SISTERS KILLING SETLISTS | #MAHALA MIXTAPEby Robyn Perros / 12.04.2016
WOMEN OF THE ZAKIFO INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL – DURBAN, MAY 2016
Madonna and Britney stuck their tongues in each other’s mouths. The world stopped. Pussy R!ot sabotaged a church in Moscow. The world stopped again. Miley Cyrus dry-humped a swinging iron ball. The world masturbated – then came to a grinding halt. Again.
We live in a [music] world where women’s bodies are still scrutinized. Female artists like Bjork are still largely remembered for wearing a swan dress (that one time), rather than for their revolutionary talent. Female band members still get mistaken for groupies at gigs and female beat-makers still get asked condescendingly: “are you sure you know how to operate that?”
Creative & Cultural Skills report that the gender divide across all music industry related jobs is 67.8% male to 32.2% female. Statistics consistently show that women in music earn less than their winkied counterparts and furthermore, the 2015 Reading/Leeds Festival line-up, revealed that of the 87 announced acts – 78 were male, three were female, and six were mixed.
From lady rockers, to rappers, drummers, writers, publicists, engineers, label execs and producers – there’s no denying that the music world needs more (and fairer) representation of women in the industry…
If you haven’t yet heard about Zakifo, it’s one of the most diverse live music festivals bringing some of the world’s biggest international musicians to South Africa. One of the most unique and exciting things about Zakifo (aside from the fact that it happens in Durban) is that it just so happens to have women at the forefront.
From the line-up, to the production team, to the PR, to the stage managers and content creators – the Zakifo Musik Festival has women dominating the international setlist and forming the majority of the festival’s local organizational team.
Zakifo hits Durban’s salty shores again this May and being the sister festival to Sakifo (which has been rocking for over 20 years on Reunion Island) the program is fresher than pineapples. The line-up ranges from reggae, electro, hip hop, pop, world music as well as indigenous sounds from around Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. The festival, now in its second year, happens over the weekend of 27 / 28 May 2016 with a week of music industry engagements, workshops and couch-sessions in the build-up.
The industry for women on stage and off is growing with more and more industry professionals collaborating, as apposed to competing. “I think that too little collaboration is what is holding Durban back and I think that the only way we’re going to get anywhere is by working together…” says Gabriella Peppas who has been the Zakifo event co-ordinator for two years running. “I think for me one of the really special things about Zakifo is the vision that it has. This idea of connecting Durban with a variety of other cultures and places. Taking this concept of world music, re-defining it and broadening our [musical] taste buds…” she says.
Zakifo brings a collection of people and ideas from across the globe in an attempt to connect Durban and South Africa with Indian Ocean islands and beyond. Zakifo is a space for everyone and is a symbol for what could be…
The international line-up has just been announced and this is just a taste of what’s to come from the talented women (and men… and hopefully transgenders in the future) of Zakifo 2016. Vanilla Ice may not have got too much right, but this he certainly did: “Stop. Collaborate and LISTEN…”
Change, and Zakifo, are just around the riff.
Estére – New Zealand
If you like the bands Little Dragon and Grimes, the French film Amelié, dancing around in your bedroom and women kicking the electronic beat world in the balls… Then you’ll like Estére. A lot. Estère is one-woman-band from New Zealand and produces all her own music with an MPC she calls Lola. She plays/records a mixture of bass, synth, drums, guitar, vocal harmonies, keyboard, whistles, claps, kazoo, desk tapping, and pretty much anything that makes a sweet sound. Over the last year Estère has opened for top international artists, including Morcheeba, Baths, Ikonika and KT Tunstall. She produces all her own music mostly at home in her pyjamas and is possibly the best thing since Erykah Badu…
Cold Specks – Canada
Cyndi Lauper, we love you. But no – girls don’t always “just wanna have fun.” Sometimes we also just want to punch a fucking wall, lie down on the cold tiles with a bottle of whisky in our hands, six doughnuts in our mouths and cry until our faces swell up like sponge cake… If you’re having one of those god-awful nights, we think we’ve discovered the perfect musical chase for your Scotch and it’s called Cold Specs. Cold Specks is the stage name of Canadian singer-songwriter, Ladan Hussein. She appeared on the scene in 2011 and since then, Cold Specks has worked on Moby’s album ‘Innocents’, gigged with Joni Mitchell and contributed to celebrated American jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire’s Blue Note album ‘The Imagined Saviour Is Far Easier To Paint’. She has won numerous awards, risen a million arm hairs and is pretty much the soulful-indie-goth-rock you’ve always wanted…
Maya Kamaty – Reunion Island
If you don’t know what Maloya music is… let Maya Kamaty be one of your greatest teachers. Maloya music is the traditional folk music of Reunion Island. Maloya was traditionally sung by males and was banned by the French government on the island up until 1981. Since then, local Creole culture and Maloya music has made a come back bigger than Britney’s, with female vocalists like Maya Kamaty making it their own. Maya Kamaty’s voice is the kind of sound you want to wake up to in the morning – it’s as smooth as syrup and fresher than the first summer rains. She plays traditional instruments such as the kayamb and rouler and sings predominantly in her home language, Creolé. Although Maloya forms the foundation of her sound, she is influenced by all genres – be it electro, rock, jazz, reggae and Hindustani music. She has collaborated with South African electro band, ‘Mix ‘n Blend’ and has some roots in Rajasthan, India – with slight influences of the tabla and sitar coming through in her music. Maya Kamaty will have you walking ’round your house naked, watering your dead plants and forgetting that bad days ever existed…
Inna Modja – Mali
French-Malian model and singer, Inna Modja’s bold, conscious, hip-hop-pop hails all the way from Timbuktu and lays a sucker-punch to pop music’s mouth. Her latest track ‘Timbuoctou’ busts off her brand new album Motel Bamako and although it may look like your average Blipster music video, Modja speaks out against the current political instability in northern Mali and violence against women – bra-less and in a Thomas Sankara T-shirt. Inna Modja is the Spice Girl you wish there had been and if you’re into pop music with a bit of substance – you’ll like this…
Gran’mah – Mozambique
Like most great bands, Gran’mah started out pissing off neighbours from a garage. Whether you just stubbed your toe or have been bed-ridden by a hangover – Gran’mah is your instant good mood and the cure for any ailment. Today, Gran’mah is well known throughout Mozambique for their fresh approach to reggae music making; expertly blending traditional reggae with dub, ska, hip hop, drum ‘n bass, jazz and other genres. The band consists of five (non-dread headed) members and is fronted by the talented Regina dos Santos ripping on vocals. Much like finding consistently good live music in Durban – Gran’mah is one of Southern Africa’s best kept secrets…
Kid Francescoli – France
Kid Franscescoli’s music videos (a.k.a short art films) and beautifully dreamy beats will have you roller skating through a nineties soundscape and the best gullies of your brain. They could be the next Sundance Film Festival winners. They could be the next XX. They could be the most illusively brilliant electro band you’ve heard in a while…
Blitz the Ambassador – Ghana
Take the Great Gatsby, the sexiest Sophiatown jol and stir it up in a B-Boy rap battle and you might find Afro-electro-hop musician, Blitz the Ambassador, blowing the whistle somewhere in the middle. Blitz is a visual artist, musician, composer and filmmaker born in Accra, Ghana and living in Brooklyn. Blitz started out as a visual artist and you can see the influence in his vivid music videos, album covers and meticulous personal style. Later Blitz began to focus on music and has since developed a seamless sound with fusions of South African Jazz, north African blues and some heavy ‘Bronx’ beats. Blitz is a conscious brother and it comes through in his rhymes which focus on African politics and culture. Blitz is one of the few musicians fusing all artistic mediums – and doing it all with impeccable class and the ultimate Afrocentric swagger.
Kingfisha – Australia
We get it, you’re being overloaded with new music and it’s getting exhausting. So we’ll keep it short ‘n sweet from here on out. For Kingfisha, this is essentially what it boils down to: If you’re a Fat Freddy’s Drop fan – then you’ll also be a Kingfisha fan. This superb electro reggae dub band from down-under will have you swaying until your sweat dries…
Too Many Zooz – USA
South Africa doesn’t have much of a thriving busking culture and if you came across Too Many Zooz letting rip on the pavement, you’d probably lose control of your limbs, quit your job and for the rest of your life question how you could be so goddamn boring. These are some of the wildest street performers we’ve ever come across and we can’t wait to see what they’ll be bringing to Zakifo 2016…
Songhoy Blues – Mali
The members of The Songhoy Blues were brought together independently of one another by the 2012 ban on music in northern Mali and decided to start a band. In 2015, they recorded their debut album in the UK with Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Marc-Antoine Moreau (of Amadou & Mariam). Since then, the Malian blues/contemporary rock/hip hop band have been blessing ears drums around the world. Exquisitely blending the traditional with the modern, Songhoy Blues are like finding a fruit salad buffet after a 40 day trek through the desert. Life saving. Praiseworthy. Fresh to death.
Last but certainly not least on the Zakifo International Playlist is: Ti Rat and Rouge Reggae, Sauvage and Loryzine – all hailing from Reunion Island and all equally as epic…
Ti Rat and Rouge Reggae – Reunion Island Reggae
Sauvage – Reunion Island Underground Electro
Loryzine – Reunion Island Traditional Blend
Come along for the kabaré! (that’s Creole for ‘traditional gathering with music and dance’ a.k.a a ‘jol’).
ZAKIFO MUSIK FESTIVAL – EVENT DETAILS
Zakifo Musik Festival hits the Durban heat for two nights on the 27th (Fri) and the 28th (Sat) May 2016 at the Natal Command. Full local line up will be announced in the next few weeks. Stay tuned to the Zakifo Facebook page and join the event here.
DATE: 27 & 28 May 2016 (With Mandla Zikalala’s Quintet and Vaudou Game performing at the daytime Zakifo windown gig at Rainbow Restaurant on 29 May 2016.)
PLACE: Natal Command, Durban. (After parties at The Rivertown Beerhall)
Tickets are available at Webtickets here.
Phase I (6-15 April 2016): Early Bird Weekend Pass R200 (limited numbers available)
Phase II: Weekend Pass R250
May 27 Day Pass R150
May 28 Day Pass R200
VIP Weekend Pass R600 (includes access to after parties).
All ages show: Kids under 5 FREE, minors need to be accompanied by an adult.
* Stay tuned to the Zakifo Facebook page to win tickets for two to Zakifo’s sister festival, Sakifo, taking place on Reunion Island this June.
Zakifo – it’s what you need! #Zakifo2016
*Artist images supplied
**Lead Image: Estére