South Africa's House Scene

Spoek Mathambo sits down with Boiler Room's Thristian bPm to talk about segregation in the South African house scene, the optimism among SA youth and being an ambassador on the international stage


After the Studio Africa London launch, Okayafrica favourite and one of Joburg's finest Spoek Mathambo sat down with the Boiler Room's Thristian bPm for i-D magazine. As well as talking about the influence Chicago House and UK Garage on South African kwaito he surprises a slightly apprehensive Thristian by revealing that he's comfortable with being received as an ambassador for South African music, explaining that he uses the international stage (like his Studio Africa/Boiler Room set) to rep South Africa. Spoek also touches on some socio-political issues including the enduring segregation of South Africa’s house music scene; the optimism he feels as a young South African and why he decided to stop emulating US and European music styles. Check out some quotes and the video itself below and, for a throwback, click through to the Okayafrica TV interview.

On the class & racial segregation in SA's house scene:

"There's the drama even with the house scene: is it commercial house, is it deep house and [if you're] fancy, sophisticated and upwardly mobile it's cool to like deep house, and then there's the ghetto house of Pretoria and whatnot." [...] South Africa's so ridiculous about race that we have a whole race for people that are mixed race: and that's a thing, coloured people are a [separate] thing.

"And the way music will relate to it is that they'll say: well this is house music for coloured people, house music for white people, house music for Indian kids, house music for black kids. But I am excited for the breakdown, where influences can just spread and everybody can just enjoy the same stuff....But within South Africa, loving and appreciating the same stuff, which doesn't happen yet"

Audio
(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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