Interview: Bokani Dyer Plays Across Genres Without Compromise in New Album ‘Kelenosi’

When the lockdown hit in 2020, South African jazz musician Bokani Dyer started making beats by himself and the result is an album made by borrowing from several genres without compromising any. "It's a beat album with piano," he says.

South African pianist and composer Bokani Dyer's latest album, Kelenosi, is anything but cut and dry. Neither straight-ahead jazz nor traditional hip-hop beats, the project is something new made by borrowing from several genres without compromising any.

Kelenosi was performed for the first time at Untitled Basement in Joburg in November 2020. He let the audience in on how the album came about. "At the beginning of 2020," Dyer said, "I was actually working on another album (Radio Sechaba). When lockdown hit, that wasn't possible, I didn't have contact with other musicians, there were no live shows. I was basically left to my own devices, so I started making beats by myself. 'Kelenosi' means 'by myself' [in Setswana]."

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