MTN Bushfire, taking place in Swaziland and named Africa’s Top Festival by the BBC, is known as one of the most inclusive and diverse festivals in the world.
Entering its 2nd decade, the festival’s commitment to the arts, the environment, and social change is stronger than ever. As Africa’s premiere world music festival, MTN Bushfire has always had strong African roots and this year is no exception, with MTN Bushfire proud to announce the triumphant return of Kwaito superstars TKZee. Congolese performer Baloji, and the Taureg rebel Bombino and the Belgian / South African newcomer Petite Noir are amongst the first batch of artists confirmed to grace the MTN Bushfire 2017 main stage. Fans of 90’s Kwaito can rejoice in the return of arguably one of the original Kwaito acts – TKZee helped to define the era. Made up of three school friends who have all made a name for themselves individually, Zwai Bala, Kabelo Mabalane and Tokollo Tshabalala are BACK with all of their 90’s hits including Take it Eezy, Palafala, Shibobo, and more. Its time to get retro and groove to this distinctly South African sound.
Congolese performer Baloji is a poet, composer, lyricist/beatmaker, scriptwriter, actor, and video artist. His genre busting music is elegantly poised at the crossroads of African music, rap music, American music (soul, funk, jazz) and even deep house that has its roots in part in the region of Belgium where Baloji grew up. Baloji means “man of science” in Swahili, but during the colonial period, that meaning shifted to “man of the occult sciences and sorcery.” Regardless of interpretation, Baloji places his resilience at the center of his work, reconciling all of these influences to enrich his projects. The French singer has achieved international acclaim since the release of his debut album Hotel Impala (2008) and has gone on to perform across the world in over 200 shows.
Taureg music and culture has captured the world’s attention in recent years, and one of its most successful sons is Bombino. Born in the Ifoghas Tribe of the Taureg people, who have long been recognised as warriors, traders and travelers of the Sahara Desert; and as people of grace and nobility; as well as fighters of fierce reputation, Bombino is the epitome of his people and his culture. A self-proclaimed rebel, two of his musicians were killed during the 2nd Taureg rebellion of 2017. In exile in Burkina Faso, Bombino’s long journey as a desert blues musician even took him to the United States where he had the chance to record a version of the Rolling Stones classic Hey Negrita alongside Stones’ members Keith Richards and Charlie Watts. Bombino’s first internationally released album, Agadez, was produced by Ron Wyman and released in 2011 receiving worldwide acclaim. His follow up, Nomad, debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music album chart and has earned rave reviews from top media outlets around the world including BBC World Service, which calls it “utterly, utterly fantastic” and Rolling Stone, which calls Nomad “a perfect match of sound and soul [that] introduces a new guitar hero”.
Petite Noir is a young South African of Belgian and Angolan descent and is a songwriter, producer and musician who defies description. Petite Noir was one half of Popskarr with Spoek Mathambo and was also a member of the music collective Capital of Cool. Since his recording debut in 2012 Petite Noir has created what he describes as “noir wave” or “new wave with an African aesthetic.” Petite Noir is one of the most exciting new electronic music artists to emerge from the thriving Cape Town scene.
Every year around 25,000 music fans from across the globe gather in the scenic Malkerns Valleys of Swaziland to experience the internationally acclaimed event. More than simply a music festival, MTN Bushfire is a holistic experience made up of a rich texture of arts, cultures, crafts, food and people, carefully curated into specialized zones, to create an explosive three-day event and a memorable take home, family–friendly experience. Celebrated for its uniquely African yet global offering, the MTN Bushfire line-up will once again include some of Africa’s top artists as well as a host of artists from across the world.
Stay tuned for more exciting artist announcements over the next few weeks.
In 2017, MTN Bushfire looks to further encourage the #BRINGYOURFIRE message and participation through various activities within the festival, by introducing the brand new “Bring Your Fire” Zone, an interactive space devoted to activities where all guests can participate in #BRINGYOURFIRE activations. Bushfire Festival Director Jiggs Thorne, describes the festival this way, “MTN Bushfire is a celebration of the human spirit and the joy of creative expression that seeks to encourage everyone to contribute and engage. In doing this we ask questions of ourselves, of artists, and of our audiences on how best to shape the festival we have created, how do we become practical dreamers, and how do we continue to BRING OUR FIRE? Exploring these questions defines our festival and is the real spirit that people take home with them!”
MTN Bushfire is a cultural immersion like no other. To take part in MTN Bushfire and become part of a global community with firmly African roots, that one journalist described as a “living breathing creative ecosystem,” we invite you to #BRINGYOURFIRE to MTN Bushfire 2017 that will take place from 26 – 28 May 2017 and book your early bird tickets now.