Conference to look at why SA music industry is polarised by race and genre

“Our music industry is polarised by race and music genre,” says Trenton Birch Founder of Black Mango Music and Founder and Conference Director of the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference “but nobody wants to actually say the words out loud.”

Commenting on the motivations for the establishment of the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference, Birch goes on to reflect, “It’s a real shame, can you imagine the power our industry would have it we all came together and shared our knowledge and experiences?” This is exactly what THE BREATHE SUNSHINE AFRICAN MUSIC CONFERENCE, being held at the Cape Town City Hall on April 1 & 2, is all about.

“Apartheid has a lot to answer for not the least of which is the polarisation of the music industry,” continued Birch, “The Afrikaaners listened to their music and radio stations, as did the English, The Xhosa and the Zulu.  We need to all make a concerted effort to change this and embrace and be proud of all the artists we have in this country”.

In addition, Trenton is quick to point out that this ‘music apartheid’ has got a lot better over the years but that the situation is still far from ideal.  “We are a nation of exceptionally talented musicians and the world is starting to take a huge interest in our music. What is coming out of Africa is new to the rest of the world, we have our own stories, our own accents and our own styles – its fresh and exciting but we need to be more organised as an industry to truly take our music global.”

But the problem of ’polarisation’ is still entrenched adds Black Mango Music director Thabo Mobo. “So-called ‘black’ radio stations will often only play ‘black music’ with so-called ‘white’ stations play only ‘white’ music. We’re not saying that people have to listen to music they hate or don’t identify with, but its about time people got out of their comfort zones and started to open their minds to all genres of South African music”.

“Music has the power to unite us as one nation so its sad when we see it causing divisions,  the conference is an attempt to start to deal with the situation and get everyone from different backgrounds and genres all talking under one roof.  We can’t expect the public to change how they listen to music if we as an industry are still divided”  adds Mobo.

And The BREATHE SUNSHINE AFRICAN MUSIC CONFERENCE is invaluable to new and old musicians and industry professionals alike.  They have a line-up of over 80 panellists, workshop hosts and speakers from Africa, Europe and the States and they are all the top of their game.

Panelists and supporting companies include: Sony Publishing, Afrotainment (Durbans largest Kwaito / House label), Soul Candi (the countires biggest house label from JHB), Sony Music, Back to the City
( JHB’s biggest Hip Hop festival), Bridges For Music, Peter Schoonhoven (Ex EMI and Tapla (Tiesto/ Afrojack), Brian Little (Seed Experience “Our music industry is polarised by race and music genre,” says Trenton Birch Founder of Black Mango Music and Founder and Conference Director of the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference “but nobody wants to actually say the words out loud.”

Commenting on the motivations for the establishment of the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference, Birch goes on to reflect, “It’s a real shame, can you imagine the power our industry would have it we all came together and shared our knowledge and experiences?” This is exactly what THE BREATHE SUNSHINE AFRICAN MUSIC CONFERENCE, being held at the Cape Town City Hall on April 1 & 2, is all about.

Also, panelists and supporting companies include: Sony Publishing, Afrotainment (Durbans largest Kwaito / House label), Soul Candi (the countires biggest house label from JHB), Sony Music, Back to the City ( JHB’s biggest Hip Hop festival), Bridges For Music, Peter Schoonhoven (Ex EMI and Tapla (Tiesto/ Afrojack), Brian Little (Seed Expierince, Rocking the Dasies), Duncan Ringrose (Shadowworks, Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, Assembly), Sheer Publishing, Lance McCormack (Hilltop Live – Oppikoppi), Shadow Twala, Emile YX (Heal the Hood) and artists: Mi Casa, Euphonic (5FM), T’BO Touch (Metro), Jack Parow, Francois Van Coke, Siya (Brother Moves On) and Dino Moran……

All in all the conference features a diverse line-up of speakers from many areas of the South African Music industry coming together to share their knowledge with all attendees, no matter what your musical background or genre orientation. This one is for everyone.

For more information, photographs or interviews – with organisers, panellists or musicians – please contact Marilyn Thompson, 021 465-3314 082 571-3261 or marilyn@t-n-t.co.za

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