- Published on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 02:00
The South African music scene has always seemed a bit different compared to the Westernised and American pop culture. A lot of South Africans are not aware of their local music artists and bands. Is this because we still think that the South African music scene is underdeveloped and therefore not worthy of our listening pleasure? Or do we thrive on American pop culture so much that we are blinded, or deafened, to our own musicians as South Africans?
The South African Music Awards nominees list for 2011 is out. However, looking at the nominees this year, it is clear that there is a certain pattern of genre which influences the South African music scene and the way this influence is implemented into the music that is being produced locally.
One of the bands nominated in a couple of categories is “Fairytale” hit makers, Liquideep. Their music is considered to be a form of house music that is authentic to South Africa, which makes it a “local” sound. House music, however, has become an established form of music in popular culture to such an extent that American hip-hop artists are using it in their music. One only has to look at the likes of Pitbull and Lil’ Wayne to understand the influence of House music on popular culture.
Do we as South Africans really care about what is going on in our local music scene? If one has to ask around about local artists and the ones that are listened to, the same names keep occurring: Liquideep, Locnville, Jax Panik, HHP, JR, Jamali, The Parlotones, Prime Circle, Die Antwoord and Jack Parow. Although these musicians produce great music and uplift the South African music scene, there’s a certain factor of “rejection” when it comes to listening to local music.
An interesting aspect about some South Africans is that when they hear a song that they enjoy but are told that the song is locally produced, they give an immediate response of, “Oh, I thought it sounded too local to be American” or an immediate rejection of the song. This is not a positive response in a country where we, as South Africans, are trying to rise up to the same levels as our international counterparts and this extends into our entertainment industry as well.
So is South African music living up to international standards? Yes it is. One only has to listen to the aforementioned artists to understand that concept. Is South African music being marketed to the same degree as international music? That is debatable. Some are and some are not. For those that are not, is it because their music is not of quality?
No. It is simply because there is not a strong market for South African music as South Africans, like most of the world, are following the monoculture of Americanisation and becoming Westernised in order to achieve recognition on an international standard.