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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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South Africa in the House

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Sound Travels has in the past, focused a few features on the sounds of South African artists. From Township jive to mbaquanga to kwaito and even the electronic house scene. This week we're bringing the house music scene back into focus. This time, I'm not content to hit the topic with a Sunday night mixtape, I want to share it with the rest of you who tune in during the week.

Because of its early successes, it would seem safe to assume that kwaito, that infectious blend of hip hop-style rhymes over slow-tempo house grooves, was the start of South Africa's love affair with electronic music; I know that I did. But as I dug a little deeper into the current explosion house music has in terms of popularity, I was surprised to find that it was house music that came first. 

In fact, house music was big in places like Pretoria before kwaito even was a thing. But as house gained and spread it adapted to local conditions. When it got to Cape Town, street realities and tastes took it on a slight detour and necessitated a middle step, and kwaito was that consequence in sound. After kwaito had its run on the charts, South Africans all over, got a bit deeper into the foundation of it-- namely house music. Not only that, but rather than rebranding the more generic non-localized sound of house that we here from other places, they made theirs with local flavour, using African drums as a source-code for beats that often feature one of the 14 languages spoken in S.A.. 

We started the theme on Tuesday and I played a few of the notable names on the scene these days...

DJ Mujava "Township Funk" 

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Professor "Lento"

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Black Motion "Banane Movako (Justin Imperiale Remix)" 

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C. 9ine "Wonder"