Rukia Juma Ali does a rendition of a traditional taarab song at Zanzibar’s only traditional music school.
On a recent trip to Zanzibar, I stopped by the Dhow countries Music Academy to speak to the academy’s artistic director Issa Matona about the history and future of the organisation. While I was there, I met talented and committed musicians studying at the only music school in Zanzibar which teaches traditional music. Follow this link to read the full feature:
Dhow Countries Music Academy by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
East Africa’s biggest festival is family friendly and often sees young and old revelling to the sounds of Africa and the diaspora’s best musical offerings.
The Sauti za Busara Festival, held annually in Zanzibar, is regarded as east Africa’s biggest festival. But funding challenges meant that the festival had to skip a leg in 2016 in order to restructure and regroup. In 2017, festival director Yusuf Mahmoud brought Sauti za Busara back with a whole lot more fire power. I spoke to Mahmoud about Sauti’s future for Music In Africa. Follow this link below to read the full feature:
Resurrecting East Africa’s Biggest Festival by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
Tsepo Pooe, a Johannesburg-based cellist, plays as part of the chamber music ensemble at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival 2017.
For the 2017 leg of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, composer, performer and academic Neo Muyanga mentored Lungiswa Plaatjies, Prince Bulo and Kingsley Buitendag in their attempt to compose music that featured traditional African instruments alongside their western counterparts. Muyanga has been working on this type of composition for the last decade out of the limelight of his Blk Sonshine days. Follow this link to read the full feature:
Neo Muyanga: straddling Traditional and Western Styles by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
A dancer attempts the “head top” during the Admiral and Jah Seed show during the Red Bull Music Academy Weekender in Johannesburg 2016.
The global Red Bull Music Weekender made a stop in Johannesburg at the tail end of 2016. Without careful consideration, I decided to cover the four-day festival with my longtime collaborator Themba Vilakazi. The line-up included Fat Freddy’s Drop, Admiral and Jahseed, Moonchild Sanelly, Stilo Magolide, Ricky Rick and Black coffee. What resulted was a feature in Afripop Magazine and a kidney dehydrated to the size of a raisin. Follow this link to read the full feature:
Caffeine Calamity by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
A South African NGO is using sound business practice and heaps of passion to deliver music as an instrument of social change © Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
The foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established by the PG Group in 1997 when the local glass company celebrated its centenary. Wanting to create a project to benefit young people in under-resourced areas, the foundation borrowed the American field band tradition, adapted it for local conditions and used recreational musical tutelage as a vehicle for skills transfer.
Business and Brass by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
My experience of HIFA in 2015 was overshadowed by the xenophobic attacks of the time. South Africans attacked Zimabweans and people from other countries.
While the uniformed man at the Air Zimbabwe check-in desk captures my details, I mumble something about the shame I feel at handing over a South African passport. I spare him the direct brunt of my breathe for this banter, but I make it clear that I do feel the almost necessary shame.
In the Time of Xenophobia by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
The Cape Music Institute in Cape Town’s Cape Flats region trains young musicians from challenging backgrounds.
A day before last year’s festival, students at the Cape Music Institute were treated to an intimate live performance and question-and-answer session with Grammy award-winning band Hiatus Kaiyote. The band’s vocalist and guitarist Nai Palm shared giggles with the learners and egged them on as they performed for her and her band mates.
Music Development for Youth by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
Jagwa music play a style of music called Mchiriku which developed decades ago in the poorer areas of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Mchiriku is a DIY type of music played with whichever instruments are available to the players. © Setumo Thebe Photography
Jackie Kazimoto raps into the microphone in his right hand while using the one in his left as a wand, driving the at-capacity crowd into an ever-higher, almost supernatural frenzy. Locals hip to his sound sing along, and even foreigners hurl back resounding responses to his calls. Everyone is enthralled, and the Zanzibari air hangs thick with energy and sound. Welcome to Sauti za Busara.
Sauti za Busara festival by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi
Francois van Coke of the rock band Van Coke Kartel performs at a benefit concert held at the Armoury Boxing Club, Cape Town 2013.
Fokofpolisiekar is a band formed in the predominantly Afrikaans northern suburbs of Cape Town. Their music resonates far further than the linguistic and racial confines of their society and has made them taste makers in South Africa. In 2014, Fokofpolisiekar released Dag Dronk, a contract brewed beer under the Fokofpolisiekar brand. They have since release several more beers.
Dag Dronk by Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi