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South Africa in the House

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When someone first discovers the insanely popular house music scene in South Africa (and  the accompanying fact that South Africans are the biggest consumers of house music in the world) a number of responses may occur in the brain, as synapses fire off at 120 bpm in all directions. Luckily, for those interested in getting a visual grasp of the reverse diasporic transfer of that most pleasing of polyrhythmic thumps, there’s an excellent new film documenting the contemporary house scene in Johannesburg. Nah, it’s not House Party 6: The Jo-Burg Jammy Jam. It’s a mini-doc filmed by Resident Advisor, the long-standing electronic music hub/online magazine.

The doc features rising production duo Black Motion, legend Oskido, and numerous other artists from Johannesburg and its outlying townships as they navigate the challenges of the music industry and strive to achieve artistic and material success. Informative and beautifully shot, the short explains a lot about a genre that seeks to be both danceable and politically (and socially) relevant at the same time. Anyone familiar with the origins of house in the 80’s should most definitely see a connection between the dusty, rumbling by-ways of post-Apartheid Jo’burg and the harsh streets of Chi-town, where the Godfather of House Frankie Knuckles likened the music’s performance spaces to a gathering spot for those who’d been cast out.

Check it.

To hear more about the history of Chicago house (and Detroit techno), as well as how BOTH first got to South Africa, give a listen to our program Midwest Electric.

And for another viewpoint, check out a  fascinating article about the DIFFERENCES between the two scenes from DJ Zhao.

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