Bangkok surprise #4 – the happening African music scene

4 01 2015

And in yet another of its trademark wildcard moves, Bangkok revealed to me on this trip one of its previously un-guessed-at riches: a happening African music scene. Who knew?  Studio Lam, the new bar run by DJ Maft Sai and Zudrangma records, just hosted an East African taraab and rhumba night, featuring a specialist DJ of Tanzanian music. This is very much in keeping with the ‘world groove’ ethos of Zudrangma’s Paradise Bangkok parties. They play music ” built for sound systems, outside parties and the worldwide dancehall, from Kingston to Ubon, from Accra to Khon Kaen.” Their promo blurb continues: ” Join the journey through tough basslines, heavy percussion and music designed to move any crowd from around the globe. Isan Dancehall – get ready for the Afro/Asian Soundclash……”

The organisers have previously run a Nigerian funk night too (see the flyer above).

But far away from this, separate from the “world music” hipster scene is another more obscure (to outsiders) African-oriented community making music. A handful of mostly Cameroonian rappers with names like “G-Spark” have made Bangkok their home. They shoot videos in Thailand and release them back to audiences in Douala and Yaounde, in the mean time performing for their Bangkok audience at club events or as warm up acts for visiting R&B stars. One of them, MD Mochio, even claims to be signed to Wyclef Jean’s record label.

The scene centres around a hip hop and Afrobeat club called Damas Jenny, tucked away on the obscure Ramkhamhaeng Soi 30 in the Northern sububs, lightyears from the city’s entertainment heartland. But looking at the pictures on their Facebook page, it seems like a pretty happening party.

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12 08 2017
Bangkok: the money monster | ilbonito blog 2007

[…] spectrum, well-to-do Bangkok seems to be flirting with another unlikely import. The city’s African music scene has always been surprisingly healthy but following the lead of trailblazing world music club Studio […]

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