Wednesday, April 7, 2010

VIDEO OF THE DAY: BLACK COFFEE FEAT. ZAKES BATWINI "JUJU"

Mixtape Sessions. Music for the People.


I started to hear the name 'Black Coffee' early last year. Obviously, I'm late because this South African born artist/producer has been making some incredible for many years. I fell in love with the "Juju" as soon as I saw it (shout out to TAC for sharing). Here's a little about Black Coffee, straight from his myspacae page - hey I even do the work for you! :)

Album: Have Another One
Artist: Black Coffee
Producer/ Artist Company: Universal (SA)
Label: Soulistic Music
Previous Album: Black Coffee
Genre: Dance/Club Similar
Artists: Louis Vega, Masters At Work,Dennis Ferrer, Soul II Soul,Manoo, Rocco, DJ Christos, Oskido

Curiously, South Africa, as the Spanish island Ibiza or England’s '90s Manchester scene around club the Hacienda or Michigan’s Detroit scene, presents one of the few places in the world where genuine house music has taken root. One of its leading proponents is the reserved, studiously academic Black Coffee, whose inventive, imaginative and a boldly educated re-interpretation of classic South African music is radically at odds with the many flash-in-the-pan hit-chasers that populate the dance music genre. Black Coffee, who is one-part member of the unfashionable urban soul trio Shana, is one of three or four turntablist in the country who genuinely understands the precise function of a music deejay: he does not simply re-mix songs; he re-interprets their previously unimagined musical possibilities and therefore quietly reclaims the composition as his own.

When he debuted with his interpretation of Hugh Masekela’s rambunctious jazz hit Stimela (2005 original South African release; 2008 UK release), subsequently to be the lead single off the self-titled 12-track debut album, by re-featuring the old musician to guest vocal anew Black Coffee simply demonstrated how it was possible to re-work the South African canon music vault into club music, acceptable to both the youth and the adults, a feat not easily achievable in the instant festive hit-obsessed market that is South Africa: it requires a decidedly original-inclined, singular mind such as that of Black Coffee to be able to pursue an original music trajectory.

In the self-titled debut the emphasis was unmistakably on the soul element of the dance music, re-emphasizing the connections of dance music with its founding genre soul music. "To me, the music has to have soul; it has to move me. I quite like Baba Victor’s music for it’s such music, otherwise I’m not interested in the music," he says, during the course of press interview. The song in question is a re-interpretation of jazz bassist and producer Victor Ntoni, one of South Africa’s respected jazz musicians whose meagre output, both as an artists and a producer, is predicated on an almost puritan ethic of uncompromising quality. Like Masekela in the debut album, Ntoni honoured the young man Black Coffee with his presence in the re-interpreted Wathula Nje song off the latest album Have Another One, an obvious pun on a cup of coffee offered by a respectful waiter and the sophomore album by the artist, cue the album sleeve.

The sophomore album Have Another One has quietly gone gold (20 000 plus units sold) in South Africa after four months of release in the current difficult business environment that has tightened around both consumers and the music industry quiet severely. Have Another One has sold not least because it receives minimal, almost non-existent, airplay in South African airwaves obsessed with American R&B minor hits. The lead single off Have Another One was sizzling hit Nomhlaba featuring one of the newest female artists Siphokazi. Both Black Coffee ands Ntoni recently shot the music video for Wathula Nje in Soweto, Johannesburg. Through sheer hard work Black Coffee’s talent has not gone unnoticed. Recently he was in Miami’s Winter Music Conference where he was surprised by a number of established music deejays in US who were familiar with his music and the audiences responded with genuine excitement. His song Izizwe was receiving dance floor appreciation all round. It had been uploaded by appreciating New York City fans onto the social utility media You Tube® when the song had been playing at club Shelter, NYC, US. In addition, the France-based label Real Tone has a world-wide release deal with Black Coffee of 12-inch singles outside of UK and SA. In UK he has signed an album-deal with Kronologik Music (www.kronologik.com) where his self-titled debut album Black Coffee was recently released in April 2008.

When he returned in April 2008 from playing three UK gigs (Stratford, Birmingham & London) he was the only South African musician to be invited by the Red Bull Music Academy (www.redbullmusicacademy.co.za) to feature in their first-ever studio album concept of putting world-wide musicians for a Cape Town-based three-week period of improvisation, a project that may see the light of day later in the year. Despite that Black Coffee is now well-traveled, he still has a certain affection and respect for the South African audience. "I attended a few label gigs [at the Winter Music Conference, Miami, Flr]. I also found my songs at record shops over there. But I don’t want get too big for my shoes, though I just don’t want to be a local deejay. I want to be able to play in Soweto and then hop to overseas. It’s fine to honour overseas gigs, but one finds that one is playing to just 200 people when I could be playing to more audiences here [SA]," reckons Black Coffee.

This ability to criss-cross locale and international metropolitans is directly mirrored in Black Coffee’s educated taste which itself owes something to his academically qualified music training. He has a striking appearance with its decidedly studious look maybe owing to this academic background. He brings a worldly sophistication into his music that is, scandalously, embarrassingly missing in virtually all South African music which generally bears an unmistakable stamp of parochialism. His music, though unashamedly dance, is not primarily aimed at the dance floor, but more to the mental feet for those lonesome evenings that visit city swingers as they dash through city streets in their fabulously flashy but lonely four-wheels or simply enjoying home-bound fetes.

Visit: www.soulisticmusic.com
Visit: www.umusic.com
Visit: www.myspace.com/realblackcoffee