House Afrika Meets Sony Music

Don’t Look Down friend and affiliate House Afrika has been at the forefront of the South African dance music scene for two decades, cementing a fondness for deep house culture in SA consciousness, sparking the careers of a number of name acts (including Rhythmic Elements and Liquideep) and spawning the massive market for top-notch, beat-driven compilations.

Now, in a massive move, these dance specialists have teamed up with the mighty Sony Music in an exciting joint venture that will spread their always-relevant and often essential body of beat work much further afield.

Initially started as a specialist vinyl shop for DJs, House Afrika quickly realized the need to get hot tracks out to what later became the biggest house music market per capita on the planet, and they started releasing the first (and by far the most successful) CD compilations of banging club fare.

Lines like the ‘Fresh House Flavas’ series and ‘Deep House Sounds’ took the tracks that the likes of DJ Fresh, Vinny and Christos were rocking at raves, shebeens and stokvels across the country and put them into CD stores, setting in motion a listening revolution for dance music consumers in South Africa.

The company then sealed release deals with producers like Rhythmic Elements (who won a SAMA Award for Song Of The Year and a Channel O MVA for Most Gifted Dance Video for “2 by 2”, a video produced by DLD and viewable above, in 2009), as well as the Bass Breaks & Beats label, with whom they unleashed the Platinum-selling ‘House Afrika Sessions’ 4-CD set in 2010. This collection spawned the massive crossover hit “Fairytale” by Liquideep (and another music video produced in conjunction with DLD); this act gave gone on to win a slew of awards, including a SAMA, a Channel O MVA and an MTV MAMA.

House Afrika is helmed by a triumvirate who’ve enjoyed successes in the arenas of business, beat-production and deejaying.

Vinny Da Vinci is one of the most important figures in the SA funk-sphere and has played a pivotal part in the scene’s evolution. A pioneering DJ at clubs like Pretoria’s Carnalita, he’s got over a dozen hit mix compilations to his name as well as three original albums out (alongside the legendary DJ Christos) under the DJs At Work guise.

Tim White is the daddy and doyen of SA’s deep house scene, an underground hero integral to laying down the foundations of its dance culture. A regular DJ at the country’s first techno and house haven, Fourth World, in the early 90s, Tim became renowned for his “Sunday Loungin’” style (this description is also incidentally the title of one of his own tracks) and then initiated the House Afrika empire, which has become a sanctum for SA’s dance elite.

The final member of this almighty beat-team is Glenn van Loggerenberg (aka DJ Strat3gy), owner of cutting-edge convergence agency and production company, Don’t Look Down,which has been responsible for a slew of hit music and entertainment shows on TV stations like Channel O, Vuzu and M-Net. A creditable DJ in his own right, his eclectic selections have been spun out in places like The Foundation in Rosebank (one of the seminal stomping grounds for the deep and tech house sector), where he was resident for a number of years, and on CDs like the excellent ‘House Afrika Grooves’ collection.

These extremely knowledgeable and astute dance aficionados say they are thrilled about the new deal with Sony Music, which will afford their savvy vision on dance culture and their uncompromising, ear-to-the-ground attitudes the requisite airtime and daylight it deserves.

Sony Music are just as ecstatic about the partnership. Sony executive Spiro Damaskinos, who will be working directly with the House Afrika team on the new venture, says, “Tim and Vinny are seasoned experts who’ve had a hand in some of the biggest house music successes in this country, and they continue to prove their relevance, as illustrated by their involvement in the recent breakthroughs of Rhythmic Elements and Liquideep.” He continues: “Glenn is a respected media pro who is passionate about house music, and his pioneering vision is an asset that will bring a fresh, creative dynamic to how House Afrika plies their trade.”