Earlier this year, House On Fire announced the official 2023 CollaboNation artists as Thobile Makhoyane (Eswatini) X The Hood Brodz (Mozambique), and Mokoomba (Zimbabwe) X Morena Leraba (Lesotho).
After weeks of planning and online collaboration, the artists are starting to record their songs. The first recording session with Mokoomba and Morena Leraba commenced in Harare on Monday 1 May, soon to be followed by Thobile and The Hood Brodz who will record in Maputo, Mozambique. Each recording pair will be hosted in-studio for 2 days to create their unique collaborative song, which will also have a music video filmed and produced documenting the live song performances that will take place at the upcoming MTN Bushfire Festival held in Eswatini from 26 – 28 May 2023.
This exciting new step in the CollaboNation process is bringing to life the project goals of connecting and uniting the region through a series of unique music collaborations and building linkages between cultural industries and networks. The aim is to extend the reach of Southern African artists, exposing them to new audiences, media, promoters and other industry professionals, in order to access new markets and communities while developing artist brands.
Since the artist announcements, the teams have been hard at work in their own studios and connecting online in order to prepare for their time in studio. These exciting preparations were documented and can be viewed on the MTN Bushfire Youtube channel shorts: https://www.youtube.com/@MTNBushfireFestival/shorts
The production of the reels and the final CollaboNation videos also provide a skills training and development opportunity, with award-winning production house and long-time MTN Bushfire videography team Makhulu Media mentoring Mzwandile Kunene, Creative Director of 100% Eswatini-owned and based Motion Skies Pictures, a multimedia and communications company in Mbabane.
The CollaboNation Artists
Thobile Makhoyane: Hailing from the mountainous Kingdom of eSwatini, Thobile Makhoyane’s musical sorcery finds her melding influences from home and abroad under her ‘hypno-rock’ rubric – her imposing vocals floating divinely over acoustic sounds and a live band often comprising a mix of traditional and western instruments. Thobile names golden African voices Jabu Khanyile, Smiles Makama, Busi Mhlongo, Suthukazi Arosi, Youssou N’Dour and Oumou Sangaré among her key influences.
The Hood Brodz: The Hood Brodz is a DJ/Producer duo hailing from Maputo, Mozambique. Ayrton and younger brother Hélio have been working together since 2011, releasing many songs on international labels in South Africa, France, Dubai and Angola, and more, as well as establishing their mark on the Mozambican music landscape. They draw their inspiration from their ‘hood in Maputo, Bairro Trevo.
Makoomba: Mokoomba, an explosively talented six-man crew from the Victoria Fall, has been hailed as one of the most exciting band from Africa in the 21st century! With over 40 countries and prestigious international festivals under their belt, they performed at the world’s biggest festivals and venues, Sziget, Roskilde, North Sea Jazz, New York’s Apollo Theater, New Orleans Jazz and many more.
Morena Leraba: Teboho Mochaoa, known commonly by his stage name Morena Leraba, is a Lesotho-born singer and rapper. He mainly uses traditional seSotho lyrics and combines them with Electro, Afro-House and Hip Hop. His lyrics are deeply rooted in Lesotho’s traditional music, poetry, and its sub-genre Famo.
CollaboNation is funded by the Sound Connects Fund, an initiative by the Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) and Goethe-Institut. The Sound Connects Fund is made possible with funding from the ACP-EU Culture Programme, a project implemented by the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and funded by the European Union (EU). The Fund is also co-funded by Goethe-Institut and Siemens Stiftung.
This first edition of the CollaboNation project invited artists from Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, giving them the opportunity to collaborate with each other by recording original and inspirational songs. Future CollaboNation editions will be expanded to include more countries in Africa and beyond, with the eventual aim of arranging collaborations between African artists and those from other continents, creating a truly global interchange of cultures and musical styles.
Follow these two amazing collaborative journeys with in-studio vids, artist reels, and other audio and visual releases leading up to MTN Bushfire 2023 and the subsequent music video release, by simply following “CollaboNation” on Facebook, Instagram, and @CollaboNation_ on Twitter or subscribe to the CollaboNation YouTube channel.
For more information, check out the CollaboNation section on the MTN Bushfire website: www.bush-fire.com/collabonation