What is 'Kwaito' and 'Fourth World'?
As SA music continues its steady jive into the world music spotlight, two
slang buzzwords are increasingly being used to describe new categories of
SA music. In Britain the music writers are constantly striving to create names
for what they hope will be the big new 'thing' on the music scene. Genres such
as 'Britpop' and 'Romo' are but two recent attempts to describe emerging styles.
In SA the new 'big thing' is Kwaito, which is simply South African produced
black dance music. To quote Tim White ..."Kwaito emerged in 1992 when young
local black music producers started to mix international R 'n B and house music
with local rhythms and basslines to create a fresh new style. Its tempo is slow
with massive organ basslines and gimmicky vocals. As techno has invaded
and dominated the white market of dance music for the past few years, so has
Kwaito had the same effect on the black market. Every weekend you'll find
thousands of people stomping to Kwaito at 'Bashes' (the equivalent of black raves)
throughout the land."
Most of the more successful exponents of Kwaito have their CDs available in the
Kwaito section of our ONE WORLD online CD store. M'du, Mashamplani, Thebe,
Skeem, Chiskop, Vibe Lezinto and Arthur (whose "Kaffir" single has achieved a combination
of 'eyebrow-raising and jaw-dropping' crossover appeal).
'Fourth World', however, is merely a name given to all those SA artists who refuse to fit snugly
into a defined musical category, except for the one called 'Uniquely South African with wide
International appeal'. This group would include Johnny Clegg, Tananas, Tony Cox, Bayete
and the Soweto String Quartet.
Stephen Segerman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Great Rodriguez Website
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