What Is Afro House?
Afro House Origin, Meaning and History…
Afro House is a sub-genre of House music, with its roots predominantly in South Africa. A fusion of Kwaito, Tribal, Deep and Soulful House music, in South Africa it is classed as Deep House or Soulful House, although it has its own unique sound. Africa is the birthplace of mankind and music, and this is reflected in the musical style – particularly in the “stripped back” original percussion sounds and rhythms.
Prominent places in tune with the sub-genre are Pretoria, Soweto, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town within South Africa – worldwide, cities such as Amsterdam, Dubai, and Split/Dubrovnik are embracing the sound heavily.
Like all genres and sub-genres, it splits into different camps – one displaying more original African tribal sounds (tribal-house, Afro-beats) and the other combining a fusion of Chicago/NYC Soulful house with an African twist, and characterised by a vocal-led, more “sophisticated” style.
The genre has grown and developed alongside significant changes in the country in which it began. In 1994 the country transitioned from the unjust Apartheid laws to majority rule, with the African National Congress (ANC) party coming to power, led by its iconic and world respected leader, Nelson Mandela. As often, with a major change in politics, this change brought a new found freedom and an uprising of musical talent and expression.
Prominent Afro House Artists include
Black Coffee, Black Motion, Brian Temba, Chymamusique, Culoe De Song, C-Major, Darque, Deepconsoul, DJ Fresh, DJ Kent, Kaylow, Bucie, Siphiwe Mkhize (Enoo Napa), Jackie Queens, Wanda Baloyi, Echo Deep, Da Capo, Sir LSG, Tumelo, Lilac Jeans, Jullian Gomes, Derrick Flair, D.O.R. Projects, Gintonic, Octopuz, Zulumafia, House Victimz, Kat La Kat, Jazzuelle, Nastee Nev, Veneigrette, Young DJ, Rancido, Liquideep, UPZ and DJ Afrozilla.
Such is its growing influence, world respected trumpeter and flugelhorn player Hugh Masekela has collaborated and played on Afro House tracks with the likes of Ralf Gum, and Masters At Work have collaborated with a number of artists in recent times.
Prominent Afro House record labels include
Ancestral, Deep Elements Music, Deep Forest SA, MoBlack, Deepconsoul, Chymamusique, House Afrika Records, Offering, SoWHAT, Soul Candi, Tribe, Yoruba, Peng Records and GoGo Records.
Afro House music roots will always be in South Africa, but it has broken the boundaries of geography and is produced and enjoyed around the world, to the extent that some artists’ passion, love for the music and fan base encuraged them to emigrate to South Africa. Names such as the German House producer Ralf Gum, and other artists such as N’Dinga Gaba (originally from Central Africa but now based in Baltimore, Maryland) continue to spread the Afro House sound. Artists in the UK include Peng Records’ Andy Compton.
Whilst Soulful House music has a small underground following around the world, in South Africa the music and culture is hugely popular and can be heard on mainstream radio, although still mainly underground in other parts of the world. Without doubt the biggest artist to emerge from South Africa is the afore-mentioned Black Coffee, largely from the success of his hit track “Superman” with Bucie. Black Coffee can be seen touring across the world at major events.
Article by DJP Ⓒ Pressure Radio (links to this article are welcome)
Here at Pressure Radio we are big supporters of the Afro House genre and UK radio presenter Julie Prince has a dedicated monthly show,”House To House”, featuring exclusively SA Artists – she can be heard on the first Thursday of every month from 6-8pm (GMT).