Bob Perfect’s guide to Zakifo Musik Festival

Okay, so, this intro is pretty short because I don’t really have time right now. I agreed to do this list of 5 acts to catch at Zakifo before I remembered that the actual week of working on a fest is chaos. Luckily for me, I’m mostly handling the after parties and managing artists at the fest, so I’ve got a bit more time than most of the team who are sweating away until midnight every day this week. Uh, if you don’t know (why don’t you know?), Zakifo is a dope music festival happening in Durban this weekend. The lineup is batshit good and features a mix of local talents like Kwesta, aKing, Gigi Lamayne, BCUC, Tidal Waves, DJ Lag, Sibot & Toyota, Common Creatives, Driemanskap, and international acts like Cold Specks (CAN), Estere (NZ), Songhoy Blues (MALI), Kid Francescoli (FRA) and a few more who you can spot on the poster. I’ve never seen a lineup quite like it which is why I’m stoked I get to help out a bit.

Zakifo

The whole lineup is too solid and picking just five acts to focus on seems unfair, but these are the 5 acts that I’m most keen to see this weekend.

Black Math

Any time I get asked to write a list and I can put Black Math on that list, I will. Black Math are the embodiment of everything good about rock ‘n’ roll with none of the cheese. None of this “Look at me daddy, I wear a leather jacket” bullshit, just furious riffage, pounding drums, groovy basslines with some banshee screams thrown in for good measure. They’re everything your favourite fuccboi band wishes they were: Effortlessly cool and humble, yet absolute demons on stage. If you haven’t had the aural pleasure of experiencing Black Math live yet, you better change that at the Urban Zulu Stage on Friday at 22:45.

Tresor

Tresor’s voice is stunningly beautiful and he makes some of the most heartfelt pop music you’ll ever hear. I had the privilege of interviewing him after the release of his first single and it’s been a real joy to watch his career bloom over the years. Tresor came to Durban from the DRC in 2007 to pursue a career in music. He worked as a car guard by day and security guard by night whilst making inlets into the local music scene. 9 years later, he’s signed to Sony and Ultra, collabing with AKA, Beatenberg, Khuli Chana and The Soil, and living the good life in JHB. I’m actually yet to see Tresor live so I’m going to relish the opportunity this Saturday at 17:15 on the Papa Wemba Stage.

Too Many Zooz

Brass acts at festivals are always a recipe for a good time and while Zakifo has a number of wind instrumentalists to choose from, Too Many Zooz are who I’m most looking forward to. Too Many Zooz contributed to Beyonce’s Lemonade but rose to fame busking in the subways of New York. I don’t know much more about them than that, but watching Youtube clips of them has convinced me that the crowd is going to be sweating when they play. The “brasshouse” trio combine sax, trumpet and a drum into an uptempo blend of jazz, house and a mixed bag of genres that’s impossible to stay still to. They’re up at 22:45 on the Urban Zulu Stage on Saturday.

Blitz The Ambassador

Blitz The Ambassador is originally from Ghana but he’s made his name as a rapper in Brooklyn. The guy is pure class, delivering mindful lyrics with a smooth flow, all backed by a live band. Even though he’s been at it for over a decade, I only found out about Blitz through his KEXP session. In it, he comes across as an insightful artist who cares a great deal about what he expresses. With some artists that can be pretentious but Blitz comes across as sincere. I’ve been catching up on his catalogue for the fest and I recommend everyone gives Afropolitan Dreams a listen from start to finish. If you can listen to it and not be touched, you’re probably Disney’s next villain. Blitz is on the Papa Wemba Stage on Friday at 22:00.

Moonchild & Maramza

It’s pretty hard not to have fun when Moonchild is on stage. I first saw her a few years ago when she was living and performing in Durban, but the current Moonchild is a whole new female version of a hustler. Since moving to JHB she’s signed with Post Post, hit up SXSW and has had a number of tracks on rotation before the 90% quota – the most recent of which is ‘Fox With That’, a cheeky uptempo number with Maramza, who she’s sharing the stage with at Zakifo. What I love about Moonchild is how she playfully commands the stage, bouncing around whilst singing about the social ills and the importance of using condoms. It might seem weird to dance when someone is handing out life lessons, but Moonchild has the charisma to pull it off. You can catch Moonchild & Maramza on the Rickshaw stage at 22:45 on Friday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar40PlbuXJM

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Zakifo runs from 27 – 28 May. For more details or to buy tickets visit www.zakifo.com

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