You’re a visitor aboard a water vessel quickly approaching Movement, an island where the people never cease to dance. Morning, noon, and all night long, pulsing music is endlessly pumped into the air at some tempo or another, successfully provoking the shaking of bodies. It’s an overwhelmingly-celebratory place, but you can’t help but notice a few inert bodies strewn about, still alive but collapsed in exhaustion. You barely get one foot on the shore before you notice it tapping on the sand, and your ears fill with sound . . .
Here’s a piece of music that stands as both a great album, and an innovative cultural statement. Nozinja Lodge is the debut full-length record from Nozinja, the artist credited with the creation of the Shangaan electro genre. Don’t fret if those words appear unfamiliar to you, because this opus from the Soweto native acts as a splendid introduction to the fun, quirky, and highly enjoyable sound.
Shangaan electro is a peculiar mixture of kwaito, South African house, and local folk customs. There are bright, synthesized marimbas and flutes, nutty drum machine rhythms, and dreamy, soulful vocals abound, and everything is cranked to top speed. It’s an intriguing and amusing fact that Nozinja slowly raises the tempo of his tracks during his live performances, prompting any and all dancers into a trance of sorts.
Speaking of performing live, Nozinja tours with what he calls the Shangaan Electro Roadshow, along with dancers in flashy costumes and festive masks. We can also thank artists like the late DJ Rashad, Caribou, and Ricardo Villalobos for aiding in the spread of Shangaan electro influences throughout the UK and US electronic music scenes. If you’re seeking festive, agile dance music with a tropical touch, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)