Afro-House Explorations

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After a welcome winter hibernation, Rhythm & Roots is back and what better way to start 2013 than with the soulful, fresh, warm sound of Afro-House. Over the past month or so my playlists have been dominated by mixtapes, bootlegs and soundcloud sessions pouring over the offshoots of house music that are flourishing in Angola and South Africa. After a lot of digital crate digging I have put together a mix that celebrates some of my favourite Afro-House tunes, whilst also incorporating some influences from further afield akin to the sound and rhythm. So, a bit of context…

South African House

Unlike other parts of the world, in South Africa, house music is not confined to the dancefloor but has become one of the country’s dominant sounds, leading sales and making stars of its biggest names. Resident Advisor recently celebrated the SA House (centring on Johannesburg) as part of the “Real Scenes” mini-documentary series – a great introduction to the scene.

South Africa has not only become a global mecca of house music but has also managed to formulate its own diverse scene with its own diversity of sound. There is the upbeat, snare driven house sound epitomised by DJ Mujava‘s international breakthrough Township Funk, the deeper, soulful style from producers like Black Coffee, Black Motion and Culoe de Song and then the smash hit, lyrical, Kwaito-hereditary sounds of big name producers Professor, Oskido & DJ Clock.

Angolan House

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Meanwhile, the past few years have also seen a house music explosion in Angola, drawing inspiration from the South African scene and offering stiff competition to the Kuduro sound that has, historically, dominated the country’s electronic music scene. As Benjamin Lebrave, who offers a fascinating insight into the rise of Angolan house via This Is Africa, noted in July after a visit to Angola:

“A genre that was practically absent just three years ago during my last visit can now be heard virtually anytime, anywhere.”

Many Angolan producers such as DJeff and DJ Silyvi lean towards the deeper side whilst also emphasising rhythmic richness and incorporating traditional vocals samples. New producers are constantly appearing on Soundcloud with fresh sounds in a genre that continues to spread and diversify. It will be interesting to see two how these scenes now evolve and how they will feed back into electronic music globally.

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One Comment on “Afro-House Explorations

  1. I got my wife an internet enabled radio for christmas. (I know…altruistic huh?) I’ve been listening regularly to radio stations from Cabo Verde and parts of the African continent. It’s nuts how fast the quality of locally produced music has caught up and even surpassed the quality of music being made here in Europe. Whilst we have turned over power over our dying industry to the likes of puppet-master Simon Cowell, the rest of the world are steadily getting on with learning to do it better than us. It’s great…although I do really wish South America hadn’t become so enthralled with auto-tune!

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