Africa is famous for its upbeat dance, spirit, art and of course music.
Britain has always had a thriving African community and to celebrate both that section of our culture and my own I am going to give an insight into what songs are big in my family’s homeland, South Africa. Whether it be the world hit US singles in the charts or the stunning local track, I can assure you that the South African music scene “is uitstekend en uniek” (is outstanding and unique.)
#5 False Alarm by Matoma and Becky Hill
Matoma is a Norwegian house artist who is fairly popular worldwide despite not being a household name. False Alarm fell two places from last week and is seemingly on its way out of the top 20.
The song itself was a hit here in the UK enjoying many weeks in the charts. It’s a house track with a slower pace but still has a lot to offer to the many dance troops across South Africa. With a pitch bent bassline and simple but effective chorus, the song gives off a fun and happy feeling for a listener.
#4 The Ocean by Mike Perry and Shy Martin
Mike Perry is a Swedish deep house artist and released this single at the end of April but it has only recently been brought out in Africa.
The song peaked at number one in Sweden, and reached the top 20 in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. The Ocean is a very summery track with heavy basslines but it’s well complimented by the soft tones of singer Shy Martin’s vocals. A true party song is a much more staple example of South African musical taste. The vibe the song gives of barbeques on the beach with good company and even better beer is an almost stereotypical portrait of Southern African life.
#3 Love You Still by DJ Kent (feat. Dominic Neill)
The theme of love is yet again rearing its head in this week’s number three.
DJ Kent is another home-grown hero of the South African music industry, coming from one of the poorest cities in the country – Soweto. Despite his surroundings growing up, DJ Kent was determined to be a musical star and he now has many African music awards to his name. He chose to express this through his love of house and electronic music.
This song is a catchy electric number that I can’t help but compare to Swedish superstar Avicii. With very chilled-out lyrics and an almost hypnotic synth line DJ Kent has crafted a song that I truly feel has potential to go big in the west. It really is the stand out in the top five in my opinion.
#2 Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur
Next up is a Brit doing well abroad. James Arthur found fame when he won the ninth series of the X-Factor. The Middlesbrough born singer has always had a much slower-paced and romantic ballad feel to his songs and his latest single is no different.
The song has been moving around the South African charts since its launch on September 9 and in the past few weeks nestled into the second spot. Say You Won’t Let Go is your standard break up song packed full of emotion and hard hitting high notes. This is Arthur’s usual style but it’s proving popular among the South African audience despite their traditional love of exciting, high energy music.
#1 Make You Love Me by Timo ODV (feat. Ryki)
Timo ODV is an English-speaking South African electronic artist. ODV might not be a name we in the west know of but he is huge in his home country with a plethora of number one singles and award nominations to his name. To name just a few of his accolades, MTV Africa Music Award for Best Pop & Alternative, South African Music Award for Amstel Record of the Year.
This is the current single for the artist and has just entered the charts at number one. It is a very typical dance track with a fast-paced beat and bassline that will keep any party going for hours. ODV has very smooth vocals on this track, which I feel adds to the popularity as it gives the song a modern Justin Bieber feel.
Photo Credit: Paul Saad