The sounds of Africa.

Through her vibrant, bass-heavy sets, Kampire has become recognized as one of East Africa’s most exciting DJs and a core member of Kampala, Uganda’s Nyege Nyege collective. (Her Boiler Room set from 2019 has nearly one-million views.) She grew up in Zambia and journey in music began in 2014, when she visited Sauti Za Busara, a festival in Zanzibar, and through that she met some friends with whom she moved to Kampala and set up the Nyege Nyege festival. Around the time of the first edition, in 2015, she played her first DJ set, although she didn’t know how to mix. “I was playing one song after the other,” she recalled to Dazed. “It was in front of a combined community of friends, or friends of friends, so a warm, welcoming crowd—but I was definitely shocked by how well people responded.” She was hooked. In the years since, she’s learned how to mix and developed a reputation for her energetic DJ gigs, which she fills with a full range of African music styles, from the ’70s and ’80s to the present day. In 2019, she toured the US for the first time and a few years after that she joined BBC Radio 1‘s as one of their Residency host DJs, giving her an even bigger platform for showcasing her favorite sounds. Next month, she’ll release a new compilation for Strut Records and in this week’s XLR8R podcast she’s delivered a taste of what we can expect. Tune in for 60 minutes of African rhythms: Afro-house, St Lucian soca, Congolese soukous, baile funk, kudoro, gqom, and other, currently nameless genres coming out of studios in Kampala.

01. What have you been up to recently?
I recently returned home from playing a few Europe dates at the beginning of the summer which was super fun. I also got to play around East Africa and a couple of times in South Africa this year which I am super grateful for.

02. What have you been listening to?
I played in Johannesburg and Cape Town earlier this year which is always inspiring for me because I love South African music. In addition to gqom, which is always in rotation at my house, I’ve been listening to a lot of Bacardi, and classic kwaito and bubblegum so you’ll hear a bit of that in this mix.

03. You have a new compilation coming. What can you tell us about it?
Yeah I’m excited it’s finally coming out because I’ve been working on it with Strut Records for four years. It’s a tribute to the sounds of my childhood which form the foundation of the sets I play today. A bit of Zambian kalindula, East African soukous. I wanted to pay tribute to the female vocalists of soukous/rumba because I feel they too deserve their flowers!

04. Where and when did you record this mix?
I recorded it at home in Kampala. The day I planned to record it there was no electricity at home the whole day which happens frequently enough that you would think it would teach me not to leave these things to the last minute!

05. What setup did you use?
My Pioneer XDJ-RX2 in my home office.

06. How did you choose the tracks you’ve included?
I wanted to preview some of the tracks in the upcoming compilation and the rest spilled over from there. I was reminded of a conversation I had with a promoter some years ago; we were talking about ambient music and he asked me what I listened to when I had electronic dance music fatigue, which was the first time I understood this context for ambient music to be honest. Mainly because when I’m tired of listening to doof-doof dance music I listen to soukous or soukous-inspired African pop music from the ’70s and ’80s. It’s still very danceable and upbeat but it’s a completely different headspace especially when it’s recorded live. So this is really the core of the mix, lots of nostalgic tracks and classic African songs, some set staples but of course a few newer tracks to keep things flowing!

07. Where do you imagine it being listened to?
On a sunny day, sitting in some grass, preferably near a body of water!

08. What’s next on your horizon?
There are some shows at the end of the summer which I’m looking forward to: Dekmantel Selectors, Brunch Electronic in Barcelona. I’m also looking forward to playing more in East Africa, and hoping to invite some DJ friends from Europe to join me on some lineups.

XLR8R Subscribers can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R subscriber, you can read more about it and subscribe here.


01. DJ Polo, Breaka & Swordman Kitala “Dance Hall Again” (Instrumental) (Grid Records)
02. V-Mash “Naughty Boy” (Strut Records)
03. Aba Shante “Babe Babe Girls” (999 Records)
04. Sandy B “Student Night” (Lion’s Drums edit) (Biologic Records)
05. Kamazu “Indaba Kabani” (Roy B Records)
06. Splash “P-Coq” (Original Mix) (Strut Records)
07. Groupe d’Animation U.F.P.D.G. “Tchatcha Tchatcha” (Secousse Records)
08. Oriental Brothers “Edi Special (Arn4l2 remix) (Palenque Records)
09. DJ DADAMAN “Xigubu” (2985574 Records)
10. L’vovo & Danger Sgubhu – iStyle (feat. DJ Tira & Trademark) (Self-Released)
11. DJ Mbuso “Soweto Funk” (Self-Released)
11. Sam Interface x Gafacci “Super Sunday” (Original version) (More Time Records)
12. Chamos “The Darbuka Song” (CHAMOS & YOHENKWART Edit) (Self-Released)
13. Mxshi Mo x Skream “Imali Yami” (More Time Records)
14. WEMA WEMA “KIHEREHERE” (Bugsy ReDrum) (Take It Easy Records)
15. Pembey Sheiro “Sala Mi Toto” (Strut Records)
16. Lilocox “SAMBAPITO” (OriginalGhetto) Príncipe
17. Nouvelle Generation de la Republique Democratique “Ma Cherie” (World Music Network Records)
18. Montparnasse Musique “Sukuma” feat. Muambuyi (Self-Released)
19. Meiway “Nanan” (Afiba Productions)
20. Arlus Mabélé & Son Groupe Loketo “Femme Ivoririenne” (Jamz Supernova & Sam Interface Carnival Edit) (Futurebounce Records)
21. Dj Eric “Instrumental” (Couper Decaler)
22. Kassav’ “Zouk-la sé sel médikaman nou ni” (Heavenly Sweetness)

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