You know, I have heard numerous musicians talk about they want can’t wait to hit Jozi. Or the artists who take themselves seriously only because of the prospects of Jozi. I’m not saying this is not okay, but I’m also not saying it is okay. Sure fine, the hype is huge and sometimes instant – but in addition, it is also quite toxic. Genuine artists become, not okay, there. And if you think about it, when you buy into Jozi, you buy into its culture.
So much music finds itself there, at first innocent and genuine – a potential for longevity. And then soon it becomes about record sales and pocket change. The records lacks effort, they become a regurgitation of the initial sound. No growth. No inspiration. The audience is no longer feeling and contemplating. There’s no engagement whatsoever. Which is kind of sad – especially for the artist (the artist always feels it the most).
I’d say that Joziburg specializes in club bangers. This has forced a lot of other musically developing provinces to dilute their sound and authenticity – to appease the Joburg market. Johannesburg especially caters for Hip-Hop and House club bangers – everything in between, inevitably become remixed into these dominating genres (in South Africa, especially).
One of the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre artists, afro-soul singer Csana
You can think about how artists like Thandiswa Mazwai, Busi Mhlongo, Zahara, Msaki, and many other musicians who don’t necessarily fall under Hip-Hop and/or House have all got bangers in those genres. Kanjani beyps? Because that’s what sells in Joburg. Gladly for these artists, this has not killed their careers – imagine those that never really get fame for their sound? So ultimately, you leave ‘home ground’, and you risk losing more than what you bargained? Worth it?
What we’re not fully comprehending here in the Eastern Cape, is that there’s a prevalent and powerful culture – influence. EC is not the influenced, it is the influence. This, across board, historically and present. The province is the biggest exporter of timeless musicians that South Africa has heard – lol, and it has two Presidents under its belt – so… These facts cannot be argued, but what can be argued is that EC has not bought into its own glory.
How can it be that when it’s had a good run in producing A-grade musicians, it has no prominently recognized recording company (like Afrotainment for KZN)? A company that is set on promoting local artist music to as far as Joburg. How is it that the artists we have to offer, always take the offer? Prominent EC bread artists, who now reside in Jhb, come to EC only for interviews. What a shame.
IMAGE: Driemanskap – progressive WC Hip-Hop group
What is making the people in Jozi more important that great musicians, and composers, risk losing themselves just to find fame for their work? I have concluded that it’s because EC artists are struggling and Jozi is feeding. Joburg knows how to talk business and, to an extent, appreciate talent. EC people must rise to the occasion. I’d say once we really put our money where our mouths are – create a culture of attending events, even if just to #PayTheMoney. Once EC artists are fed, our souls are fed. True story.
The music in Joburg is founded by the interactions that have happened here. At whichever point. That music always thinks of EC upon its composition. It channels the transkeis and the abundant oceans that surround the province. It can never be, without its foundation – without its home. So honestly, we – the people, have it within ourselves to preserve our artists.
But on lighter thoughts, I should applaud Joburg people (or the people in Joburg?) for one thing: they’re never reluctant to #PatTheMoney when they attend events. However music, they go out in numbers. Everybody eats. The money is constantly circulating, and when you find your feet – you eat.
And that’s how the story ends.