The Modern Day Mixtape by Billboard, Rolling Stone Journalist – Diane Coetzer

One of the great joys of my life has been my 25 years as a music journalist in South Africa. It has brought me into contact with performers and songwriters of extraordinary ability, across a dazzling array of musical styles that you’d be hard-pressed to find in a single other country.

Some of these artists became friends and some became friends who left far too soon, like TK and HHP (who once delighted me by singing about me in a song). The others I encountered during the hundreds (thousands even) of interviews and reviews I have done for Billboard, Rolling Stone South Africa, the Sunday Times Magazine, entertainmentafrica, Music Africa and more.

I was fortunate to have grown up with a father, Owen – also a music journalist – who encouraged music exploration that was fuelled by curiosity, not comfort; that was not blindly attached to a handful of genres. It meant that my music writing has been wide-ranging – interviewing the prolific Rebecca Malope in her home, reviewing Trompies in full flight in Orange Grove, visiting Kalk Bay for an in-depth piece on Arno Carstens, being mesmerised by BCUC and Nakhane for the first time, both in Maboneng, and witnessing the wondrous Karen Zoid invent, reinvent and then reinvent herself again. Great music is great music, no matter what category the industry has decided it should be put into.

It’s from all those encounters, and my ongoing explorations, that I made this playlist today. I was thinking about how we can support the artists that we love during this strange, uncertain time. We can donate. We can lobby the government for meaningful support for the creative community. We can pay for streamed live shows. We can buy music on Bandcamp. And, if we’re lucky enough to have the means, we can also stream the fuck out of South African music as we heed the call to socially distance (putting aside, for now, any issues we have with this imperfect business model).

There’s nearly three hours of music here – and it’s not the only playlist I plan to make. Once I got started this morning, I remembered many more artists and songs that I love. A quarter-of-a-century of music writing has given me a treasure-trove, and I plan to dig deep into it.

African Beat That You Can’t Resist

By Diane Coetzer