South African DJ, producer, vocalist and songwriter Thandi Draai has been a flag bearer for the latest Afro-house sounds for more than a decade now, and was named as one of the women shaping African dance and electronic music by Mixmag in 2021. 

This past December saw the release of Africa Get Physical Vol. 5, her latest compilation, which offers up an authentic mix of killer Afro-house cuts (you can download/stream it here), as well as the single Letha, alongside DJ Beekay (which you can listen to here) – both of which were released on Get Physical Music. 

For the latest in 909originals #MyRecordBag series, we asked Ms Draai to serve up her top Afro-house classics – turn it up loud!

King Bayaa – Ekat Em Yawa

Ekat Em Yawa is one of my favourite Afro classics – it has always had this captivating progression. Its simplicity and high vibrations can have you in an African hypnotic trance. It’s still so beautiful, with welcoming chants and soothing pads, Ooooooh maaaan, Yip!”

Culoe De Song, Busi Mhlongo – Webaba

“Ok! So, in general, this specific Afro Ancestral GOAT has always had my soul on choke slam. Culoe is just in another realm – his music, tone, and ability to make you feel the most amazing feeling. It’s something I can’t explain – he is a music medicine man! Webaba and our Queen Busi Mlongo created the most magical work of Afro music.”

Samim – Heater 

“Ok so Heater isn’t necessarily Afro, but for me, it’s always had this Afro undertone with its simple percussions and grooves. It’s just such a fun song, it always makes me want to dance, especially when that Colombian Cumbia drops (I always thought it was Scottish bagpipes, lol!). Heater is such a cool track!”

Sol Phenduka – Uhuru

“OH MY AFRO! Uhuru is one of those Afro Ancestral vibes that just grabbed the attention of my soul.It’s full of African percussive grooves as it progresses into the most angelic chants and captivating melodies. It’s one of those Afro vibes I can’t ignore, as it has such an intense vibe.”

DJ Gregory, Julien Jabre – Les Enfants Du Bled

“Hmmmmm! This has to be one of the sexiest Afro classics I have ever felt. It just has this charming progression – I can feel every element as it tells a gorgeous musical story in its percussive placement. The pads, chants and synths have this refreshing euphoric tone. This work of Afro is as healthy as the first time I felt It. Hmmmmm Jesu!”

Agoria, Scalde – Dust (Rocco Vision Mix)

“Oh maaaan, these were the days, Rocco had us all whipped! For me, this specific song has this vibe that has you wanting to hear more as it progresses. It has this nostalgic vibe with its soft, flirty vocals. I still enjoy this one, especially in the car because it has that ‘lets goooo’ vibe. A gorgeous song!”

Mzee – Mahuwelele (Manoo Vocal Edit Remix)

Mahuwelele is such a gorgeous Afro vibe – I can feel and understand its aura. Queen Candy’s ability to vocally project such fitting vocal melodies on the music and groove is what makes this piece so inviting for me.”

Culoe De Song – The Bright Forest 

“I just couldn’t help but add this one as well from our Afro Medicine GOAT King Culoe – I mean, come on now! The Bright Forest is next level African music, with intense Afro frequencies and grooves that puts you in a magical trance. Such a warm Afro feeling!”

Cuebur, Marissa Guzman – No Doubt 

“I can’t explain this vibe – Cuebur was on another level of Afro-mastery here. I had never heard Afro with such soulful soft dreamy vocals. No Doubt is so clean and perfectly balanced – I can feel it as it progresses in its groove. It was well orchestrated, from Queen Marrisa’s vocal tone and approach to the overall groove progression. What a masterpiece!”

Yasirah, Black Motion, Revolution – Noqatiko

“You can feel from the get go that Noqatiko is a whole hardcore Afro vibe, with its full on heavy percussive grooves and Queen Yasirahs commanding alluring vanac tone. This is Afro in its purest form that always has me on Stank Face!”

Thanks to Thandi Draai for the playlist. You can catch up with her latest releases and tour dates here. 

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