You’d be forgiven for thinking Captain Planet was about to be summoned at the launch of Petite Noir’s screening of visuals from his La Maison Noir album.
Inspired by each song on the album, the visuals tell Noir’s story through the four elements; Earth, Water, Air and Fire. The album, together with the short film come out this Friday. The launch took place in Rosebank at the Keys Gallery last Thursday evening.
One of the songs Beach, which he features Danny Brown and Nkubi Nkubi premiered by Zane Lowe on Beats 1 radio. “Beach‘ is a song about being reborn and how it took for me to fall to rise back up. In life we are constantly reborn. Every stage of our lives, from being a baby to adulthood,” said Noir.
Noir’s first single, Blame Fire was released a few months ago. The chant-inspired Blame Fire is the opening track on the film which sees Noir going through rebirth in the fire.
Set in the desert, the visuals take you through somewhat of a pilgrimage with Noir- with each track bringing you closer to where he is in life right now, from the burning and destroying to the healing waters and rising above all adversity.
“We hope that it sparks something in you that just raises the vibrations and the consciousness and helps us to keep going,” said Creative Director Rochelle RhaRha Nembhard.
Manthe Ribane handles all the choreography in the film. “Team work always makes everything work and this was such a dream, to be part of this iconic movement and thank you so much for having me on board- this is a beginning of a new birth, so I hope we feel re-birthed and recharged to take on the next step,” said Ribane at the launch.
There were a number of artists a famous faces in attendance, the likes of Okmalumkoolkat, brothers Loyiso and Lazola Gola, producer Vez and the BLK JKS’s Mpumelelo Mcata.
WHAT started out as a simple live performance sessions on the internet just over a year ago, has now become a staple on South African television. Last night saw the television debut of JR’s Feel Good Live Sessions on MTV Base.
Feel Live Good Sessions is a live performance platform founded by artist JR. The first episode was released last year in April, with JR himself as the first performer on the stage. He started the sessions to create a bridge between the studio and the stage.
Busiswa was the featured artist on the TV debut last night. The Fell Good Live Sessions have broadcast over 20 artists on their YouTube channel, including Reason, Samthing Soweto, Shekhinah and A-Reece among the long list of performers.
JR received a lot of love from industry persons on the big move. “Congrats Papito,” said Refiloe Ramogase, who is the GM and Director at Sony Music Entertainment. Even narcissistic beast AKA showed JR love in a Tweet saying “Congratulation @JRafrika on the debut of #FeelGoodLiveSessions on TV…I know you and your team work extremely hard to make this a reality. Proud of you bro.”
While some people thought the move could’ve been better at the public broadcaster. “I have a feeling #FeelGoodLiveSessions was gonna do well on @SABC_2,”said one Cyegolicious. Poor girl probably just wants Afro Café canned.
The show will be broadcast every Thursday evening on MTV Base.
A MUSIC video is to a song, what an image with a good caption is to an article. It takes the story forward.
Just five months ago Riky Rick said he was taking a break from the spotlight in the music, but last Friday he surprised most with the release of a spirited track, I Can’t Believe It (Macoins) with gripping visuals.
The song and the video presentation is currently being slept on in the country. According to Riky Rick, some television channels won’t air the video because of the content. He said this while thanking MTV Base on Twitter, for playing the video on their platform.
The ill-judgement of some of our broadcasters is perplexing. Local broadcasters aren’t proactive in their presentation; they always prefer to follow a trend instead of being the ones to initiate the conversation. This is just one of the reasons why television lags behind the net, but not everybody in South Africa can afford to watch videos on YouTube due to exorbitant prices of data.
I can imagine an ocean of people chanting the chorus, when Riky Rick performs this joint live. He repeatedly says he wants more money, then sounds in disbelief in the hook, not because he has gotten what he wants, but at what it cost him it seems. That’s what the visuals relayed.
But instead of money, a group of eccentric individuals seem to desire freedom more than anything- to be themselves within an uncomplimentary society. The freedom comes at a cost though, as one of them commits suicide, which then sparks the revolt. The interesting part is that, everyone fighting for something is part of the riot, not only the small group of friends who lost a comrade.
Directed by Adriaan Louw, the video took the conversation stared by Riky Rick in his rhymes, to another level. They chose the perfect time to shoot this, managing to capture beautiful light under Joburg skies, while Marco Filby’s Art Direction was complimented by the cast’s believability and wardrobe.
With the abrasive, in-your face beat Riky Rick reminds everybody who he is in the music and creative space. Steeped in Hip Hop braggadocio, from the first verse he states why 10 years in the game, he still manages to remain relevant throughout the country. But it’s his second verse on which he bluntly raps
I’m in my element, my regiment
Taking over is imminent,
Drop one song per year, and stay prevalent
Old niggers say my name to stay relevant
I couldn’t help but think of Stogie T when I heard those lines, despite the fact that the two recently settled their feud, which was sparked by Cassper Nyovest saying Stogie did nothing for him, during an acceptance speech at the South African Hip Hop Awards last year. iVenda LaKwaMashu, as Riky Rick is known on Twitter, was in Nyovest’s corner and also slammed Stogie for claiming other artists’ success.
The song has a similar refrain as Pick You Up, which came out earlier this year but unlike that joint, he raps in vernac on I Can’t Believe It (Macoins) and sounds original, rejuvenated and grimier. iVenda LaKwaMashu isn’t the lyrical-miracle typa rapper who will get battle kats like Kriss AntiB and Don Veedo salivating at his every line. But his hooks are catchy and he speaks his truth and a lot of people can relate to that shit.
We’re in no militant warfare, but people are going through the most. But it’s our individual and yet common struggles, which foster these infinite bonds. Like British journalist Max Hastings once said, the only redemptive feature of war is the brotherhood which it forges.
Meet MK, Musa Mashiane and Bongani Xego. Three brothers connected by their shared fondness of Pan Africanism, art, music and entrepreneurship. But their connection comes to actuality through the Action Painting in Music events. Mashiane the musician, MK the artist and Xego the man behind organic skin care product, RA-ABA.
“For me, what we’re doing now is rather a feeling because we felt each other. For some reason, I feel like MK is me in another body, because all of his dreams and everything else is the same thing as mine. Even with King Musa, it’s the same thing. There’s a brotherhood es’nga yazi nathi, it’s very deep,” says Xego.
“It’s because we have a common bond and not only that, but we have the ability to enhance each other’s characters uyang’thola. Because a one man army, is no movement,” MK says.
They are a trio of light spoken characters, but the spliff going around the four of us, eases us into conversation. We’re at 4ROOM, busking in the sun-basically a bunch of bearded hippies deep in off kilter discussions emva kwendlu ye four room. But the place will be unrecognizable this coming Sunday, because of the Action Painting in Music event. Which will feature Adelle Nqeto, Touchline, Mo’Soul and others. The event includes a kid’s creative station, art exhibition and a tour of Tembisa.
4ROOM has been in existence for about eight years now, situated in Ethafeni section in Tembisa, 4ROOM Creatives Village is the umbrella company to which includes the house itself as a gallery, a magazine, art education and events (Art Lifestyle) among other things. MK runs and operates the place by himself with a small team. “We haven’t marketed ourselves as a traditional gallery to the world, because we know ukuthi our traditional standards are not the standards of what a traditional (Western) gallery looks like.”
“We started last year around May or June, with (artist) Nkateko Balyoi. We had a private show on June 16, but I think we had two or three shows before that. After that show, Nkateko moved out of the group to do other things,” says MK , detailing the history of Action Painting. After Baloyi’s departure, the two went on a few months’ hiatus from the project, until later in the year. “We started pushing again late last year, that’s when Thandazani Ndlovu became part of it.”
Mashiane, a seasoned musician, only started coming to 4ROOM last year, but rapidly grew a connection to the place and to MK. Mashiane suggested to MK the concept of “merging the music and the visual art together. Something which, we could invite people to come and watch. Not just an exhibition, but a space where they can experience an artist painting. Starting on a blank canvass and complete in front of the audience.”
They’ve organised four instalments of Action Painting in Music this year, this coming Sunday will be their fifth. Because of the rareness of such a presentation of visual art and music, their product has been demanded and received with warmth in the various places which they’ve graced. Earlier this year they were in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.
They also went to Grahamstown, for the National Arts Festival. “It was like a learning experience. People received us well, professionally even, because we based ourselves in a space where there were a lot of people and we were delivering. People were appreciative-they had never seen it before, getting both experiences as one.”
They say the difference between Nelspruit and the Arts Festival, is that the former was more of a gig because they were expected. “I would say Grahamstown was more of a pop up. They had the Standard Bank showcase stage, of which we did that and everyone was like, shit!” Mashiane says.
Xego says later on that evening, they took a walk to a couple of pubs and restaurants and at one of them, they asked the manager if they could play at the spot. The place is called Major Fraser’s. “That guy gave us a platform and we did about four nights. It became our resident space,” says Mashiane.
They have similar life goals as Pinky and the Bain. “The end goal is very far, but it’s to take the village international. So this is just a rehearsal for that. But maybe in the next five years we can say we have an end goal,” says Xego.
“What I know is that s’phusha e black excellence. It’s a legacy for our children’s, children’s children,” says Mashiane. While MK has a more somber, and life enriching end goal. “It is something huge and we don’t know what it looks like. It’s to make sure the black man grows bigger than themselves and their fears and learn about their abilities.”
They are planning a final rehearsal of their world takeover, in December, the last Action Painting in Music of the year, at a secret location. “It’ll include some of the people from our previous events. It’s something to look forward to.”
ART is a depiction of life, period. Artists are in inspired by real life events, sometimes in their own life which serves as a cathartic experience for them and those who receive the art.
Makaziwe, a play which opened on Thursday night at the Moses Molelekwa Art Centre in Tembisa tells the story of producer of the production, Dineo Mnyanga. “The play is basically my life story, I was in a relationship and wasn’t getting satisfaction from my partner. I decided to tell this story, also as a way of coming out,” Mnyanga says.
Makaziwe is a story of a married woman who after two years into her marriage, grows sexual dissatisfaction with her husband who is generic, doesn’t seem to understand her body and doesn’t pay real attention on her and the relationship. The story explores gender based violence and sexual relations in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
A photographer by profession, Mnyanga believes the story is also her way of coming out to the world as a lesbian because she’s been holding it inside of her for a while now. Showing me her wedding ring finger without the wedding band, she says “I just removed my ring now in June. I haven’t completed the divorce process-it’s a hard and draining process. But we’re going through a separation right now. But I feel free,” Mnyanga calmly tells me after the play.
“What really drew me to this story, was the sexuality. Women’s sexuality-I’m one of those people, who isn’t comfortable talking about sex and what you want as a woman. I come from Ga-Habedi, a small village in the North West and such things are talked about only by adults,” says director and co-writer Mphoentle Ngoepe. She was initially cast as the main actress of the play, but then chose to be behind the scene.
The play is co-written by Koketjo Tesh waga Mashedi, who roped in Ngoepe after he wrote the script. “I got the concept from Dineo and started writing. After that, I realised that it needed a female voice because there are things that I don’t know and can’t talk about as a man,” says waga Mashedi.
“I read the story and thought, let me tell it from a female point of view…some of the things I thought were not for us women, or for me as an individual who was reading the story. I was like nah there’s no woman who can say this,” says Ngoepe.
Good as it was, the play is still being developed. After the show, the whole cast and crew had an open floor discussion with the audience to talk about the play and also get feedback, so to improve it. “I really liked what people said. They’re input will help us grow and develop this play even further, because since April we’ve had about six scripts that had to be changed,” waga Mashedi says. He adds that he was pleased that ordinary people were in the audience on the night. “It was not just artists, who’ll only talk about the technical stuff. But these people here are the society, the people who are actually going through this.”
Ngoepe says the idea of an open floor discussion and feedback from the audience wasn’t necessarily planned. “Day before yesterday, we were really challenged because I thought the [last] scene could end this way, while Tesh thought it could be done that way and the actors felt it could done in another way…and we were like, clearly this isn’t an ending show, how about we open it up and hear what the viewers, the people of the story think about it.”
The crew is planning on bringing the story back in December during the 16 Days of activism against gender based violence. But with a fuller and more comprehensible production.
One audience member who wasn’t so assertive in his comments, said he could tell that someone is trying to relay something in particular through this play. “That audience member was right,” says Mnyanga. “I think he can tell that I’m trying to tell my story here.”