Open Your Ears, Close Your Eyes.

Growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, South African music had its own genre going by the name of Kwaito. That was the music which brought about a sense of identity that we could call our own, something that didn’t sound inspired from another country. Yet somehow the genre started to fade out and our cry was for music our generation would enjoy. Thus having our generation get in tuned with sounds abroad, to an extent and a very large one at that. Sounds which weren’t ours were favoured more because of popularity and people generally didn’t expect much to come locally.

What effect could this have on our music scene? One would hope not a massive one yes? Well how short sighted is your hope. In fact one would assume, a disregard of potential will never be given a chance, based solely on where it is from is what some of the local artists have to face. How someone would change a song playing on the radio (if it reaches the radio) if they hear it’s not local and isn’t a house hold name. That could make artists tend to feel undervalued by those they want to please. To give rise to the local music scene that people are claiming is so rigid and stagnant, which lacks growth. How the artists who have made it only seem to fucks with the music only when there is a vibe, see that the hype train can take them to their best destination. Then it’s hidden behind how they always saw your potential. How the local group is “sleeping” on talent.

Not all our local talent gets applauds from the famous stars, making one wonder how they keep still making music. Matter of fact, why would they still be making music? I mean if it’s not for themselves, who is it for? Strange how something isn’t felt by those around you but gets received very well abroad. Having our own local artists going to festivals such as Glastonbury (John Wizards did this), causing waves and making moves and still nobody even knows their name. Who is to blame? The local artists who don’t seem to push their music down people’s throats but take the direction of; “our music will speak for itself, if people want to hear it then they will.” Which kinda sucks, let me explain before I am killed. As in South Africa we don’t have easy access to constant internet as Europeans, Americans, etc. Or does it become the people’s fault for not going to a cheap Internet cafe and streaming on Soundcloud digging for music. Maybe it’s the people as they fear not enjoying what could be on the Red Bull Studios Cape Town playlist. Not everyone would enjoy the likes of Das Kapital or Christian Tiger School. With that being said, why wouldn’t they? I mean we all can’t be into the same kind of music. We could try to be more open especially since it’s local, they do say support local.

Segregation formed based on what music is played in different cities is not such a bad thing. Every city has its own culture, a vibe which differentiates them from the rest. My friends once told me when they went to Cape Town, the popular clubs had not caught up to the level of hip hop that was being played in Jo’burg. One can understand why that is as electronic music tends to get the nod in the west side. The city being the capital of South Africa’s best music festivals (I don’t want to say that Jo’burg folk mostly act fresh to an artist that isn’t huge), forcing artists to niche their music to accommodate a certain amount of people. I believe such an ideal needs to be demolished because artists are getting caught into restricting what reach they can have locally. Myself and DJ BASMNT have put together a playlist of local tracks we think cause serious waves and need to be heard. Direct links have been put up so please feel free to lend an ear and stream/download/share the vibes.

By: Thube Nkutha




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