Black Coffee’s AfricaRising

Black Coffee’s AfricaRising is set to contribute a triumphant chapter to the global house music story, and to score some of its most exciting pages with the rising South African sound. It combines the irresistible dancefloor groove of one of Africa’s best-loved DJ/producers, Black Coffee, with the staging prowess of one of Africa’s most future-facing DJ/producers, DJ Strat3gy, for an audio-visual presentation that promises to be an emotional experience for performers and audience alike.

Designed against the spectacular architecture of Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, the debut performance, at the 16 December Vodacom Unlimited Festival powered by SABC1, features an exclusive two-hour mix of Black Coffee’s biggest tracks, boldly stripped down to accommodate a live band with vocalists and 24 piece orchestra, while highlighting Black Coffee’s natural crowd rapport and indisputable courage to grab the moment. That moment will be wrapped in DJ Strat3gy’s stadium-busting high contrast LED and synchronised lighting style, all specifically mapped to five unique physical constructions, the largest of which towers more than 15m into the air.

To create the unique sound of AfricaRising Black Coffee and DJ Strat3gy turned to the multi-talented Brendan Jury. Classically trained Jury has developed a stellar reputation as the front man of Urban Creep and for his work with the likes of Arno Carstens, Jabu Khanyile, ProVerb, HHP, TK, Kabelo and The Parlotones, and he also collaborated with Brian Eno, Dave Gilmour and Chrissie Hynde on the debut solo album from Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music.

He explains, “Black Coffee has stripped down the arrangements to very funky beats, and his music is being interpreted in big, orchestral sounds. It’s enormous fun: beautiful deep house music, which, when you explore it as an orchestra, becomes melodically intense. It keeps that warm street funk of Black Coffee’s beat and takes the music into the realm of art music – modern classical music.”

Black Coffee adds: “It’s been a challenge because my music is not just house: it even incorporates elements from things like Mbaqanga, jazz and Rhythm and Blues. So the challenge is to bring all of these elements together without compromising any of them.”

There are new arrangements of the house supremo’s material as well as unreleased material, so expect richer, deeper textures and soundscapes as Black Coffee explores new facets to his music with the aid of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Muses String Quartet and the participation of vocalists and musos like Bucie, BOP, legendary organist Black Moses (of Soul Brothers fame) and Zakes Bantwini.

Joining this super-ensemble will be special guest vocalists and musos performing Black Coffee’s mega hits, including Tumelo (“Arise and Shine”), Tsepho (“Never Saw You Coming”), Vuyo (“Don’t You Give Up”), Bucie (“Superman” and “Turn Me On”), Zakes Bantwini (“Juju”), Zano (“Someday”), Thiwe (“Crazy”), Black Moses (“The Chameleon”), Soulsta (“Rock My World”), Marissa (“Time To Go”), Jacky (“Masquerade”) and Brothers of Peace (“Sik’khuzile”).

Says Black Coffee: “This is a very special project: it’s house music meets classical music and staging in a very profound way. It’s a very fresh idea that’s taking house music to another level; exploring new ideas.” He adds that AfricaRising would have been “impossible to execute” without DJ Strat3gy’s innovative energy, and DJ Strat3gy in turn affirms that only “one of Africa’s most uniquely talented music producers” could provide the musical platform to explore this genre-shifting moment for the biggest house music market in the world, in one of South Africa’s most beautiful stadia.

Both agree that it is time for all to see: AfricaRising!

For more information check the Black Coffee AfricaRising website.