UNDERGROUND PRESS is delighted to announce that we have been invited to the third annual Zafiko Music Festival, Durban which boasts over 20 of the finest international music-makers from UK, Jamaica, USA, Belgium, France, Niger, Congo, Tanzania and South Africa, with huge stages, a cultural area, food carts and stalls, craft beer bars, local traders and interactive installation art exhibits.
Zafiko, which was started by Jerome Galabert, Sipho Sithole and Andy Davis, is a member of Igoda which is a music festival circuit that includes Sakifo Festival, Azgo festival, Bassline Africa Day concert, and Bushfire festival. These festivals happen over a period of three weeks and have created an artist and festival goer touring circuit in the Southern African region.
We take a look at five artists who will be performing at this years Zafiko Music Festival.
Tiggs Da Author is one of international Hip Hop's rising stars if you don’t yet recognise his name, you will almost definitely recognise his work. His single ‘Run’ made its debut on Later With Jools late last year and was also included on FIFA 16.
Tiggs has spent the summer on the festival circuit playing Glastonbury Festival, British Summer Time, Main Square Festival in France, Lovebox, Standon Calling, Belladrum Festival, Pukkelpop and Lowlands Festival with appearances at Zafiko in Durban, South Africa and Sakifo and St Pierre, Reunion respectively.
Having moved from Tanzania to London at the age of eight, Tiggs is a particularly individual proposition. As influenced by obscure 60s documentaries as he is by east African Jazz, Grime MC Dizzee Rascal and classic Motown acts, the 25-year-old multi-faceted poet, rapper, singer, songwriter and producer is truly one of a kind.
As well as Lady Leshurr, Tiggs is currently working with Show N Prove, Futurecut (Rihanna, Lily Allen) and Mark Ralph (Years & Years). Of his upcoming debut album, Tiggs says “I don’t want to say too much about it yet, it’s early days, but this isn’t a run-of-the-mill record. I want to be brave and daring in everything I do while making sure the music, the melodies, the beats are really well executed,” he says. “I’m creating a movie with each track, it’s all a slice of my life, an insight into my thoughts and feelings. It might seem straightforward - moving from London to Tanzania, learning to speak English, learning to make music - but the chapters are still being written. My story is only really just beginning.”
With a personal history that reflects a range of African and African Diaspora cultures, Durban composer, songstress and producer, Lu Dlamini has been regaling audiences with her vibrant performances, meaningful lyrics and effortlessly magnificent voice.
“Heritage is a gift handed down from the past I celebrate my heritage with the sounds of hope, purpose, truth and wisdom,” says Dlamini. ‘I celebrate family for standing strong when times are tough. I celebrate all South African communities for thriving in hard conditions and fighting together to create a healthy, cohesive environment for our children.”
Lu Dlamini comes from a large family filled with illustrious musicians. Her brother, ethnomusicologist Dr Sazi Dlamini, is a recipient of the coveted eThekwini Living Legend Award. Her eldest brother, Njeza Dlamini, is also a musician, who plays the guitar, T-Box Bass and sings; and then there is Sphelele Dlamini, who plays the flute.
Singer/ composer Lu Dlamini reveals her phenomenal talent through her most recent album Ulimi-Lami, a collection of songs that celebrate the capacity of the creative individual to personalise a signature art form and make it deeply appealing. Lu’s voice has depth and range on the physical level; but it is the vehicle for soulful, intelligent and emotional comment in every note. A mature artist with a huge body of experience, this beautiful album is set to spark fires of passionate acknowledgement wherever it is heard.
Ray Phiri is one of South African music’s landed gentry – whose legendary career as a singer, guitarist and composer are still going strong after 40 years in show business.
“I’m a student of life and I’ll never stop discovering, creating and exploring,” says 70-year-old Phiri of his energy to continue to record, perform and write while others might be enjoying a quieter life.
Phiri grew up with a passion for music and started playing guitar at a very tender age, inspired by his late father Kanyama Phiri. He learned to play a variety of music instruments, including the piano and drums. Despite now being known as a performer, guitarist and composer, Phiri got his first break in 1962 as a dancer when he danced for the legendary Dark City Sisters when they performed in the Eastern Transvaal. He made enough money to fulfil his ambition to travel to Johannesburg. He became a founder member of the 1970s soul music group, the Cannibals. When they disbanded, he founded Stimela (Steam Train), with whom he produced a slew of gold- and platinum-winning albums.
Phiri was part of the eight-month-long Graceland Tour, a global trek headed by American singer Paul Simon. While successful, the tour was fraught with controversy, but it helped the South Africans to make names for themselves abroad. He is the founder of the Ray Phiri Artists Institute, which nurtures music talent in Mpumalanga.
Phiri was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver in 2011 for his contribution to the SA music industry and his ability to use music as a tool for transformation, and a Lifetime achievement Award at the 18th South African Music Awards in 2012.
“I have always been driven by a deep curiosity for the world around me and a passion for making music that’s is deeply planted in the country that I was born into,” he considers. “It’s never been my objective to make commercial music but instead to transform South African music into something respectable. In the end, it’s your art that remains when everything else has gone.”
Thandiswa Mazwai began her career in 1998 with Bongo Maffin, one of the pioneering bands of Kwaito. After six award-winning albums with Bongo Maffin, she ventured onto a solo career.
Born in the year of the Soweto Uprising (1976), she has always felt that she has the soul of a rebel. "My work gave me an opportunity to share my thoughts and have a meaningful conversation with my generation about Blackness, Africaness, about some of the social ills that plague us, and also about freedom and joy. Music gave me an opportunity to feed my revolutionary self."
Her compositions today include traditional Xhosa rhythms, mbaqanga, reggae, kwaito, funk and jazz. Through this, Thandiswa straddles the urban and the rural, effortlessly melding the traditional with the modern. And it is with this spirit that Thandiswa has performed all over the world. Most recently, she featured on Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary Tour, performing to audiences all over Europe.Thinking about the future, she says "I would like to play all over the world to new audiences and share my music and perspective. I also want to make albums that will merge the sound from my part of the world with the sounds of Mali, Jamaica, the jazz underground in the USA, Brazil, Cuba, and the Congo. I am also interested in exploring electronic music, dub and funk, even punk... I guess I want to do it all."
The Soil is a South African acapella 3-member group whose is a blend of contemporary township style and an eclectic mix of urban contemporary which fuses beat box and soul. The other three members of the group take a physical form: Buhlebendalo Mda, Luphindo Ngxanga, and Ntsika Fana Ngxanga. The fourth member of the group exists in a spiritual form as The Creator of all.
Defined as Kasi Soul, the group’s music features (in a contemporary township style), an eclectic mix of musical genres such as jazz, hip-hop, Afro-pop and Afro-soul). The group’s musical style is evident in its rhythmic vocal bass line, with constant beatboxing – a distinct feature in the music – whilst the remaining voices contribute to the choral and polyphonic accompaniment. Equal and up to the challenge, each of the group members take turns in solo vocal performance to display their most beautiful rendition of the melodic verses embedded in each song.
The Soil strives to fuse their voices to deliver melodic and harmonious messages that are aimed at uplifting and healing souls all around the world.
Catch all of these artists and much more this weekend at the third Zafiko Music Festival at Blue Lagoon. We look forward to being a part of this awesome cultural experience!