The first tracks from House on Fire’s pan-African music project CollaboNation have officially been released!
“Sek’sedvute” by Thobile Makhoyane (Eswatini) X The Hood Brodz (Mozambique), and “Chisimo” by Mokoomba (Zimbabwe) X Morena Leraba (Lesotho) are now available as audio tracks on all streaming platforms, as well as the MTN Bushfire website, www.bush-fire.com/collabonation
The music videos, including their MTN Bushfire 2023 performances, can be seen here.
Produced by Bushfire Records, the tracks have been released globally via the partnership with independent European-based distribution company Paradise Worldwide. The 2023 CollaboNation tracks speak to hope and heritage, reflecting the values of the House on Fire and the MTN Bushfire festival.
“These are the first tracks produced by CollaboNation, an annual project that aims to create dynamic new content, support arts mobility in Africa and expand the reach of artist brands through the cross-pollination of fan-bases,” said Jiggs Thorne, Creative Director of House on Fire and MTN Bushfire.
Mokoomba and Morena Leraba’s song “Chisimo”, means “Riddle” in Luvale (or Chiluvale), one of the Bantu languages found in some regions of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola. Mokoomba and Morena Leraba describe the song as “a musical marriage that then becomes a journey of affirming and discovering similarities/connections within our Bantu languages. In an ever-changing global culture, where colonialism (in Africa and other regions) shaped many of our institutions, it is crucial to safeguard and preserve our indigenous languages, especially when the idea of decolonization is presented.”
The songs have already attracted good reviews from notables in the music industry, with veteran Johannesburg-based DJ, podcaster, editor and journalist Charles Leonard describing “Chisimo” as, “Evocative and tightly produced, the intro already forces you to put down everything else – then the horns kick in! Morena’s superb voice is an instrument on its own. It’s completely modern while proudly positioned in the Southern African region’s roots. SADC’s finest show how you can sound! They really put the ‘collab’ in CollaboNation!”
Nicky Blumenfeld (Nicky B), from the Kaya FM World Show, had this to say of “Chisimo”: “A truly special encounter between Lesotho and Zimbabwe that echoes across Africa, connecting the continent through a deeply rooted but futuristic interpretation of desert blues. Conceptually, lyrically and melodically, this is a powerful song on so many levels!”
She goes on to describe the second CollaboNation release, Sek’sedvute, as “A well-produced interplay of Mozambique Electro with Swati spirituality. Ritualistic Afro-tech at its best!”
“Sek’sedvute”, meaning ‘it is close” in siSwati, is driven by an irresistible dance beat interlaced with Thobile Mokhoyane’s clear soaring voice. Mozambican Electronic duo Hood Brodz describe it thusly: “This song reveals the dream that we all have inside of us; that one day we can wake up in the middle of accomplishments”.
The live-performance videos available on YouTube have been released along with the tracks, and were filmed at the 2023 edition of the MTN Bushfire Festival in Eswatini. The artists debuted the songs at the festival to hugely appreciative crowds.
The first year of CollaboNation has been funded by the Sound Connect Fund, an initiative by the Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) and Goethe-Institut. The Sound Connect 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.