By Katlego Disemelo
What do you think of when you hear the word Dikwa? Do you think of a strange, endangered animal on the brink of extinction? Or do you think of a ghost town outside Bronkhorstspruit? Dikwa is, in fact, the name of an up-and-coming 12-piece band from Soweto that will be hitting Grahamstown for the Student Arts Festival. Heard jamming at their spray-painted base in Meadowlands by Rhodes University students who are organising the Student Arts Festival, the Dikwa family has been invited to perform at the festival’s closing party on May 12 at The Suite.
This family of vastly diverse musicians come from many different parts of Soweto but are based in Meadowlands. Made up of all sorts of instru-mentalists, Dikwa have created a distinct sound of Afro-fusion, with a mixture of hip-hop and a slight taste of ever-sophisticated jazz.
It is this distinct, soulful sound that has made them explode from the underground Jo’burg funk music scene into the mainstream music scene within the last year. They have played at numerous venues in Newtown, Johannesburg (including Horror Café) and have been the opening act for funk bands such as Kwani Experience.
Their album is unreleased and they still maintain much of their underground status but promising prospects of a record deal are arising. An explosion of Dikwa’s soulful sounds – which are bound to electrify everyone – is looming on the not-so-distant horizon.
They will be performing alongside an array of bands including Rhodes band, Die Swart Gevaar at the clos-ing party. This funk band is made up of a saxophonist, trumpeter, djembe drummer, slam poet and vocalist. Their union is one of note because they were moved by the random pulse of their musical artistry to form a band at an open mic session which was organised by the Rock Paper Scissors cultural organisa-tion in late 2005.
Another treat on the menu is Rhodes band, Captain Kidd’s Adventure Galley which will be performing at the Suite on the same night. This band (which was established in 2004) plays ska music, which is a mellow mid-tempo mélange of reggae and jazz.
As a closing to a culturally and artistically empowering three days of unhindered student expression, this party promises to be a beautiful potjie of organic music, real soul, funk, jazz and afro-fusion.