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Music South Africa

Amadou & Mariam to headline MTN Bushfire 2024

The 17th edition of MTN Bushfire festival, taking place from 31 May to 2 June at House On Fire in Eswatini, has announced this year’s headlining act – the internationally revered, legendary pioneers of the Malian Blues genre, Amadou & Mariam!
Image supplied
Image supplied

With a career spanning almost 50 years, Amadou & Mariam have asserted themselves as the ultimate ambassadors of Afropop. They have enjoyed international success, collaborated with some of the world’s greatest names (Damon Albarn of Blur, Santigold, Scissor Sisters, Theophilus London, Amp Fiddler) and toured the world’s largest festivals.

Over the course of their decades-long career, they have taken the Malian Blues that made them a household name and opened it up to Rock, Hip Hop and Disco influences, spreading their Afropop message and joie de vivre.

The duo is a perfect and welcome addition to the MTN Bushfire lineup as they replace the previously announced headliner, Nneka, who had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.

Ballantine’s Firefly Stage

The Ballantine’s Firefly Stage will be headlined by some of South Africa’s top names in House Music, Da Capo, Daliwonga and Vigro Deep, courtesy of Ballantine’s.

Da Capo is hailed as one of South Africa’s finest House Music DJs and producers. With his distinct genre-bending sounds, he has earned recognition for his blend of African rhythms and electronic beats with hit tracks that set dance floors ablaze across the world.

One of the prominent voices in the Amapiano genre, Daliwonga will captivate with his Amapiano anthems laced with soulful vocals and infectious melodies.

Rising Amapiano DJ and producer, Vigro Deep will be firing up the Ballantine’s Firefly stage with his distinctive Amapiano flair fused expertly with elements of EDM, dubstep, techno house and other genres.

Other highlights

The Africa Rising Music Conference (ARMC) which is the official partner for MTN Bushfire’s annual Arts Round Table arts industry workshops, will be sponsoring acts ALBI X and Rita Kamale. Intoxicating and energetic, ALBI X is an Afro-German who speaks to young people with complex identities and life realities.

He celebrates his multinational self with a lyrical fusion of Lingala, French and English, countering discrimination with a positive, energetic and inclusive worldview. Rita Kamale is a multi-disciplinary artist based between London and Casablanca, Morocco, with a sound best categorised as Alternative RnB/Rap.

Other highlights at the festival will include South African singer/songwriter, Thandiswa Mazwai, with her uplifting sociopolitical messaging and inspiring fusion of traditional Xhosa rhythms, Mbaqanga, Funk, Jazz and Reggae.

The incomparable ‘King of the Zulu Guitar’, Dr Madala Kunene, appearing alongside Guy Buttery, who, despite their 36-year age difference have collaborated for almost two decades since they first met at a TV show rehearsal.

The Southern African region is also well represented with Lesotho singer and songwriter, Maleh, who returns to the festival with rich melodies and raw baselines of West and Southern African music. Eswatini’s Bholoja will once again steal hearts with his distinct voice and authentically Swazi sound.

Steward Sukuma from Mozambique is another exciting act to look forward to. Steward combines traditional and contemporary Mozambican music with revolutionary instrumentation creating an energetic, danceable and infectious sound.

Another perfect complement to the MTN Bushfire music programme aesthetic will be American-Sudanese rapper and producer, Oddissee & Good Company. Spanish duo, Fetén Fetén, will mesmerize with their mix of Traditional and Folk Dance Music. French DJ, DJ Sebb will get you on your feet dancing to the rhythms of his deck.

Jazzing things up from the UK are Camilla George and Blue Lab Beats whose performances are supported by a dynamic partnership between pioneering grassroots jazz organisation, Jazz re:freshed and South African creative agency, The Dig.

The full lineup will be available on the MTN Bushfire website this week.

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