TOTD // 16/09 // Esa

Published: September 16, 2017, words by John Carter

Part of the The Warehouse Project takeover


Upcoming events


Albeit not always in the limelight, Esa Williams, the London-based South African, has been a monumental figure in the development of the electronic music scene worldwide throughout his career. Besides his multitude of production offerings since 2010, he’s used his talents in mixing, mastering and cultural knowledge to educate and collaborate with less-experienced and less-well-equipped musicians.

Through electronic music-focused educational programmes in Cuba, East Africa and south Africa, Esa has helped develop the electronic music scene in these areas via a careful amalgamation of cultural, historical, musical and technical creative outlets. For me, his most notable work to date was through the collaborations with Auntie Flo for the Highlife World Series, whereby the duo worked with musicians in the educational programmes to create a selection of EPs specific to Kenya, Uganda and Cuba. What is most profound about this venture, is that proceeds from the releases were all sent back to each region to help develop their musical ventures.

On the subject of world music, Esa also played a leading role in firing up the legacy of Ata Kak and bringing together the already legendary Ata Kak band, who found a spot at this year’s Glastonbury!

Although working strongly on important projects over many years, he’s been turning handles predominantly behind the scenes. As of late, his Worldwide FM residency and recent sets have helped propel him to the forefront of the scene. A particular highlight of his 2017 so far is his energetic and seriously groovy set from Dekmantel.

Esa is going from strength to strength as a DJ, and this year he’ll be gracing the decks at The Warehouse Project on Friday 10th November. Ahead of his gig, he’s shared with us four cuts that represent “awehness”. The word aweh, meaning “awareness” in Capetonian, refers to his continual musical journey and many musical collaborations, and is also the name of his latest EP for Dekmantel.

via youtube

Alaska

Accuse

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“I recently added this in my Boiler Room set at Dekmantel Festival. It’s such a classic Kwaito track, a down-tempo Chicago house groove with simple melodies which were the sounds of the ’90s to early 2000s in South African. This would also be the soundtrack to many late night gatherings, burnout sessions and social get-togethers in the black townships.”
via youtube

Diegors

O Sea, Hello!...

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“Diegors from Chile unknowingly creating a South Africa inspired jam for Comeme records back in 2009. When I first heard this I thought it was artist from Joburg but it turned out it was South American, however it was nice to hear the similarities and also to find out that there’s actually a great comma records following in South Africa.”
via youtube

Senyaka

Bayanyonyoba

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“This record re-issued by Rush Hour is a special Kwaito/Afro Synth crossover into a more up tempo groove. I had the pleasure of performing with Senyaka at the Alexander theatre back in 2012 before his passing in 2015. The lyrics “We need some money, We need some food to eat” was a message which you’d hear coming from most of the South African artists around this time, sharing their stories of the struggle.”
via youtube

Moodymann

LiveInLA 1998

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“One of Moodymann’s many afro inspired/sampled records. I particularly like the darker side of this track, the almost chanting-like vocals and how it doesn’t really have any specific musical key, just a deep groove for the dance floor. Looking forward to presenting this and more at the Dekmantel X WHP takeover.”

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