5 Must-Hear Tracks from Shimza's Label, Kunye Records

Aug 22, 2022

John Cameron

3 min read

It wasn’t long after Tembisa DJ, and producer Shimza became successful that he started coming up with ways to share the wealth. He has taken it upon himself to spread South African music to every corner of the globe, and his relatively new record label is off to a promising start.

Shimza launched Kunye Records in November 2020. “I feel great because now we have a home where we are able to release music that we want the world to hear and we will be known for it,” he told Dancing Astronaut at the time. “My long-term goal is to build a trusted global label that will be a bridge between local artists and the world while fostering social cohesion.”

In less than two years, Shimza has used his celebrity to introduce tracks by his fellow South African artists to music lovers around the world. Read on to hear five especially compelling songs released by Kunye Records since its momentous inception.

1. Shimza - Calling Out Your Name ft. Mikhaela Faye

“Calling Out Your Name” appeared on an EP of its namesake that marked the debut Kunye Records release. It’s undeniably driven by Mikhaela Faye’s earworm songwriting, but Shimza’s production prowess makes her dewy vocals truly shine. A warm bass line and effervescent synth work round out the package, giving the world a taste of what’s to come from the fledgling label.

2. Blanka Mazimela & Oluhle

You don’t need to listen long before the descending melody of “Gengesi” grabs your attention. The track by Blanka Mazimela and Oluhle has even more to offer than that, though. An impassioned vocal carries the song as its core motif warps and transforms, eventually resolving in the place where it began.

3. Siphe Tebika - Ndiyekeni ft. Toshi

Upon a foundation of soft, pillowy synth work, Siphe Tebika programs distorted stabs that almost catch you off guard in “Ndiyekeni.” A heavenly vocal by Toshi contrasts starkly with these challenging themes. In tandem, they create a whole greater than the sum of its parts, a keen balance between light and dark that resonates deeply with some primal sensibility.

4. Mr. Blasé - Anangu Moon ft. Boskasie

Mr. Blasé gave Boskasie’s soulful singing ample room to shine in the ethereal “Anangu Moon.” Her haunting vocal is framed by reverb-delayed synths and loungey atmospheres that seem to magnify the latent tension of her lyrics. Tracks like these are essential for any DJ hoping to create a push-pull dynamic on the dance floor.

5. VANCO - Breathe ft. Jamila

Jamila’s meandering vocal almost feels like one of the instrumental tracks in “Breathe” by VANCO. This slow-burning track gradually shows itself over a seven-minute runtime, introducing changes so subtly that they almost sneak up on you. When the emotive lead melody finally shows itself, you find yourself thinking, “Wow, how did we get here?”

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