Spoek Mathambo: Kwaito reinvented

Kwaito is basically an African form of House music incorporating a tribal percussive influence, originating from the Soweto region of the South African city Johannesburg. 25 year old Spoek Mathambo, the “slippery post-Apartheid glam-rap prince from Soweto who is descended from distant African royalty” (-Fader) has come a long way – while his music may have initially been easily labeled as Kwaito, his output has evolved far beyond.

He became well known for his “afro-electro” collaboration with Markus Wormstorm, known as Sweat.X, as well as his techno-rap project with Sibot known as Playdoe. I’m also a big fan of his more recent collaborations with Warsaw’s Sekta via Top Billin Music – as well as the subsequent remixes from Julio Bashmore, Doc Daneeka & more. Spoek’s debut solo album “Mshini Wam” came out last year via BBE (home to DJ Vadim, among others) and incorporates a myriad of styles from the West & all over the world – the most recent single was “Control,” which is a “darkwave township house” cover of Joy Division‘s “She’s Lost Control.” The video was directed by photographer Pieter Hugo in collaboration with cinematographer Michael Cleary.

Spoek Mathambo maintains his own blog, Zombo and can be seen live at Glastonbury this summer, as well as the Big Chill Festival. He has a single North American date, August 7th in NYC as part of the Out of Doors festival, check the shows section of his website for complete listings.

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