PICÓ PICANTE and UHURU AFRIKA join forces Friday, June 20th at Good Life to present DJ SPOKO on his first-ever US tour. Spoko, a leader of the new wave of South African dance music and the creator of "Bacardi house," will make his way to Boston fresh from the Okayafrica-curated show at NYC SummerStage.
We couldn't be happier to share this special space with UHURU AFRIKA, a conscious dance party movement navigated by DJ Adam Gibbons and Malian master percussionist Sidy Maiga. The collective honors music born from the African continent and the diaspora, blending pan-African polyrhythms with electronic dance music.
Picó family Ultratumba, Riobamba and Oxycontinental will hold down opening sets, just for you. $5 before 11 PM, $10 after– arrive early to guarantee dancefloor memories.
DJ SPOKO [True Panther Sounds]
DJ Spoko was born Marvin Ramalepe, raised in the rural town of Tzaneen in northern South Africa, where he says “there was no first or third class—all the same.” He started producing on a PC at age 12, after moving with his brother Kelly Rams Ramalepe to Atteridgeville, a 99%-black township outside the mostly white city of Pretoria – to find their father. They lived in an area called Ghost Town, near Atteridgeville’s cemetery, where as the neighborhood’s premiere producer, young Spoko earned the nickname Ghost. The title of his new Ghost Town EP—Spoko’s first release in the West, via True Panther—neatly bundles both the man and the place, and serves as an introduction to the raw sound of Bacardi House, the genre he invented that now rules over the clubs of Atteridgeville.
Bacardi House has been fermenting for a decade. For three years in the early 2000s, DJ Spokotraveled 40 miles south to Soweto, where he studied sound engineering in the studio of Nozinja, creator of the hyper-speed, hip-shaking Shangaan Electro style. After, when Spoko built his own studio back home, he took a producer named DJ Mujava under his wing, leading to Spoko’s great but uncredited triumph, as the percussion mastermind behind Mujava’s Bacardi House indebted “Township Funk.” His sound consumed the township, passed around on numerous full-length cassette releases with names like Grave Yard Session, The All C’Ing I, and Tombs & Graves. On Ghost Town, Spoko pushes that sound’s simple yet ear-worming “space” synths, raw kicks and punishing military snares even further.
Ghost Town is party music, sure, but there’s a stern and harsh reality, too. Guest vocals by Spoko’s Ghetto Boyz Entertainment crew address the warnings of forefathers, the violence of township life, and the rural world Spoko left behind. It’s the electrified sound of a country boy taking over his township. And next, maybe, the world.
ADAM GIBBONS [Uhuru Afrika]
Working in the industry for almost 20 years through mind, body and soul, Adam Gibbons is a creative spirit and music lover. He strives to share his passion with the crowds he plays for and in the events that he produces. Specializing in Afro-diasporic dance floor sound, his ability to blend traditional African rhythms with modern electronic-influenced music creates a soundscape that is his own.
SIDY MAIGA [Uhuru Afrika]
Sidy Maïga is a Manding master percussionist from Bamako, Mali in West Africa. Since moving to the United States, he has been using his talent to spread awareness about African music and culture by performing and teaching traditional West African drumming. He heads the Malian group Afrimanding and has performed on stages worldwide both as a solo artist as well as accompanying artists like Grammy winner Oumou Sangaré and providing the Djembe percussion for music such as Jose Marquez's world famous remix for Sister Pearl's "Bang the Drum."
ULTRATUMBA [Picó Picante]
Riobamba is a DJ, event-maker and community organizer exploring the potential of global dance music. She got her start in Boston as half of DJ duo Pajaritos, where she co-founded the transnational bass party Picó Picante. Inspired by her hybrid Ecuadorian-Lithuanian roots, worldwide digital dialogue and bodega soundtracks, she’s brought her dynamic mix of transnational beats, Andean folk culture, Caribbean riddims and regional party anthems to crowds in the US, Mexico and Colombia.
OXYCONTINENTAL [Picó Picante]
Oxycontinental is the moniker of Colombo-Venezuelan DJ-musician, cultural producer and artist-hacker-curator Ricardo de Lima. Based in Boston, he is a resident at transnational dance party Picó Picante and the force behind the DYI venue Spectacle.