Music

South Africa’s Gqom music gets everyone on their feet

The sound of Gqom is created by young people from neighbourhoods in South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu Natal province and has since travelled the international music scene to become a crowd-pleaser on dance floors from DJ decks around the world.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA (REUTERS) – It’s difficult to define South Africa’s Gqom music but it can be recognized by house beats mixed with a medley of instruments and more-so, how it has taken over the country’s dance scene.

Gqom was first created in Durban’s neighbourhoods and is a sound that resonates with the social conditions of township life.

South African duo, Mafia Boyz creates their music in a studio that overlooks Durban’s beachfront but it is played in car parks, clubs and street parties across the nation.

“Gqom music blesses me. You see with Gqom music it’s like authentic South African music that makes everyone extremely happy,” a Durban resident, Ben Magcaba said.

“You know, Gqom music accommodates everyone. Whether you’re Indian, Zulu Chinese or what, you just feel! As long as you’re South African Gqom is the one, even now we are here to have fun and everyone who’s listening to Gqom feels…” another Durban resident, Mbusiso Mdadane said as he shook his body to the sound of Gqom.

DJs and producers from Durban have inspired a new generation of Gqom artists with their success.

Mafia Boyz are from Isiphingo township. They sell Gqom beats to other local artists and are now recording their own album, ‘News Dawn’ to formally establish themselves as Gqom artists.

“You are able to go as crazy as you want to. You are able to build a beat that goes really good but you don’t have to follow someone else’s rules. When they tell you, ‘you have to make your kick like this, your snares like this,’ you can follow your own way if you want,” Mafia Boyz vocalist, Linda Sinikane said.

At ‘Eyadini Lounge’, Durban’s party hot-spot, revellers flock in every weekend to dance to the heavy bass-drum beats of Gqom.

“I really like Gqom music because it makes me enjoy dancing and makes me feel fresh – I like it very much,” Francina Mokoena added.

“There’s a certain rhythm to Gqom music that you don’t get listening to other genres of music. And it’s very cool for stuff like this where there is a crowd cause then everyone can feel it together and have a good time. So yeah that’s what I enjoy about it,” Jamie Hardy said.

But Gqom often gets a bad rep – some people associate the party lifestyle it promotes to drugs and alcohol abuse.

The artists say those who do are misinformed.

“I don’t think drugs or alcohol relate to Gqom music, yeah they shouldn’t relate because it’s up to a person if they want to take it or not but it doesn’t mean that if you’re gonna play Gqom music you should have drugs with you, ecstasy, you can’t play Gqom music without… nah nah it’s not like that. You can just play Gqom music, you don’t need drugs yeah… it’s up to you,” he said.

Gqom is popular across ages and across continents, resonating with even more listeners after one of the genre’s ambassadors, the Distruction Boyz had their hit “Omunye” featured on the soundtrack for award winning film, Black Panther.


Associated Links

  • Gqom
  • Gqom
  • Minimal music
  • Zulu language
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Culture
  • Music
  • Distruction Boyz
  • Babes Wodumo

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