If you don’t know DJ Spoko already, he’s one of the pioneers of the Pretoria-based sound, Bacardi House, working closely with the enigmatically troubled producer behind that Warp-released Township Funk track. In the past couple years, Spoko (real name Marvin Ramalepe), has finally achieved some measure of global acclaim. After a recent show in Glasgow, Ramalepe was hospitalised after falling seriously ill as a result of chronic TB, a very common condition in South Africa.
Whilst literally in a hospital bed, Spoko has been producing (obviously, he never stops) a brand new 6-track EP, called Special Edition, in order to fundraise for his aftercare treatment once he returns to South Africa.
All proceeds from the sale of the EP, available on his Bandcamp below, will go towards the ‘Spoko Foundation’, which will be used to sustain him while he recovers and is unable to work. In addition to his constant battle to uplift his friends and neighbours from hardship in his Pretoria township, he has vowed to educate people on TB, once he has recovered, to help prevent its continued spread.
Fellow Highlife-ers, Auntie Flo and Esa, have also auctioned an impossibly rare Letta Mbulu vinyl to raise cash for Ramalepe, as reported by The Vinyl Factory:
“To raise funds they’re auctioning off an original pressing of Letta Mbulu’s 1983 holy-grail In The Music The Village Never Ends, which features cult track ‘Nomalizo’. Owned by one of the Highlife crew members, the copy is actually a Kenyan pressing which is even harder to get hold of than the South African original.”
Apart from the fact that this EP is for a very good cause, it is also !
Article image from photograph by Kent Andreasen