Author and culture critic Bongani Madondo writes for Rolling Stone, the New York Times and Mail & Guardian. Here’s his house music Top 10.
Social Media soundtrackWhether you call it house music, electronic or 21st Century rave culture, it’s back and banging harder than any sound of the last century. Global and globalized under the blanket banner of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) this culture has become the new faith, its icons the vinyl-spinning shamans, DJs known as DeadMau5, David Guetta, and Swedish House Mafia and their South African counterparts: Euphonik, Oskido, Black Coffee and Goldfish. Together, their sonic genius has created the soundtrack of the social media age.
Jozi, the Afro-polisJoburg’s reputation as one of the planet’s top 10 EDM centres is no fluke. The city and its townships have been burning the dance floors with over-amped speed, electro mixes of township sounds with Euro-trash, and dub-step, drum ’n bass and jazz long before Ecstasy found rave culture. With an avalanche of world class DJs in an overripe EDM market, fuelled by social media, Joburg has a thumping bass reminiscent of the earth drills of the late 19th century Gold Rush.
Black CoffeeNathi Maphumulo, a jazz and classical music graduate better known as Black Coffee, is a visionary. His rise has been meteoric since his 2005 self-titled debut, featuring hit tunes that included a Hugh Masekela collaboration. Lauded in international dance music bible Mix Mag’s latest issue his tour dates read like a world map of house music.
GoldfishBets are you haven’t seen Dom and Dave lately because they’re travelling the world in 80 days, playing international festivals and healing dance culture’s die-hards with their unique Afro-beaten-tech house grooves. Goldfish are as beloved in this city as they are St. Elsewhere. Catch them whenever they are in town. http://goldfishlive.com
The House Kalawa Built!This largely producers-led reservoir and tech lab of house music headed by Oskido, arguably the continent’s best House DJ, and his posse of dance Einsteins Mandla Spikiri, Bruce “Dope” Sebitlo, Mjokes and Mahoota Kalawa, have created, produced and made names to know from Boom Shaka, Mafikizolo, Black Motion and Uhuru to Speedy & Professor. If you have a dance itch to scratch, check out Kalawa’s facebook page to find out ‘where’s the party at?’
DJ Fresh‘The Big Dawg’ of House Music is a tattooed radio (5FM) personality, pop-philosopher, loud mouth, and accomplished club DJ. He’s also a super wealthy rock star with a heart, as socially engaged as he is sonically obsessed. His Fresh House Flava’s volumes have imprinted his multi-varied style and influence on local dance. One of the first black House visionaries to cross over into electro heavy white dance spaces, with his sidekick and a mean vinyl poet DJ Euphonik, Fresh has never been fresher.
Culoe De SongQuite simply, the Future Tsar of EDM. This Red Bull DJ Academy (Spain) alumnus - like that Europe based super-dance freak-a-zoid Spoek Mathambo – has an umbilical link to Africa’s dance archives. He’s the bridge between Johannesburg’s commercialized dance culture and Durban’s ghetto and village innovations of minimalist bass-heavy scene.
House Music Lovaz (Fans)The wildest wild man of rock ’n roll Keith Richards once said his
biggest fear was not jail or dying, but being surrounded by teenage groupies. It’s obvious he never hung out with Jozi’s house music congregants. Known as The PLURal generation [Peace, Love, Unity & Respect], these king and queen-making hordes make every DJ, producer, track, trend and club. The fans are the Establishment.