Ever since I started this thing I have been trying to collect enough kwaito or kwaito-ish house for a Township edition of Ghetto Palms. In the process of researching my kwaito feature in F52, I not only picked up a bunch of kwaito jams but I sort of accidentally discovered the micro-genre called Pretoria house (sometimes Pitori house or just Township house) by lucking upon the Youtube video for DJ Mujava’s “Township Funk” around the same time Warp Records did. As mentioned in the Gen F profile on Mujava in F58, that sound has become a movement unto itself. Based in Pretoria — which is to Joburg sort of like Philly is to NY — it’s separate from the Jozi kwaito scene and has it’s own little constellation of star producers and artists: DJ Ghost, DJ Tsala, Machance, Bojo Mujo and of course Elvis Maswanganyi aka Mujava.
So what follows is 20 minutes of material that runs the spectrum from township house to housey kwaito. The kwaito tracks are dominated by beats from the inimitable DJ Cleo, who personally told me he wanted to take kwaito back to it’s club roots. It also seems like the kwaito hit “Ndiya Ndiya”—which Cleo produced for Pretoria artist Zulu Naja — was inspired by Pitori house and was partially responsible for a revitalization of the SA dance scene a few years ago. It definitely seemed pretty bloodclot vital when I was boogieing my ass off in Alex township in Nov ’07, and with the 2010 World Cup on the horizon, I imagine people’s heads are gonna start exploding in Club Zambezi any time now.
Anyway, the real catalyst for this column was the technology that allowed me to rip mp3s off Youtube videos (which is the only way you can find some of this stuff) and explains the extremely compressed sound quality in places. I’ve worked a couple of these into previous mixes, whether in this space, on East Village Radio or the FADER Africa issue podcast, but this the first chance I’ve had to put them in context, so to speak.
Remind me and I’ll post the interviews with both Mujava and Cleo sometime.
Kwaito/Pitori House blend:
DJ Cleo, “Kata Kata”
DJ Cleo, “Mind Ckuf”
DJ Cleo ft. Bleksem, “Wena”
DJ Mujava, “Moribo”
DJ Mujava, “Township Funk”
Bojo Mujo, “Areyeng”
Zulu Naja, “Ndiya Ndiya”