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10AND5 TALKS TO THE ACTS OF FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE | COMING 18 SEPTEMBER 2021

Spring in Johannesburg is set to be filled with sounds created by a diverse range of amazing artists at one of the city’s most eagerly anticipated annual events. The headline acts for this year’s Fête de la Musique Joburg have been announced: Award winning jazz trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni; afrocentric ancient futurists The Brother Moves On; pioneering art rockers Blk Jks and SAMA awarded songstress Maleh will be on stage at four locations as part of this popular festival on the 18th of September 2021.

Joining the headliners at the four different stages in Johannesburg and Soweto are the artists selected during the call out for musicians and DJ to be part of the Fête de la Musique Joburg:  Ms Party, Mx Blouse, Melo B Jones, Ikati Esengxoweni, LaliBoi, Manu Grace,  Basadi ba Mintsu, Bobo Jay Nzima, Andee SSS, DJ Binz, Shotgun Tori and the Hound, Sibusiso Mashiloane, Simba Ci, Spokenpriestess, Sun Xa Experiment and Tshepang Ramoba.

We caught up Maleh, BLK JKS, Melo B Jones, Shotgun Tori & The Hound, Mandla Mlangeni, and The Brother Moves On to get a sneak peek into what you can expect at this year’s festival!

Malehloka Hlalele, popularly known as Maleh, is back with a brand new Afro Pop album titled ‘Tones of the Queen’ which celebrates the journey women take into finding alignment, realising their worth, and pursuing their destinies, against all odds. 

What can your fans look forward to this year?

I have been working on my 4th studio album for the last year and a half; It is titled Tones of The Queen and will be available online in mid-October. The first single dropping on 24 September. I have been working with a Nigerian producer – Goldsmith – and what makes it exciting is that it is a collaboration between myself coming from Lesotho and him being West African. I think you can hear the beautiful blend of those very different sounds from the respective parts of Africa that we both hail. Collaborating with an artist from within Africa has been very exciting. We brought the elements we each identify with – from the drum patterns to the basslines has been very exciting. 

So, I think that fusion is something to look forward to, and it is one of the things I’m looking ahead to presenting with the music. The first single is titled Dem Go Say, which is Pidgin for “they’ll be talking about us and saying whatever they want to say about us” but, it’s a beautiful song that features a rapper also from Nigeria who goes by the name Small Money. It’s a beautiful fusion of different African sounds from West Africa down to Southern Africa, and that’s one of the highlights for me, that fusion in particular. 

What has inspired this year’s performance?

With this album’s sound, I wanted to present my voice which is often associated with soulful, sultry music, in a much different way. I wanted to challenge my voice and place it in genres fans were not expecting or just different sounds and tones of the music that fans have not heard me on. So, from the soulful sound people are usually used to, to more reggae tones which, I had not previously explored, and Afrobeat from Naija and some RnB sounds like on Midnight Blue and Uthando. Most people know me from my house music collaborations so, I have two house songs on my album that I believe people will enjoy. I’ve traditionally stuck to Afro-jazz and Afro-soul as my genres, but this album allows me to explore the different genres I love and enjoy. This fresh take is how I want to present this particular body of work this time around. 

As an artist, being unable to perform live this year has been difficult so, being on the lineup for Fête de la Musique means I get to reconnect to the best part of my job; being live on stage. I believe that this separation and not having had the opportunity to perform in the last, you know, almost two years is the driving force for my performance. I will be getting back onto the stage with even more energy and a bigger show, even just in terms of choreography. That’s something that I want to achieve and get right; lifting people’s spirits after such a long time of being locked away. 

How has the pandemic affected you/your process?

The pandemic has been incredibly hard and heavy on the world. Everybody has suffered in one way or another, and I think artists and everybody in the entertainment industry have been affected by it. Our income is dependent on live shows, and not being able to work for so long has been extremely hard financially and creatively. Our drive and purpose as artists lay in connecting with people and exchanging energies through our stage performances.

But, in the same breath, I think that the pandemic has challenged artists to challenge themselves and dig deep into the heart of why we are the creatives that we are, why we make music, why we do the kind of work that we do. Right, now being an artist is essential, and I think that all of us are rising to the challenge of being more present online because that is one of the only spaces that we can be available to our fans and supporters. So, in that respect, I think I have managed to connect to my fans even more. I have also been in the studio for most of the year as well. It has been helpful to have been in a thoughtful and creative space while working on my music. We are in a time where people are going through difficulties. This creative space allows me to reflect on who we are as the human race and to observe that love is what counts at the end of the day.

How has your musical process changed over the course of the last year?

My musical process certainly has changed over the past year. For one, working with a new producer has been very interesting. They’re someone who challenges me and pushes me to be better. During the process, I’d sometimes find that I’ll write a song idea, present it to my producer and often get sent back to the drawing board kicking and screaming. But, I’ve recognised that there is something beautiful about reshaping and redefining your thoughts around how to approach a song and, I think that’s one of the things that I recall being a challenge for me. The idea is that you don’t necessarily have to present the very first thought you have and that you can go back and rethink it, reimagine it, and rework it. 

The songs had so many different versions before they finally became the version that we’re putting out. I’ve been very open to the idea of incorporating other people’s thoughts and ideas into the music, so that’s been very cool. It’s also been great to collaborate and share the space with other artists. Working with Small Money has been one of the most exciting experiences. He brought so much colour to the album! I also have a first time DJ collaboration which I find to be empowering as the vocalist features the Dj this time.

What message do you hope your audience leaves with?

The message I hope that my audience leaves with is that life is precious. I want my performance to remind the fans of how special music is. How special the moment that we will all be sharing on that particular day will be, and just how precious that moment will be because it will have been a long time since we could go outside and enjoy the art form of music and come together to have fun and lift our burdens.

In one word, describe the feeling you’re hoping to impart to your crowd.

I hope to impart a feeling of hope. I believe that the energy that we’re going to share will give us that. The feeling that says: “Hey, you know what? It’s going to be okay”. And I know that most people have lost loved ones. We have collectively lost people, and after so much loss and mourning, hope is what I want my audience to have. 


BLK JKS band members
BLK JKS released their second LP “Abantu / Before Humans” on the 7th of May 2021 via Glitterbeat Records (Worldwide) & We Are Busy Bodies (North America)

What can your fans look forward to this year?

Hola, Hallo! Well, those in SA 🇿🇦 can expect a few shows here & there. These have been slow going due to COVID but, they’ll be (extra) special nonetheless, as it has been a while since we’ve been out there. For everyone else around the world 🌍, shows will commence next year, and there’s a new album for you to stream. It’s a gift we believe will keep on giving.

What has inspired this year’s performance?

Years of not performing! We are hella amped and hella ready.  

How has the pandemic affected you?

This is difficult to grasp right now. I think it is still affecting us. We haven’t yet reached the point where we can almost ‘tally the score’.

How has your musical process changed over the course of the year?

We’ve been in a heavy period of reflection, meditation & creation since 2018. COVID hitting in 2020 put a pause in our process. Luckily though, some of the results from this period have already made it into the world. But, yeah, that’s where we’re at. Feeling inspired & it feels good!

What message do you hope your audience leaves with?

It’s a live show so, it always remains to be seen. We can’t dictate what the vibes will be & therefore neither we nor the audience can possibly know this beforehand…That’s What Makes It Exciting.

In one word, describe the feeling you’re hoping to impart to your crowd.

LOL – Can It Be An Emoji Instead ?

🌙


Shotgun Tori & The Hound

How do you feel about performing at Fete de la Musique this year?

I feel incredibly honored to be on this line-up, and I am SO excited to perform for actual people.

If you could have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?

That watching a show had inspired them to go home and create something – whether it be a piece of art, a song, a baby (just kidding about that last one)

How has the pandemic affected you?

Much like everyone else, there have been a LOT of cancelled shows and moments of frantic scrambling for a ‘pivot’. On the other hand there has been a quiet crystallization of purpose, the definitive decision to make music my focus. Prior to 2020, a number of environmental factors had splintered my priorities and the pandemic served as an alarm clock. It woke me up. Music making has become both an act of survival, and of radical self love. ALSO, I started my podcast ‘Shotgun Story’ as an investigation into the meaning behind why artists create. And I am consistently inspired and delighted by the indie artists I chat to. It all makes a lot more sense when I can see just how connected we are, AND how important it is that we keep lifting each other up. And in the end, despite the destruction the pandemic has left in its (continued) wake, the people I love who have lost the battle, and the financial uncertainty, I’m grateful.

How has your musical process changed over the course of the year?

Funny that you ask that question… because it’s changed fairly dramatically. I used to write songs therapeutically – when I was dealing with something pressing I would need to get it out of me and that would birth a song, and those songs would eventually (sometimes 5 years after they were first written!!) become an album (which we would hash out with the band before going into studio to record). 

These days I right consistently – daily writing sessions bloom into weekly songs that I record the demos of on Garageband (to a click track, with harmonies) and then release on my Buy Me A Coffee page, for supporters who are as excited about the process as I am (with the ultimate intention of choosing the very finest of the songs to record in studio to release officially.) I’ve started grabbing all of the opportunities to practice a guitar scale, record a quick collaboration, interview an artist for the podcast, do an object writing exercise, or learn a new song on the ukelele (mostly to make sweet upside down tutorials for left handed folk on a right handed instrument). There is so much joy attached to carving out a life I want to actively participate in. And joy feels like something worth preserving.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Playing shows! It’s my happy place. Long may the world continue to open up.


Globally acclaimed The Brother Moves On is made up of Ayanda Zalekile on vox & bass, Simphiwe Tshabalala on vox & drums, Siyabonga Mthembu on vox & chants, Zelizwe Mthembu on vox and guitar, Mthunzi Mvubu on alto sax and flute, Muhammad Dawjee on tenor sax and Malcolm Jiyane on trombone.  

How do you feel about performing at Fete De La Musique? 

Fete De La Musique is close to our heart as we were central to convincing Converse/a shoe brand  for the first FDLM’s road closure. It was also where we chose to do a second line funeral procession which was one of our fantasies for years. 

If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be? 

We do it our way, its hard for us to even contain this space called TBMO or explain what it is. Its in the doing. 

How has the pandemic affected you? 

I think it would be easier to answer how has it not. 

How has your musical process changed over the course of the year? 

Look at the bright side we still working. We have 2 albums due for release. We thank the Gods. 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

The release of our homage album Tolika Mtoliki with Matsuli Records on the 1st of November and a Euro tour in late January.


Melo B Jones is a singer/songwriter/boombaptist living and creating music in the vibrant  city of Johannesburg, South Africa. 

How do you feel about performing at Fete de la Musique this year?

I’m so excited! I’ve applied quite a few times over the past years but I guess when it’s right its right, and right now it’s my turn. 

If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?

That I’m a dynamic performer. It’s one of my passions (performing) and I hope they can/will always feel that come through. 

How has the pandemic affected you?

It’s been tough. As a full time musician who depends mostly on live shows for a living, this pandemic has completely changed the scope of what being a musician looks like today. I’ve had to rely on my side hustles to keep me going but I’m also fortunate enough to have the support of my parents – which has been my biggest relief/help. 

How has your musical process changed over the course of the year?

I haven’t been writing as much as I used to. I’ve found other ways to be creative and as a result, created a series called #AMeloSunday where I perform and record acapella covers using my loop station. The reception has been great and feeling connected (even just virtually) has kept me going. 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Definitely the festival!


Mandla Mlangeni is a Johannesburg-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader. A superbly talented player, Manda is a member of the SAMA-nominated group Amandla Freedom Ensemble and has toured extensively as a member of the Cape Town Opera.

What can your fans look forward to this year?

Fans of my sound can look forward to an ever changing sound spectrum of colour. This time in the form of a trio featuring bassist Ariel Zamonsky and drummer Gus Marutha. We will be performing a selection of of some new tunes and a some new offerings.

What has inspired this year’s performance?

The need to be on stage and perform is the biggest inspiration. Knowing that tons of people will tuning in to this years instalment of the Fete is inspiration reloaded.

How has the pandemic affected you?

The pandemic has severely crippled the arts and entertainment industry but if anything that I have learnt from the pandemic is to learn to be resilient and have a support system you can count on.

How has your musical process changed over the course of the year?

I have more time to practice and flesh out my ideas. I can absorb myself completely in the process of learning and adapting to the changing times.

What message do you hope your audience leaves with?

The message I would like to impart to people who listen to my music is to take each moment as it comes as it might not come again. Value the people in your lives and make time to to check on the people you value the most. And yes don’t be afraid to love , love love, love.

In one word, describe the feeling you’re hoping to impart to your crowd.

Hope!


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http://www.fetedelamusiquejhb.co.za/ 

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