27 July 2008

Music for free

I think it’s cool when artist give music for free. Who wouldn’t like free things, I know, but I am not talking about giving your record for free. Just give something. Give us a taster so we know what and who we are dealing with. In Hip Hop, mixtapes are great for that. Still, an EP or just a song is nice as well. When we hear it, we may like it and for goodness sake even buy it. But it’s hard to buy something you haven’t heard. Especially since radio is pretty corrupt when it comes to playing music, and especially in South Africa, local music. Besides, it gives a very positive and likeable image of the artist. It creates a sense of relationship with artist and at least for me, makes it likely that I support the artist when I can (if I like the tracks that is). I know many people disagree with me for giving stuff for free and especially this month the HYPE magazine, South African Hip Hop magazine, wrote in its editorial that people must put a proper price for their work. Fair play. The problem is that in order to do more or less any business, one must also do some promotion. Some guys in SA even refused to give their songs as radio promos when I was doing a show where I happily would have supported them. They still wanted me to buy their records. And I did; not as a radio DJ, but as a music lover, and one should never count their airplay on such a thing.

Before I digress too much I better get to the main point. One of the top SA Hip Hop artists Reason has put his mixtape UndrestandingB4Reason online to be downloaded as a whole. I met him for the first time in Finland when he was touring there with Nthabi (who also has made her music available as free download) and he’s really cool down to earth guy, and right kind of humbleness is important. I was the unofficial official photographer of the tour (in Helsinki only) and I thought about putting few previously unseen photographs from that tour online to mark the occasion of free mixtape. The cover of the CD, by the way, uses my photography from these sessions. It’s taken before the show in the legendary backstage of Tavastia Club in Helsinki. I am pleased about that.

I like many tracks and particularly I don’t Battle No More and the first Intro track whatever its name is. That brings me to my only complain. The tracks are not named, which is a shame. For a music lover it’d be important to have the tracks named correctly and it’s nice to have artwork as well in your iTunes or media player. Also, I prefer zipped files of the whole records. They are very convenient even if they are hosted by some of these free services like Rapidshare and what have you. Also, for the web site like the one hosting this kind of stuff, RSS feeds would really improve their service. I’d subscribe in a blink of an eye. But no hating here, absolutely none. Do the opposite and show love.

Link to vinyl1980.com to download the mixtape

Myself and Reason in Tavastia backstage; arguably the most legendary spot in Finnish music scene.

(above and below) Reason and DJ Hamma in Helsinki

Reason and Nthabi

Last gig of the tour has just ended

As an end note, since I have always just approached the music industry from the fan's and radio practitioners point of view, read all that you need to know about these things from a free E-Book The 20 Things You Must Know About the Music Online by Andrew Dubber and update your information from his blog New Music Strategies.

17 July 2008


Some days ago we were driving back from the Eastern Cape province to west to Cape Town. It’s relatively beautiful route although it’s not the scenic and more famous Garden Route. It’s pretty harsh environment for most part of the way. They call it Karoo, but it reminds me actually of Kalahari in Botswana’s side. Towards Cape Town you see some pretty amazing mountain views that are enough for someone like me from a flat country to appreciate.

This time the views were particularly beautiful as the mountain tops were snowy. Since I come from the Northern Hemisphere where the southern half is always simplified it still somehow surprises me to see snow here although I know that it comes sometimes, especially to the mountains. This is such a beautiful and diverse country

16 July 2008

Beyond Xenophobia Trailer

We uploaded a trailer of our documentary Beyond Xenophobia online. Have a listen to get some idea of what we are talking about. For more information scroll down to our previous post and you can also contact us about it by mailing info@voxpopafrica.com with comments or questions.

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10 July 2008

Beyond Xenophobia

Our documentary Beyond Xenophobia is done. We reckon it’s brilliant. In it, we suggest, or rather the interviewees do, that xenophobia is not necessarily the root cause of the recent attacks. It’s rather a symptom for other issues within the society. Issues like unemployment, poverty and even trauma of the past.

We managed to get an all-star cast to be interviewed. George Bizos, the lawyer extraordinaire who has defended so many heroes that it makes him one, and Dr Mamphela Ramphele, activist, academic and co-founder of BCM (Black Consciousness Movement) amongst others talk about the problems and solutions. We also have the new wave South African writers Niq Mhlongo, Sihle Khumalo, Thembelani Ngenelwa and Ndumiso Ncgobo giving their commentary, as well as many affected people from various African countries, and local community activists.

Beyond Xenophobia is a thought provoking documentary which hopefully encourages open debate and inspires action.

For more information about it, contact us via email:
info@voxpopafrica.com or find the other means from our contact site.

One of the interviewees Lindelwa ‘Mamtshawe’ Rosslyn Thole giving her views during the anti-xenophobia demonstration June 2nd in Cape Town.