Again apologies for the late postings. I know that blogging is supposed to be on the spot, up to the minute as they say. But as they also say, I am on Africa time, still, and I may just remain on Africa time, for Africa is where it all started, and Africa is where it remains.
Don't get me wrong, I honestly haven't seen much of Africa yet. I have set foot on the continent twice, and both times I stepped, I landed in Johannesburg, South Africa, so I'm no expert. BUT both times I went, I got to attend the Moshito Music Conference, where I met incredible music-centric people from all across the continent and honestly both trips had great effect on my life. You see, the best music in the world comes from Africa (you can't debate this) and all music is rooted in some way, in Africa, and whatever, I'm not here to philosophize, just suffice it to say... IT WENT DOWN!
I got in a couple of days early this time and got to hang with some friends. My hosts Tholsi Pillay and Wouter Kellerman treated me like a star, and my good friends Angel and Fresh took me for a day trip to Soweto, which was just incredible.
Seeing the pic above you might think that it was taken in Texas, no that's Soweto, different droughts I guess.
Angel and Fresh in them Soweto Streets!
We started the day off at the Hector Pieterson Museum for a little lesson on the ills of Apartheid. Not to take anything away from anyone, but the museum reminded me a lot of civil rights era America, and made me think really hard about how many peoples the world over have had to stand strong and risk their lives against the Devil to obtain some sort of semblence of freedom.
It's a really touching experience actually.
Hector was a young boy killed by police during an uprising in Soweto in 1976. Click the link above for more in depth info.
We mostly just walked the Soweto streets for a couple of hours.
Which are alive and full of great energies. I wish my cable network carried Soweto TV.
But alas it doesn't.
We didn't actually go to a Shabeen (sp?) but we did happen to go to this sandwich shop called "Dagwoods."
Yes it's called Dagwood's for obvious reasons...
The shop is actually a makeshift kitchen in a big metal container in a guys drive way in Soweto. Probably 15 people came up and ordered sandwiches while we stood there waiting for ours. Yet another incredible experience.
And then on the way back from Soweto I took some video from the car.
Peep my Dogma65 Style, and such.
See Soccer City, and right next to that, a squatters camp, and right across the road, a farm. #Diversity
Anyway, my first couple days were real cool, but then it was off to Moshito, which was also really cool.
The drive into downtown Johannesburg was a little slow as this was the day when there were huge protests in the street, just 3 blocks from my hotel.
The folks you see here in this photo are actually from another protest, of workers, not the YANC demonstration that made all the international news channels. Anyway I was like 9 blocks from my hotel and decided to get out of the car and walk the rest of the way, with my bags, on the perimeter of all the demonstartions. No worries mate, I got there fine and loved the adventure. (Oh yeah right before that I bought some Zol from a rasta sitting beneath a tree). #Joburg
The people most certainly were NOT protesting the World of Beer, no, they were not.
Ratz is a bar in Melville, a cool spot in Johannesburg where people actually go out at night. Bars, restaurants, etc. Nice area.
Met up with Andre LeRoux, the director of Moshito and some other good friends for some beers before the event kicked off the next morning.
Also saw this bird at a shopping center.
Anyway Moshito kicked off lovely! Not as much dancing as last years opening ceremony, but Andre did play Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" during his speech. The event was held at the Sci-Bono building, a really cool science center that made me wish even more that I could have brought my family. Oh well, maybe next year.
Directly after the opening address, I moderated a panel on entrepreneurship in the music business. Danny K, Wouter Kellerman and Concord Nkabinde, all South African musical legends.
It was a great way to kick off Moshito for me. I was on four panels there and all were dope but this one was real special. Cuz I got to moderate.
Conrad, Wouter and Danny K
Wouter Kellerman, Diane Coetzer and Tholsi Pillay
Ladies were in the house of course.
This panel was about setting yourself apart from the pack and getting noticed by festival bookers.
This is LIRA, big star in South Africa right now (on right) seen here with a friend.
First band I got to see was Skipper Shaballa! AMAZING!
Pretty much exactly what I wanted to see.
Luis Giménez from Spain opened the opening night show at the Bassline. So nice to be back at the Bassline. Drinking Castle's and Hansa's and such.
Toguna was up next. They come from Reunion Island and played an all acoustic set that really jammed.
No joke, just some beautiful island sounds.
This girl blew me away. Nomsa Mazwai! Aka Nomisupasta she is amazing.
Soulful, alt rock leaning, soul, electro, organic, drum n bass, with more soul, sounding jams. Just perfect.
I'll be playing her music weekly on the AustinSurreal show for a while, you can bet on that.
Colombia's Sidestepper closed out the night with a serious dance party in full effect.
Spaced out Afro-Caribbean rhythms from cloud 9. Just wonderful.
Blew me away.
The second night they had shows all over Newtown, a section of Johannesburg with some cool clubs. This guy here...
Mbuso Khoza was pretty much my favorite of the night.
Ethereal vocal jazz, I don't know what else to call it. Was very nice.
Got to hang with Fresh again too.
And OMG one of my best friends from Amsterdam, Arend Feenstra was in the place. We kicked it hard in Joburg, what an amazing surprise. Though I cannot keep up with a playa like Arend, aka Icepik the 2 Timer.
Where's his badge anyway?
Other bands I saw that night:
The Soul Servers served up a mix of classic soul and pop of sorts. Nice stuff.
The Fridge was real unique and jammin and had a lot of soul/heart and I want to hear more. Hope to make that connection soon!
And the Federation came with some seriously classic hip-hop. Sounded kinda mid-90's ish, which is not bad in my book.
Outside the Sci-Bono Center
And here's some views of Joburg from where I done stood. And rode, and such.
Gorgeous city eh?
Got to sit and chat with the folks from Sidestepper multiple times. BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE! I need to get to Colombia soon, and well, I think we may just see Sidestepper at SXSW 2012 if the stars align properly, and they should, I tell you what. WHAT A SHOW!
Hannalie coordinated the uncoordinated like myself. Thanks for that!
Finally met Tumi of Tumi and the Volume. A SOUTH AFRICAN HIP HOP LEGEND FOR SURE! And an incredible MC no matter where he is from.
Mannn, his song "Eyes Wide Shut" is one of my favorite songs of all time, OF ALL TIME.
My cousin in South Africa and his business.
The next night, I met up with my man Molefe from Blk Jks and we took a lil walk through the city in search of an art show that may or may not have happened (#Africatime)
No worries we still found some great things to look at.
Not sure why one cig machine says 16 and one says 18, but I am glad there are options.
Anyway yeah, it went down.
We walked some more and I shot more pics.
With my dudes. In the streets.
Quite a nice graf scene in Joburg. Wish I would have shot more of it. Not always an easy feat.
This girl said to me, as I was taking pictures, "Are you taking pictures?" I said "Yes," and she jumped in this one, then took off like a light.
Gorgeous eh? Miriam, oh Miriam.
So glad to see my man Marcus Gora from Zimbabwe again! He manages a group called MOKOOBA who I can't even describe. So dope. I played them on the radio show this week and will continue to do so.
Molefe, in the night.
At the Bassline on this particular night, the Africa Unites show was really goin' down. The Africa Unites show from 2010 was my Show of the Year last year hands down, and this year, its show of the year once again. OH WHAT A FEELING!
Eric Wainaina killed it!
Got a beer during Eric Wainaina's set and met this dude who used to live in Houston!
As did my man Arend. Aka Ice Pik the 2 Timer.
Nkulee Dube did as well. She is the daughter of Lucky Dude and she totally channeled her fathers spirit on this show.
Just straight up magical. I am a big fan of her late father (RIP LUCKY DUBE) and man, she did some of his songs and many of her own, and I tell you what, she put on the best reggae set I have seen in years.
Was touching and blew me away.
Headliner for the night ASA came from Nigeria and well, had the crowd rapt with emotion.
For lack of a better term, she's a soulful pop star from Nigeria and does not sound like anything you would expect from Nigeria.
GET FAMILIAR WITH HER FOR REAL!
Her album is hands down my favorite album of the moment, HANDS DOWN.
After the huge Bassline Africa Unites concert, we went next door to Shikisha for the AFTER PARTY! Where Sidestepper was playing once again.
Man oh man, they blew out the power, so Molefe got up on the drums with them, they broke out whistles, they just kept it moving.
In fact, it was so jammin' that I didn't even realize that they were doing all this because the sound blew, I thought they were just caught in the moment. And what a moment it was.
I will never miss a Moshito Conference if I can help it. In fact, I think I am now the US rep and then some for Moshito, so yeah, I'ma probably drag a bunch of you along with me to Joburg next year. And you won't regret it. I am already counting the daze....