“Whoa, that’s a South African sound?!”

Simply put this is an article about South Africa songs I assumed were from anywhere but South Africa when I first heard them. This could be down to the content of the lyrics, a use of accent, sound association or just mere assumption.

I think of songs such as Brian Temba’s Dominoes, Indigo Girl by Watershed or the slightly older hits such as My Only by Coleske, It’s Gonna Rain Tonight by Blonde & Pappa, Love Me Now by Neville Nash or Quick Quick by Marc Alex.

So, once more I have decided to challenge some friends and collaborators of Musicist.co.za to think back and journal on some of the songs that gave them the reaction “Whoa that’s from here?”

Nothing hectic, you know the drill by now let’s go!

First up our good friend Mbasa from Musichitsthegroove

“It’s very rare for me to not be able to hear whether an artist is South African or not, I have a good ear like that. With this song (Just Fine by Hunter Rose) it was a thing of I really liked it and I didn’t think much of it. The laid back, nostalgic beat and keys put my heart at ease and the vocals? Smooth. I thought Hunter was a new wave London artist and didn’t think much of it until I read an article on someone’s WhatsApp status. She’s from Cape Town!
… Secondly if Flow Jones JR wasn’t featured on a Ukiyo CPT joint (Stranded Deep) I would have never thought he was from South Africa. He’s very reminiscent of Playboi Carti or Young Thug.”

Up next, Thato Diale

“The instrumentation on Naye Ayla‘s IDKY is enjoyable. Naye is one of my favorite vocalists. She’s got a dope aura to her.
Saul Madiope‘s Forever is an impressive jazz record. Filah Lah Lah‘s hook here is one of my favorites from the previous year.
… There is a dope alternative sound to Yolophonik‘s Know Better. The production really stands out for me but Roho‘s calm vocals take it to the top”

Interestingly our first ever playlist compiler Hatsu also has Saul Madiope and Filah Lah Lah’s Forever on her list, to which she had to say…

“… Saul Madiope is one of those artists that I think of when people say “the future of South African Jazz is in safe hands”, and this track (read the entire Motherland Jazz offering) is testament of that. He’s already changing the Jazz landscape, but this sweet collision between his distinct sound and Neo-Soul/RnB, as Filah Lah Lah adds her angelic melodies was really a beautiful experience. And Saul always finds the perfect people to help him bring a newness to Jazz, with every offering. That’s what he accomplished with this timeless hit.
… The first time hearing this banger (David by Blxckie), I really fell in love with the production value of the track. The high-hats, drums and bass were lending to the Trap sound. A sound we know has its roots in the West, so it was so refreshing to experience a rapper fully commit to giving up Trap at that caliber. Right there and then, I knew that whoever this man was, he was going to be the new breathe of Hip Hop. Little did I know, he’d be that, too, for every he conquered.”

Lyric the Curator had the following on her list…

Sound Check by The Muffinz, it has to be down to the feel of the song and the fact that I actually thought they were singing actual words and not just chants.
Sishii, Either Way, I got a American feel from this. It’s more the melody and less his accent, it’s very Trey Songz era R&B, well to my ear at least.
… Also Manana‘s tone on All I Seek is unique and so soothing”

Our playlist curator Derek is up next…

“First Song is Home & Away Games by Tyson Sybateli and from the title itself I automatically thought it has to be about Sport & just the competitiveness  that both rap & sport brings. This is exactly what both Tyson & Thato do on this record, straight bars going back and forth, leaving it all on the mic and letting the listener decide on who had the best verse. It slightly feels like cypher. 
Sta-Soft is on the contrary a collaborative banger from all artists involved (including DJ Slique, Emtee and 25K) with Flow Jones Jr carrying the song with its catchy & highly motivational chorus which  encourages the hustlers and dreamers to never stop grinding.”

And the best for last Abuti Vally has the classic Afrikan Dream by Vicky Sampson:

“This the only beautiful song that I was shocked to learn was South African. For the longest time I thought that was international or a song from one the Lion King movies. It is well sung and features a balanced chemistry between the lead vocalist and band members. The mood and presentation has a somewhat dreamy, fantasy-like ambiance, sorta like the best place to get the most out it is at a theatre.”

Well enough about us, let’s hear from you, what songs get you saying “whoa, that’s a South African sound?!”, comment down below and on any of our social media platforms!