Esteemed South African producer Themba has unveiled his long awaited debut album Modern Africa Volume 1 (Ekhaya).
Translating to ‘home’ in his mother tongue Swahi, ‘ekhaya’ sees Themba explore themes of sanctuary, solace and staying true to your heart on his maiden LP. A record conceived between Ibiza and Johannesburg, it depicts the journey of an individual through the various phases of their life.
A seven-track release, emotion-driven opener ‘Colours’ immediately sets the tone with its delicate strings, warm vocals and twinkling arpeggios draped over a heartbeat rhythm. Next up is ‘Sound Of Freedom’, the first of four singles on the album, which sees Themba join forces with Johannesburg artist Thakzin on an epic, 10+ minute jam propelled by flawless piano tones and rhythmic staccato strings. Then comes ‘Izindlu’, one of the album’s more rousing cuts that comes steeped in African culture through the authentic drums and rich vocal chants, and latest single ‘Ashamed’, an infectiously jazz-driven number punctuated by singer Brenden Praise’s endearing vocals. ‘Mountain High’ is then led by Lizwi’s velveteen vocals on a backdrop of African drums and gently played brass instruments, ‘Reflections’ is a thought-provoking slice of wonder from start to finish, before things are closed out by truly breathtaking soundscape ‘Coming Up For Air’.
An artist firmly in the ascendancy, Themba will also soon be unveiling his BBC Radio 1 ‘Essential Mix’ while also holding down a residency at Ibiza nightspot Blue Marlin this summer, and regularly performing at Void Mykonos, Phi Beach Italy, L’Arc Paris, Momento Marbella and Ushuaia Ibiza with fellow South African don Black Coffee. Meanwhile, his music has drawn consistent support from tastemakers including Pete Tong, Damian Lazarus, Louie Vega and The Martinez Brothers.
A longstanding superstar of the South African house scene, Themba has continued to build a global reputation since dropping his highly acclaimed single ‘Who Is Themba’ in 2018, a record that stayed in the Beatport Top 100 for 18 months. With his music quickly receiving support from A-listers such as Adam Beyer, Tale of Us, Hot Since 82 and Masters At Work, he has headlined shows worldwide and released his third DJ mix album, Herd In Tulum, last year.
Attempting to connect the dots between the sounds of Africa and western dance music, Modern Africa Volume 1 (Ekhaya) is Themba’s largest undertaking to date, and represents a poignant milestone in the story of one of South Africa’s brightest musical talents.