SA’s ‘zef’ trio thrash music scene

first_imgThe weird and highly popular members of Die Antwoord: bare-chested Ninja, Yo-landi and DJ Hi-Tek. With catchy and crude beats, pre-pubescent bodies, gold teeth, tattoos and mean-looking mullets, hilarious trio Die Antwoord have become one of South Africa’s hottest – and most unlikely – exports, landing a deal with a major US label that represents superstars like Eminem and Lady Gaga.And all this since February 2010, when the group emerged from relative obscurity with a series of YouTube videos and their debut album, $O$, posted as a free download on their official website.Within days it went viral and the unexpected swarm of hits, amounting to more than a terabyte of data, crashed the group’s server, forcing them to switch their hosting to the major US-based blog site Boing Boing.A quick look at YouTube today, four months on, shows that their “Enter the Ninja” video has amassed 4.4-million hits, while “Zef Side” has 2-million views, which clearly attests to Die Antwoord’s cult-like global following. Their curious name is Afrikaans for “the answer”.“Zef” refers to the group’s X-factor, which seems to simultaneously embody white Afrikaner working-class trashiness and, according to them, “the ultimate style”.South African newspaper Beeld says the term comes from an old make of car, the Ford Zephyr, which small-town folk here would pimp up with modified engines and bulging tyres, to rip through deserted streets during late-night dicing sessions. Disapproving neighbours called these rough types “real zefs”.Koos Kombuis, one of the country’s best-known alternative Afrikaans musicians and authors, said earlier this year that “zef” is a word from his childhood, and means “common”.But “these days it’s not necessarily negative. I like being common. It’s like wearing high heels with a tracksuit. Being truly zef takes guts.”International hitAnd guts are certainly what Die Antwoord had in March and April, when they made their first two overseas trips. They began with a mini tour of Europe and the US, and then returned to North America to perform at the prestigious Coachella music festival in California, with a crowd rumoured to be as large as 85 000.Joining a line-up that included world-famous Jay-Z, Beyonce and Gorillaz, the South Africans sent shock-waves through the audience and earned instant praise from well-known celebrities and respected publications.Burlesque star Dita von Teese wrote on Twitter that the South Africans were among “the best of Coachella”, and later the New York Times commented that Die Antwoord “fully lived up to its reputation”.The LA Times was also taken by the “deliciously trashy” trio, reporting that the “suspected novelty act proved they had an overwhelming magnetism and a ferocious, deadly serious lyrical flow”.Looking for answersBut who exactly are Die Antwoord, and why has their particular brand of music and brutal image created such a stir?The group call themselves a “fresh, futuristik rap-rave crew from the dark depths of Africa” (sic). Its members are conceptual artist Watkin Tudor Jones, who performs as the roughed-up gangster “Ninja” alongside slinky blonde soprano Yolandi Visser, aka “Yo-landi Vi$$er”, and a rather quiet, portly chap known only as “DJ Hi-Tek”.By opting for cleverly crafted, cryptic media interviews, the trio maintain an air of bizarre intrigue. It’s never quite clear whether they are indeed the portrayed bunch of poor, low-life pals from run-down suburbia, or a slick assembly of manufactured personas created to thrill and shock audiences who’ve grown weary of conventional music genres. Either way, it works.Writers following the craze have their own opinions about the group’s strategy:“Well, let’s just say that there’s a whole lot more method to their darkly surreal live show than such seeming slapstick might suggest,” reviewer Miles Keylock writes in the Mail & Guardian Online.US-based music guide Pitchfork goes a bit deeper in its offbeat analysis Who the hell are Die Antwoord?, calling the outfit “Jones’ latest identity-skewing art project”, which, on the surface, is just the most recent “in a never-ending line of ‘did ya see that?!’ blog-hopping music memes”.But, “considering the mix of absurdity, genuine talent and impressive production values, you can’t help but think: are these guys for real?” Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal writes.Gangland tiesThe group’s heavy use of slang and irreverent lyrics emanate from the culture of the Western Cape’s coloured people, who were forced to settle on the dusty plains outside Cape Town during the apartheid years, so authorities could to make space for more white families within the city.Most communities on the so-called Cape Flats are descended from slaves brought to the country from east and central Africa, the Khoisan who lived in the region at the time of colonisation in the 1800s, and other indigenous African and white people.This complex racial mixing – combined with a legacy of cross-over culture, displacement and oppression – still haunt the area today, and crime, drug abuse and gangsterism are rife.But there are also likeable things that stem from this notorious place, like a highly expressive and often-impersonated dialect – a mix of mainly English and Afrikaans that’s often very funny if you get the gist – and a thriving hybrid of hip-hop music from groups like Brasse van die Kaap and Kallitz.It’s this that Die Antwoord has picked up on and, perhaps, parodied to blow the minds – and ears – of fans.   So bad, it’s goodFor those who may not immediately appreciate or understand the group’s skilful fusion, Richard Poplak, of Canadian publication The Walrus, offers an artful description of zef rap: “an ungodly potpourri of top-40 hip-hop, chintz house, rave music, DIY beat-making and bad techno”.In other words, a combination so wacky and disturbing you can’t help but be drawn in by it.Jones’s bad-ass alter-ego “Ninja” – who has metallic incisors, heavy gold neck chains and a patchwork of prison-gang tattoos – is also straight out of the Cape Flats. In fact, “this is where where Ninja spent years, mining for meaning among the violence, the misery, the strong familial bonds – developing not just a style, but an entire persona”, Poplak writes.Jones has been compared to Eminem in this regard, posing as a “white-boy rapper who successfully appropriated the energy and anger of the black ghetto”, editor Kevin Bloom comments in The Daily Maverick.But Die Antwoord themselves put it best in their $O$ album intro, implying they embrace even more than just “zef-ness” and Cape Flats street cred: “I represent South African culture. In this place, you get a lot of different things … Blacks. Whites. Coloureds. English. Afrikaans. Xhosa. Zulu. Watookal,” says Ninja.“I’m like all these different people, f****d into one person.” Yo-landi chips in, in her little voice: “Whateva, man.”Poplak believes this makes Ninja “the ultimate South African”.The idea is “thrillingly, gloriously radical”, and an essential step towards racial cohesion in South Africa, he writes.Well, we’ll never quite know whether Die Antwoord are actually out to unite an entire nation – or simply cause a bit of controversy and entertaining hype along the way – as they’ll probably never tell us, but that’s okay.Their rise to fame has been a gritty and fascinating study, and has carved out new, brave arenas of performance and expression. Let’s hope there’s a lot more to follow …last_img read more

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Maria Sharapova enters Madrid Open second round

first_imgRussian tennis player Maria Sharapova defeated Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni here on Sunday to advance to the second round of the Madrid Open.Sharapova, now ranked 262 in the world, defeated World No.20 Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 in the opening round, reports Efe.The Madrid Open is the second tournament for Sharapova after she returned from a 15-month doping ban. The Russian took part in the Stuttgart Open in April, but was defeated in the semi-finals against France’s Kristina Mladenovic.Sharapova will play the second round against Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who eliminated France’s Alize Cornet on Saturday.last_img read more

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Edgbaston

first_imgEdgbaston was established in 1882 and is the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club and just like the 1979, 1983 and 1999 editions, Edgbaston will play host to an ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final in the 2019 edition as well. Edgbaston will host a total of five games including a high-profile meeting of England and India.The last ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final hosted by the venue was at the 1999 edition, which was between Australia and South Africa. Arguably the greatest ever ODI, it was ‘the’ match in which Allan Donald and Lance Klusener, being the men at the crease, had a mix-up while taking a run anf that too when the scores were level. The result was that Australia progressed to the World Cup final and South Africa were braded the ‘chokers’.Opened:1882Capacity: 21,000Ends: City End, Pavilion EndLocation: Birmingham, EnglandICC Cricket World Cup 2019 matches -15:00 IST: NZ vs RSA, Match 2515:00 IST: NZ vs PAK, Match 3315:00 IST: Eng vs IND, Match 3815:00 IST: BAN vs IND, Match 4015:00 IST: TBC vs TBC, 2nd Semi-Final (2 v 3)STATS – ODITotal matches: 58Matches won batting first: 24Matches won bowling first: 27Average 1st Inns scores: 227Average 2nd Inns scores: 179Highest total recorded: 408/9 (50 Ov) by Eng vs NZLowest total recorded: 70/10 (25.2 Ov) by AUS vs EngHighest score chased: 280/4 (53.3 Ov) by AUS vs EngLowest score defended: 129/7 (20 Ov) by IND vs Englast_img read more

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10 months agoEx-Crystal Palace owner Jordan: Ashley serious about selling Newcastle

first_imgEx-Crystal Palace owner Jordan: Ashley serious about selling Newcastleby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan is convinced Mike Ashley is serious about selling Newcastle United.On the takeover, he says Ashley could do a deal quickly and even if it goes beyond January he think he will sell up.Jordan told talkSPORT: “He’s looking to sell. Absolutely he’s looking to sell.“Unequivocally this time without a shadow of doubt from my vantage point without actually having spoken to Mike for a significant passage of time, reading the signs, knowing how deals get done, last year with Staveley came to the table I pretty much said: ‘This deal will not get done, it will not get done.’“This time there’s a different feel to it, there’s a different metric to it and look from it. Ashley is going to sell this football club. Now it’s not going to hold them back in January from spending money because if he has to spend money he will add it to the ticket. If he doesn’t have to write a cheque for it someone else is paying for it and so be it.”With Mike I absolutely believe he should sell. I believe he will sell this time, I don’t believe it’s a PR spin.“If I was him I wouldn’t want to be there anymore. It’s so toxic and debilitating for everyone at the football club – he’s never going to recover from the impression that he’s not there for the football club when they need him.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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10 months agoChelsea boss Sarri: Morata has potential, but Hazard fulfilling my No9 needs

first_imgChelsea boss Sarri: Morata has potential, but Hazard fulfilling my No9 needsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri admits Eden Hazard is fulfilling what he wants from a No9 ahead of Alvaro Morata.Sarri concedes Hazard and Morata are very different kinds of players, with the selection decision based on style of play and where the space on the pitch is likely to appear, as much as anything else.”I think Alvaro of course is better in the box, maybe he is better to attack spaces, but I have to say Eden is improving. As you saw in the last match, for the second goal, he attacked very well the spaces,” explained Sarri.”It is different because Eden of course is better when he comes to play with the midfielders, is better to open spaces for the wingers. It’s different, it’s another way of playing.”Alvaro’s potential is to be a very good player. At the moment, I think we need to be balanced on the pitch, we need to be more solid, and so in the last matches I preferred these solutions, but for the future everything is open I think.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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