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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Comments About South Africa's Gqom Music From Four YouTube Discussion Threads Of Gqom Music

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides a compilation of comments about South Africa's contemporary music genre called "Gqom" from four YouTube discussion threads of Gqom videos.

Addendum to this post quotes a review of a 2016 compilation album entitled Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban by GQOM OH!. This Addendum also includes one purchaser's review of that album.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and educational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the performers who are featured in these embedded videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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INFORMATION AND COMMENTS ABOUT GQOM MUSIC & GWARA GWARA DANCING
Pancocojams Editor's note:
These excerpts are given in no particular order and are numbered for referencing purposes only.

Some of these comments include the curse word "f&&k" written with the substitute letters/elements as they are found in those comments.

Excerpt #1:
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlkybvVEQ4g Babes Wodumo ft Mampintsha - Wololo (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)
1. Homer Simpson, 2017
"Guys - please explain to me - I am not familiar with SA House Music - I look at this and all I hear is a Drum beat with a few Lyrics can be so popular - How is that possible?"

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REPLY
2. Homer Simpson, 2017
".... This song has nothing. It's a drumbeat with some people shouting Vocals in a single monotonous tone. How the heck does that work? Have Music standards become so low?"

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3. Flakka Goat, 2017
"+Homer Simpson you've answered your own question, it's the drum progression and catchy vocals that make the song. it's a gqom track and in gqom, drum progression are king not melody. gqom tracks are drum driven, high energy, simple vocals, simple repetitive melody and dark atmosphere. also there's nothing monotonous about the tone of the vocals, they fit the mood and energy of the song. go listen to some gqom tracks, it will make more sense then."

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4 Rabotlhoko Tlhabane, 2017
"Trust me cousin, this track is overrated and overhyped! Any Lento by Professor ft Speedy destroys this Wololo...."
-snip-
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og5InvyyhYY for a video of Lento by Professor ft Speedy. That song is an example of South Africa's House music.

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5. Flakka Goat, 2017
"no it doesn't, gqom tunes bring out inner ratchetry you can't get that type of energy from soft ass songs like lento.,"
-snip-
The word "rachetry" is a newly [?] coined expansion of the slang word "ratchet". In this comment, bringing out [your] inner rachetry" means something like "being your real self with no inhibitions, getting loose, getting "turnt up". I believe that older ways of saying this are "letting it all hang out" and "getting down to the real nitty gritty." [Additions and corrections are welcome.]

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6. sipho mvandaba, 2017
"stop hating bra"

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7. Rabotlhoko Tlhabane, 2017
"Hating? No old friend.. It's me opinion but Lento is better than this track"

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8. Vegas Element, 2018
"How do you pronounce 'gqom'...."

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REPLY
9. Cor Rautenbach,2018
"You have to click your tongue on the q (Press tongue against top of mouth and click down). Like the click sounds you hear when they speak in Wakanda. It takes some practice."
-snip-
"When they speak in Wakanda" refers to the isiXhosa accent that was used in the 2018 Black Panther movie.

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Excerpt #2:
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Npw4M2XLZK0 Distruction Boyz - Omunye ft Benny Maverick & Dladla Mshunqisi (Official Music Video)
1. Marc Jackson, 2018
"When the song is lit without to many lyrics"

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REPLY
2. SINE xo, 2018
"Marc Jackson that’s SA music for you! Gqom and Afro House are about the soul and BEAT"

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3. Thulasizwe Mashinini, 2018
"SINE xo Gcom is not house music, it's a genre of its own."
SINE xo, 2018
"Thulasizwe Mashinini where in my comment did I say it’s House music? 😭I am aware what Gqom is being that I am a South African from Durban! 🤯"

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Excerpt #3:
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRnYn9BhG8M Babes Wodumo ft Duma Ntando & Mampintsha - Jiva Phez'kombhede (Official Music Video)
1. Capital Kingbourne, 2017
"Someone needs to explain gqom to some people. Gqom has never been about meaningful, thought provoking lyrics. Gqom is about turning up the volume, shutting up and grooving. Ku👏🏾phe👏🏾la👏🏾"

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2. msindisi ncayiyana, 2017
"Capital Kingbourne couldn’t have said it any better. Gqom ain’t no RnB n some sh#t like that, where we listen for lyrics. #JayivaPhezuKombhede"

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3. Lungisani Gwala, 2017
"It's just like trap in HipHop.."

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4. Kgomotso Mathope, 2017
"Capital Kingbourne as much as I love soulful music sometimes one needs to let their hair down and just dance and have fun...."

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5. Thulasizwe Mashinini, 2017
"Thanks for explaining why Gcom is trash music"

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6. Kagiso More, 2018
"fuxk gqom.. its stupid and retarded.. yall lack taste"

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7. Thanzi Ramukosi, 2018
"my guy you are missing the point. if you listen to the lyrics and be deep it will not make sense. BUT that is the point, do not be deep just shut up and groove.

everyone here have music they listen to that has "taste". And just because you don't like something, it doesn't mean those who do lack "taste". Preference is subjective."

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8. Phyllis Zondi, 2017
"The video is🔥🔥🔥Babes is 🔥🔥🔥 the beat is 🔥🔥🔥 the lyrics 😑💩💩....and that is why Babes will struggle to win awards, she has to do better lyrically even tho Gqom isn't a lyrical type of music, Babes has to set herself apart because any girl with a nice body and colorful hairstyle could imitate her (e.g. NUZ queen)"

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9. Sophia Dlamini, 2017
"This song is so empty. i wish there were more lyrics!"

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10. Daniel Geyze, 2017
"I no none of the lyrics but I love it gr8 beat"

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11. Selu Phewa, 2017
"I'm confused by those who are judging the lyrical aspect of this song...if you know igqomu langempela from the RudeBoyz, TLC, Sparks Bantwana, Ndile(ungabaseleki), Lag era you'd know lyrics was Juss ukukhwezela(sing along) especially when high from ecstasy in a loud taxi or club...y'all comments on lyrics should go to hip hop"

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12. Afro World ZA, 2017
"Empty lyrics"

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13. Vusumzi Mzuzwana Vusi, 2017
"babes is lazy to write ngeke..but it's Gqom can't complain"

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14. Skhumbuzo Dube, 2018
"Dance on top of the bed, someones wakes up. Thank me later for the translation"

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15. Jimmy Mk, 2018
"I don't understand what they are saying, but it seems they really put a lot of work into those lyrics ..."

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16. Charles, 2018
"not much. they just keep shouting they dancing on the bed. it keeps goin on lyk that. no art"

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17. Ismaël Papa, 2018
"Really good beat. I don’t understand why the clip is so sexualised. Would just keep the audio version"

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18. Lazarus. p. stephenson, 2018
"they just wasted a good beat i swear"

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Excerpt #4
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFao_oNYjBE Babes Wodumo - Ganda Ganda ft Mampintsha and Madanon (Official Music Video)
1. YFW, 2017
"What language is this? Because I need to learn it. 🔥🔥"

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REPLY
2. Samke Dladla, 2017
"It's in Zulu"

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3. Rabbeca Saili, 2017
"Sammy D what does Babes Wodumo's part mean please"

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4. Samke Dladla, 2017
"It's a stupid children's nursery rhyme about a tractor. Nothing amazing really."

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5. Nkosinathi Caluza, 2017
"Imanike how is it Babes "FEATURING" Mampintsha and Madanone when she only says 4 words throughout the song"

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6. radlegend, 2017
"True, she only starts "singing" 2 mins into a 3min song."

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7. Ashingtone Mlambo, 2018
"It’s called gqom music"

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8. Mohau Moabi, 2017
"madanon....Thanks babes for the kind of music, deep house can be tiring sometimes"

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9. Ntwanano Mazibuko, 2017
"Damn I won't say anything about the lyrics, but this, to me, is the only track thing closest to a hit that comes after Wololo by Babes Wodumo. Ya ba nghoma leyi, big ups!"

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10. Charles, 2018
"this girl is takin us for fools. she takes all those kiddies songs we used play with when we were little and she makes songs out of them. wtf? wheres the creativity?"

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11. mlungesto 26 IKL, 2018
"Charles If you knew what gqom is you wouldn't even say that."

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12. Palekid Yung Sav, 2018
"this track ai man no stress"

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ADDENDUM: REVIEW OF A 2016 GQOM COMPILATION
Excerpt #1:
From https://gqomoh.bandcamp.com/album/gqom-oh-the-sound-of-durban
"‘The Sound of Durban Vol.1’ represents the first full length compilation collecting the sound of the suburbs and townships of Durban, South Africa known as “gqom”. The album unites many of the local young producers of this fresh genre over 15 tracks on double LP and digital (with four bonus tracks) released via the Gqom Oh! label on 29th January 2016.

The result of Rome-based DJ and musician Nan Kolè teaming up with South Africa-based Lerato Phiri, the Gqom Oh! label was set up to highlight the music and artists of Durban, the often overlooked cradle of the new South African sound. Speaking to The FADER in October this year, Kolè says of Phiri “Thanks to her work the artists I was interested in had greater trust in a stranger who contacted them from Italy to promote a kind of music that even South African promoters don't want to promote or to enter the club.”

Derived from an onomatopoeic Zulu word signifying a drum, “gqom” - in the local slang - “iz da sound u get wen u drop a rock on tiles”. This extraordinary, apocalyptic bass music encompasses many influences. Each polyrhythmic track draws on the darker side of electronic music, hip hop, soundsystem culture, kwaito, UK funky and deep tribal African vibrations. As Kolè puts it: “You can feel the troubled history of South Africa. It’s riot music." Tied to a specific dance called bhenga, gqom happens in a DIY-oriented universe, grafting organic and homemade samples on sourced software to create this wholly unique sound. The label’s greater aim is to invest in much needed technology to help build a local creative infrastructure.

‘The Sound of Durban Vol.1’ features a host of local talent including Julz Da DeeJay, Cruel Boyz, Citizen Boy and Formation Boyz. This compilation was preceded by a 12” EP release in summer 2015 described by Hyponik as “thunderous prime time music” and Complex said “it surely won't be long until clubs across the UK are shaken by this new South African sound”. Resident Advisor’s review mentioned “these three tracks muster up a hulking sound out of very few elements, and they do it without coming off macho or alienating—an achievement on its own”.

South Africa is a unique case in the African continent, a place of the soul that has no equal: so strongly western and so deeply African at the same time. With its mix of ethnic tradition and urban tension it has been a cradle of cultural phenomena. In its own way it is a country of great wealth, particularly rich of contradictions, yet 20 years after the end of apartheid little appears to have changed for the millions of black people that live in its notorious townships. It is from this background that innovations are continually being injected into the living body of the local music culture. The heartbeat of Durban is gqom.

released February 1, 2016"
-snip-
This 2016 review indicates that "Tied to a specific dance called bhenga". However, it appears that that dance style has given way to "gwara gwara". Here's an excerpt about gwara gwara from the internet article [no date given] "Top Dance Styles in Africa" By Lebo Matshego https://www.africa.com/top-dance-styles-africa/
"The [gwara gwara] dance went viral after DJ Bongz posted tutorials of how to do the dance on his social media streams, and has been featured in the videos of some of the country’s biggest hits, including “Wololo” by Babes Wodumo and “Gobisiqolo” by Bhizer. Gwara Gwara dance has become one of the most popular dance styles in Africa."

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Excerpt #2 [from that same link]
Ate Bit Emilio: "The Sound of Durban is a perfect introduction to a new genre that's caught the ear of many DJs & electronic music producers around the world. This style is heavy hitting but not necessarily as dark as people may seem to think - more-so intense and rhythmic. I can see this dominating late night dancefloors as well as after hours parties where you want to keep the heat going and growing. I'm eager to hear more from artists in this genre as it expands and gains more of the notoriety it deserves."

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3 comments:

  1. A number of comments that I've read from South Africans in YouTube discussion threads for Gqom videos are emphatic that Gqom and House music are two separate music genres.

    Perhaps it should be noted that some (most?) articles about Gqom don't make that distinction. For example, the very brief Wikipedia artile on Gqom indicates that "Gqom /ᶢǃʱòm/ (Igqomu)[pronunciation?] is a style of house music that emerged a decade into the 21st century from the city of Durban in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.[1] The style features wavy and bass beats produced with software such as FL Studio, and has gained prominence in London.[2][3] The word gqom, sometimes expressed as qgom, igqom, gqomu or variants thereof, derives from an onomatopoeic combination of click consonants from the Zulu & the Xhosa language that represents a hitting drum"... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gqom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That said, I've also read a number of comments from South Africans who consider Gqom music as part of Afro House music.

      Here's a response to my question about Gqom music in the discussion thread for this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1wVpFCHeyM&lc=z22nu1ppxperwxm0facdp43bdbh2jnju0akkn15aie1w03c010c.1533559657448205 DJ Maphorisa - Midnight Starring ft. DJ Tira, Busiswa, Moonchild Sanelly

      Rocboy SA, 2018
      "+Azizi Powell also afro house is an umbrella term for African house so gqom is a sub genre others include tribal house,afrotech, afrodeep, commercial house etc".
      -snip-
      The word "also" was included because RocboySA replied to my question about the meaning of the frequent mention of the month "December" in contemporary South African music discussion threads (i.e. "It's a December banger"). Rocboy SA explained that December is summer in South Africa, festive month because of Christmas and holidays. He also shared that a number of records are released that month.
      -snip-
      Thanks Rocboy SA for your responses to my questions.

      Btw, the word "banger" isn't used in the USA, but that word (which I think originated in Great British) means a hit (very good) record.

      Delete
  2. Here's an excerpt about Gqom from http://www.factmag.com/2016/01/05/gqom-feature/ Gqom: A deeper look at South Africa’s new generation of house BY BEN MURPHY, JAN 5 2016

    ...“In Africa, electronic music is bubbling. Across the vast continent, fresh machine-generated sounds are popping off, sometimes drawing on outside influences, sometimes made within their own creative bubble. In Egypt, electro chaabi, the computerized update of urban folk music, recently caught the ear of Kode9 and other forward-thinking UK DJs. Afrobeats, with its hip-hop leaning, accessible 4/4 vibe, has travelled beyond its origins in Nigeria and Ghana to grow in the UK and beyond, whilst in South Africa, house and its many regional variants like kwaito have been popular for a long time. Its most visible house artist, Black Coffee, is a superstar at home and popular worldwide.

    Of all these exciting, recently unfolding forms, gqom could be the most outlandish. Emerging mostly from the townships of Durban, South Africa’s second most populous city, gqom is a raw dance music blueprint with a polyrhythmic bustle – part broken beat, part chrome-plated synth menace. Skeletal, robotic, unsettling and irresistible, it sounds somewhat influenced by UK sounds like grime and funky, but has nothing to do with them, says gqom producer Citizen Boy, part of the Mafia Boyz collective.

    "I think the style was invented when some unknown guy from elokishini, the ghetto, got hold of production software and began experimenting and making something he could dance to, and gqom was born,” says (brilliantly named) producer Emo Kid, but some reckon that it mutated from other previously existing styles. Gqom shares some similarities with the local house sound, despite its non-4/4 pattern, and it’s often blended at house parties by DJs playing a mix of gqom, sgubhu and hip-hop.

    “I think I heard about gqom music in 2012,” says Citizen Boy, who believes the style comes from “an old genre called Sgxumseni, which means ‘make us jump’.” He adds: “DJ Clock and DJ Gukwa used to produce it, then after a while Naked Boyz arose and they took the spot like it’s the genre gqom. It’s almost the same as gqom, but the difference is that Sgxumseni is a four-step and gqom is a broken beat — it can be a three-step or two-step beat.”

    “Gqom music relates a lot to house music but it is also slightly different from house music, it is very tribal and the kick drum has an unfamiliar pattern,” adds Emo Kid. “It is very easy to identify a gqom sound because it is unique.”...

    ReplyDelete