Ultra SA’s fifth installment takes place this weekend at Cape Town Stadium and Johannesburg Nasrec Expo Centre, with some of the biggest dance music stars on the planet.
And while the big names are definitely the highlight of Ultra, there are some lesser known local DJs making their debut, as well as many returning acts, at one of SA’s biggest festivals.
We take a look at five acts flying the flag for SA at Ultra 2018.
The understudy of the mighty Black Coffee, Da Capo has been blazing his own trail since 2010. After being signed to Soulistic Music in 2015, Traxsource voted him the second best Afro-house DJ that year after a string of highly successful releases. Last year he joined Coffee at his Hi Ibiza residency and released his third studio album Indigo Child in December.
JNN KPN (pronounced Jeanne Kepaan) emerged on Cape Town’s dance music scene in 2012, bringing forth a wave of high-brow house and techno that earned her bookings at Cold Turkey, Rocking The Daisies and CTEMF. She has since risen to become one of SA’s most intriguing acts. And by adding afro and gqom elements to her sets, her eclectic signature sound has been sought after by SA’s top techno events like Future Frequency Festival and TOY TOY.
Most notable for his work on Drake’s hit “One Dance”, Maphorisa has been releasing hits for the past four years. Last year his track with Major Lazer, “Particular”, reached over 25 million views on YouTube, which was followed by the hit single “Midnight Starring” with DJ Tira and Busiswa. As a champion of the gqom movement, he is a pivotal figure in South African dance music.
Themba is the new alias of 5FM star DJ Euphonik. Having previously played all sorts of electro and EDM with DJ Fresh as F.EU, this interesting new shift speaks measures to the current wave of Afro techno sounds emanating from South African artists. The highly influential DJ will undoubtedly bring more fans to the darker African dance music genres, and could possibly be a catalyst for a much bigger wave of SA DJs becoming globally recognised.
The quirky, experimental sounds of Thor Rixon have become a favourite in South Africa’s electronic music scene and abroad. After dropping his full-length album Songs From The Bath last year, remixes of his single The Clown on Get Physical landed at number eight on Beatport’s electronica chart, ending a largely successful year for the producer. But it’s really Rixon’s live sets that exposes his true talent and brings audiences into his weird and wonderful creative space.