I did a mix in collaboration with Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces aka Chimurenga Renaissance for his album Pungwe which drops today in stores. Here’s my description from my Soundcloud page:
Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces asked me to do a promo mix for his album Chimurenga Renaissance, and here it is! I really dig the beats from Shabazz Palaces and am really inspired by Tendai’s use of the Mbira, fusing forward-thinking Hip Hop beats with a tradition rooted in Shona culture (you have to see them live!). When he gave me a call one evening about this project, I jumped at the chance to do it.
When I try to do mixes I always try to base them around a central theme or concept. This one proved a challenge for me since I don’t know as much about Southern Africa as I do West Africa. But I do know that music and a contentious politics from Mozambique to South Africa to Zimbabwe to Angola are intimately intertwined in a history of struggle against colonial rule and state-based violence. So, being an outsider to all that, all I could do was try to connect the dots across national boundaries to show how the cultures (and by extension the struggles) of Southern Africans are very much intertwined.
I dug into my record collection to find a bunch of Mbira related songs from across Southern Africa including Bonga (Angola), the Kasai All Stars (Congo), and DJ Sbu (South Africa). Of course there are plenty of Zimbabwean tracks from the likes of Thomas Mapfumo, and the mix even includes a track from an album I happened to have of Tendai’s father, Dumi Maraire! Lastly I just included some of my favorite songs, like the ones from Khaled and Yossou N’Dour, that I thought fit well with Tendai’s original productions, which he in turn remixed to amazing results! I hope you enjoy what will hopefully be the beginnings of an exciting partnership!