Daniel Haaksman is a Berlin native who’s made a career of enveloping himself in the sounds of regions south of the equator. While he made his name championing the urban sounds of Brazil, his latest album, African Fabrics, celebrates the sounds of this continent and the diaspora, while challenging the sometimes-restrictive notion of what ‘African sound’ means, or, more specifically, what the West’s perception of Africa’s regional music is in 2016.
The album opens with ‘Akabongi’, which is a cover of the 1994 Soul Brothers hit. This version featuring Spoek Mathambo. The original is a jive classic of post-regime-change South Africa and Spoek is the perfect man for the cover. It speaks to the roots of his sound; he brings vitality to the mix and spits an 8-bar over a reimagining of the original’s horn turn.
The song is packaged with this stunning video from director Chris Kets shot in Joburg streets and basements, in which Mathambo and Mada ‘Scorpion’ (The Pantsula) are working in this internet cafe/cellphone repair shop/barber shop and the video plays out as a ‘day in the life of’.