Oppikoppi introduces new genres of music
Festival goers welcomed the new Homecoming stage in partnership with Channel O at the 20th anniversary of Oppikoppi. Introducing performances by the who’s who in hip hop, rap, house and more, artists such as Reason, HHP, Blaklez, The Muffinz, Shimza as well as a host of Channel O and Homecoming DJ’s took the Skellum stage and performed for a variety of audiences.
Bassline, a venue located in Newtown Johannesburg, shared their energy with the crowds by presenting a number of performances during the weekend. The stage was highlighted by Urban Creep, Runaway Train Cult Collective, Albert Frost & Dan Platlansky, Madala Kunene, Jonathan Martin Band, Greg Georgiades & Ultra Natives, as well as this year’s Tribute Performance – Hugh Masekela & Ollie Viljoen.
Joining Willy Mason, Cat Power, Sarah Blasko, Rival Sons, Aloe Blacc, Editors and Wolfmother, the Red Bull stage welcomed two international DJ’s to the bill – Sian and DJ Marky. DJ Marky’s entry into South Africa was denied due to unexpected Yellow Fever Vaccination requirements. It came as a huge surprise as he regularly travels all over the world and has not had any issues previously. Be it Drum & Bass, Techno, Deep House or more, fans of the Red Bull Stage came in for a jam packed weekend with the stage running from 1pm till 4:30am each day.
Kaya FM managed to sit down with one of South Africa’s rising bands, Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC), a collective of life-like musicians hailing from the suburbs of Soweto. They believe in the narrative of music, playing with their ancestors on stage and are all for the age of authenticity. I managed to find some time before their set at Oppikoppi to sit down with them. Meet their voice of the generation.
Give me some adjectives to describe your music?
Electrifying; outstanding; black music; spiritual and psychedelic. We connect to trance as a state of mind as that is our frequency most of the time. We are on a mental relay and take from what people give us and play around with it.
Describe what a great audience feels like?
We once perfumed at this festival in Amsterdam called roots. We did this one track and literally everyone in the room was swaying. An audience has to be true to what we are doing and allow the emotion and actions link. For us, the best audience is the one that is still. We are not looking to check in with everyone, we are sending and receiving messages and transcending with messages through space and time. When we on stage, we represent our families and our blood line. We are not from the same tribe, so we represent all tribes. When we on stage, we are playing with someone’s father and grandmother. We loved the moment they were swaying because they were not aware they were moving.
What would your legacy be in music?
Being real to ourselves and making black music, world music. We will be playing like we just started. Every performance, our lives depend on it. We take it seriously. We will leave behind an authentic feeling reminding people that they don’t need to change so the industry could understand them. We consider ourselves as pioneers. We are the first band to have staying power without an album released. We are the first band without a video on television. We are for the tomorrow that is not now. We are for the journey of the song.
What topics do you work with to create new material?
When creating new material, we often think about Soweto, which is where we located. We work with ideas around what it means to be black people in a township and suburb and compare our days to people who live in other areas. We don’t write for pride or know-how, it’s for the symmetry.
Does your country play a role in which you are?
We cannot ignore where we are from and how the decisions of the state affect us. Our ancestors are right here, so are the bones. We can’t ignore that. Most of our songs grow overseas. Many songs Oppikoppi hears for the first time has been played for about six months before we play for an audience. We are always seeing how others live and how we can improve and see the life we dream of. We always dream big and it always ends up being bigger than we thought.
What does the future look like in South Africa?
The present is a crossroad for a band like us. We feel like there is going to be an explosion first. We are not honest as much as we should be, so we think we are going to come to a point of complete honesty. Our present depends on your attitude, so does our future and perspective. What is happiness? Family, money, acceptance? We can define happiness in all those things and also define the future in all those things. South Africa is dead, as much as America and Germany is dead. What is alive now is the world. We can see the world as a ghetto boy or a South African. If we choose to be world citizens, we see it through the global eyes. We always have to justify with the name of our band. Bantu concentrates on human beings, before it becomes black, it is a human perspective.
Which musicians or artists are currently on your radar?
We listen to everything from dancehall to South African hip-hop. We enjoy anyone who is making good music. Half the time the people we find, we meet by chance. We also jam to Shortstraw and Desmond and the Tutus. We like characters. We are just showmen who love show business.