Denmark-born, DJ, producer and record collector, Simone Ahà, reveals his indispensable kwaito/bubblegum classics.
By: Simon Lundsgaard
I have always been very enthusiastic about the process of discovering new music.
For a while, I have been aware of the existence of South African kwaito and bubblegum, but it was not until I heard Sandy B’s Student Night being played inside a small club, in Berlin, that I knew I had to dig into South African music.
Since then, I have eagerly searched for information about the history of South African music. I have even travelled to the country in order to explore and immerse myself more into the kwaito/bubblegum genre.
Here Kwaito/bubblegum that I have fallen in love with:
Malebu Satari – Smile (1986)
I love the way the arrangement and production play together in this song. It was done by Don Laka and Sidwell Duda. The sound of the synthesizer in the beginning is unreal, in a very cheesy way.
Mashedo – Buttherworth (1990)
Buttherworth is a sublime piece of music from a bubblegum album with so many other good tracks. I do not know much about the band; I just really enjoy their style and sound.
Ayobayo Band – The World Is Turning Around (1990)
I just fell directly in love with Sandy B’s lo-fi kwaito sound the first time I heard it. The EP (of the same name) has just been reissued on Canadian label, Invisible City Editions. It contains other really good tracks like Student Night and Lifake.
Jivaro – Feel Me (1989)
This bubblegum/reggae ballad comes from the album Saturday Fever, which contains a lot of good stuff. Also check out Your Way Is My Way and What Next.
Senyaka – Fuquza/African Rap (1987)
Senyaka needs no introduction. I stumbled upon this track in a video interview with Senyaka, made for a Swedish tv documentary, and I just had to find the song. I am still desperately looking for the vinyl and the music video, which is nowhere to be found online.
Spokes H – Peace Magents (1997)
Everytime I listen to this kwaito classic, I feel like a teenager again. Spokes H is undeniably my favourite kwaito-artist. I was very lucky to find the album in a CD-store in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Kamazu – Indiba Kabani (1991)
I just love everything I have heard from Kamazu. This album is an experimentation with house music and has appeared on many DJ-sets around the globe.
Volcano – Vanonyana Lava (1993)
After having dominated the 80’s with bubblegum, Volcano went on to produced the album Tshigubu Tshanga, which has more of a house flavour.
Emotion – Give Me The Feeling (1987)
This track is produced by Sidwell Duda. It was released on a maxi with one other track on the b-side. Both of the tracks are very groovy.
Simon will be playing at Agog Gallery (Maboneng) on 22 November (19h00).
Simon Lundsgaard is a music producer, DJ and record collector from Denmark, currently visiting South Africa to research identity through South African kwaito in the ’90s.
Simon is looking for South African bubblegum and kwaito releases on vinyl and CD, and is also interested in seeing your record collection. If you have any records or information for his research, contact him on:
Facebook: Simon Lundsgaard