DJ Travella [TZ] // Phelimuncasi [SA] // SPORT7000
DJ Travella (TZ)
At only 20 years old, Dar Es Salaam’s DJ Travella represents a new wave of singeli producers who are driving Tanzania’s breakneck dance sound into fresh, innovative spaces. Unaffiliated with any of the well-known studios like Sisso and Pamoja, Hamadi Hassani’s music points singeli’s fusion of taraab and techno towards the stars, locating a cyber-singeli style that’s dense, kinetic and unashamedly sexy.
Phelimuncasi are comprised of vocalist twins Makan Nana and Khera and Malathon. They formed in 2012 in the Mlaszi township of Durban South Africa, using Gqom as a vehicle for theatrical storytelling and social commentary. From early on they collaborated with genre defining Gqom producers DJ MP3 and DJ Scoturn to develop their signature style. Highly influential in the local scene their pioneering, vivid conversation-style vocals over dark brooding beats would later be emulated by many other acts.
In their own words, “We wanted to make people dance of course, but we also wanted to make music that enchanted or poisoned our audience. We wanted people who hear our music to stop what they were doing.”
Phelimuncasi’s music definitely enchants. Imbued with an immense storytelling tradition that harks back to South African Toyi Toyi protest, where singing was often used for intimidating the South African police and security forces during anti-apartheid demonstrations and, more recently, to express grievances against government policies and anti-privatization struggles.