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High, low notes of 2013

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TO SW Best Skwatta

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Skwatta Kamp

This was a rather non-year for music releases in South Africa, but the year did see a rush of releases for artists to qualify for the MTN South African Music Awards (Samas) next year. Khuli Chana dominated the event this year with three wins. Rock suffered a huge loss when DStv moved the MK channel online instead of keeping it part of their bouquet. And we are still waiting for the release of kwaito's Dr Malinga and Trompies. Mafikizolo dominated from the moment they released Khona and Happiness and Uhuru are fast gaining a reputation as performers and producers. Herewith the best and worst of 2013.

 

Therese Owen

Best Launch

 

SABC1 kept their launches to a minimum allegedly because of the financial mismanagement which is embedded in their business culture. However, the launch of their new music show, Sunday Chillaz, was a lovely event.

They held a picnic in a mansion somewhere in Northcliff Corner, Joburg. Everyone chilled on blankets with picnic baskets and a spit braai to the sounds from Monoea, Vusi Nova and DJing by Kaya FM’s Wandi and (surprise, surprise) DJ Amu.

The production was put together by Shugasmakx and if these early events are anything to go by, he and his company Meca have a bright future ahead of them.

 

Saddest Moment

 

The final performance by my favourite rap group of all time, Skwatta Kamp. The farewell gig was held in a great venue in Soweto, called Zone 6. Shugasmakx, Slikour, Flabba, Bozza and the rest of the crew gave a great performance and made us realise why we fell in love with these pioneers of South African rap all those years back.

I shall miss the sexy testosterone that powered its way off the stage whenever they performed.

Rau! Rau!

 

Best Live Performance

 

Jack Parow performed at Kirsten-bosch two Sundays ago and was just world class. His guests included Francois van Coke and David Kramer. Parow is working on an acoustic album so did an acoustic and plugged set. He is a prolific lyricist and his cussing inbetween sets did not seem to offend the 5 000- strong crowd. The magni- ficent Kirstenbosch setting with the backdrop of an imperious mountain made it that extra special.

 

Song of the Year

 

Of course, it’s a toss up between Mafikizolo’s two tracks, Khona and Happiness. However, I am going with Happiness because it’s just a tad more out there than Khona. And when the sweet Nhlanhla Nciza does that king, king, king king cariking, king part, it puts a smile on everyone’s dial.

 

Album of the Year

 

Hands down, this goes to Nakhane Toure’s debut album, Brave Confusion. His mixture of Prince, David Bowie and Talking Heads meets African rhythms combined with his gentle voice and sad lyrics sets my gothic heart on fire. There are dark moments followed by descriptions of such beautiful love. This definitely will go down as a classic album.

 

Comeback Queens

 

Mafikizolo burst onto the scene in 2003, bringing a new sound to Afro-pop. They were huge. A few years later they took a break to focus on their solo careers.

This year they returned with a new album and a totally new sound, one that mixes West African beats and chants with South African dance music.

Since March there is nowhere to go that you’ll not hear their music and nine months down the line the tracks are still big. Plus, they are now the queens of Africa and tour the continent regularly. Rumour has it they have learnt well from their Nigerian counterparts and charge in US dollars outside of our country.

This must mean they just lurv our president and his increasingly bad foot-in-mouth disease.

 

Best Producers

 

Uhuru are responsible for bringing a new sound to South African music.

These Kalawa Jazmee producers are exploring a continental sound and aside from their work with Mafikizolo, Professor, L’Vovo and remixes of various other stable mates’ work, their second album, Our Father, is flying off the shelves.

Wondering whether they would translate to a live act, I was suitably impressed when they played the Metro FM Music Awards in Durban last weekend. With Our Father they are finally going to move outside the studio and become recognised for their live shows. First South Africa, then the continent.

 

Idiot of the Year

 

Jub Jub, for thinking he could secure less jail time for that horrific car accident in which he killed four school children and severely injured two others.

 

Most Cringeworthy Moment

 

Toya Delazy opening the MTN South African Music Awards.

What were the producers thinking? The so-called rapper can’t rap, can’t sing and certainly can’t dance and those lasers certainly did nothing. The viewership for this year’s Samas was apparently the lowest it has been in some years.

With people having access to remote controls and ever more choices of channels, the Samas should be very careful not to put talentless artists on their show.

 

Most Undeservingly Overbooked Artist

 

Toya Delazy. See above.

 

International Act of the Year

 

Metallica – louder, harder, faster. Nuff said.

 

The How Did You Not Know That? Award

 

This goes to the fans of Rihanna who were so shocked that she mimed during her South African concert and is a bad dancer. Like, duh, I could have told you that on first viewing of Pon de Replay.

Babe of the Year

 

DJ Zinhle for that sexy Legit campaign. The pictures, that body, that beautiful shiny, black skin. It was an iconic campaign.

 

Collaboration of the Year

 

In this time of collaborations, the popular crossover track was DJ Kent featuring The Arrows with Spin My World. However, that was just one track.

Then there was Revolution featuring Black Motion with the track Noqatiko.

However, Laurie Levine and Josie Field’s live collaboration was just mind-blowing. These two young accomplished singers and songwriters unexpectedly complement each other.

With two tours under their belts and a limited edition EP already released, expect great things when the duo release a full-length album next year.

 

Label of the Year

 

This is a no-brainer. Kalawa Jazmee have dominated the radio stations, the music TV shows and the dance floors for the past two years.

From Mahoota and Vetkuk to Mafikizolo, Heavy K, Oskido, Candy, DJ Zinhle Nokwazi, Uhuru, Busiswa and Dr Malinga, Kalawa are going into their 20th year next year as the kings of South African music.

 

Freakiest Moment

 

How does our darling Khuli Chana go from dominating the Samas to being charged with attempted murder, a charge which he has, in turn, laid against the SAPS?

Oh, yeah, I forgot, this is South Africa and everything is possible.

 

Worst Video

 

Donald has a nasty video in which he either appears in a shower to show off his biceps, walks in the rain wearing a see-through wet T-shirt to, yup, show off his biceps, or lies in bed with a woman to, well, you get the picture.

Overkill of the bare-chested boyfriend.

 

Best Video

 

The Arrows’ Disaster Queen. The two lasses took street fighting classes for this violent, fast action video that pushed video boundaries in South Africa. Unfortunately, after MK was whipped off DStv, the video was nowhere to be seen except for YouTube. Well worth a visit.


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