Gqom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gqom ([ᶢǃʱòm]),(Igqomu([iᶢǃʱòmu]),Gqom tech or Sghubu),[4] is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 2010s from Durban, South Africa,[5] pioneered largely by music producers DJ Lag,[6][7][8] Rudeboyz,[6][9][10][11] Griffit Vigo,[12][13] Distruction Boyz,[14] Menzi,[15][16] and Citizen Boy.[17][18] It was developed from kwaito, a subgenre of house music from South Africa.[19]

Unlike other South African electronic music, gqom is typified by minimal, raw and repetitive sound with heavy bass beats but without the four-on-the-floor rhythm pattern.[5]

Gqom demo

Music connoisseurs who were pivotal in influencing the genre's international acclaim included the likes of South African rapper Okmalumkoolkat, Italian record label Gqom Oh owner, Malumz Kole[20] inclusive of other South Africans; music taste-maker and public relations liaison, Cherish Lala Mankai,[20] Afrotainment record label owner DJ Tira, Babes Wodumo, Dlala Thukzin,[21] and Busiswa.

Name and characteristics[edit]

Zulu musicians, 1900.
Zulu musicians, 1900.

The word gqom derives from an onomatopoeic combination of click consonants in the Zulu language meaning a hitting drum. It is also expressed as qgom, igqom, gqomu or variants thereof.[22][23] Presumably another name is sghubu as its direct translation from the Zulu language is drum, furthermore it appears to be a local word used to describe house or the drum instrument, in general ,whilst appearing to be a sub-genre of gqom itself,too.[24][25][4][26]

(Pictured) traditional, Zulu drummer.
(Pictured) traditional Zulu, drummer.

Gqom is known for its beats which have a minimal, raw and repetitive sound with heavy bass. It is mainly described as having a dark and hypnotic club sound. The style of beats does not use the four-on-the-floor rhythm pattern which is often heard in other house music.[5] Typical lyrical themes include nightlife. It often uses one phrase or a few lines which are repeated numerous times in the song. Gqom was developed by a young generation of technologically skilled DJs producing in D.I.Y. fashion with software such as FL Studio and often self distributing their music on file sharing platforms.[18]

History[edit]

Gqom emerged in the early 2010s.[5] From the mid-2010s, the genre gained prominence abroad, especially in London.[27] Gqom also plays its part in increasing business profit for local taxis as people established a day to specifically celebrate gqom called "gqom explosion" that is mostly known as iNazoke. It is celebrated by people from the city of Durban, but eventually other cities and towns in KwaZulu-Natal started celebrating it, too.[28]

Genre development[edit]

As the genre gained international traction,[20][29][30] this made way for more international collaborations as well as popularization. In 2017, lead Empire (2015 TV series), actor Jussie Smollett was sighted dancing to and what appeared to be enjoying,[31] the song "Omunye" by Distruction Boyz featuring Benny Maverick[32] and Dlala Mshunqisi.[33] Smollett described the song as "my jam".[31]

In 2018 the "gqom queen"[34][35] vocalist and dancer Babes Wodumo made an appearance on the Marvel Comics, Black Panther:The Album compilation by Kendrick Lamar,[36] she also collaborated with Major Lazer and showcased gqom dance moves in the song's official music video.[37]

Duo, FAKA's music from the "Amaqhawe" EP was enlisted by Donatella Versace for the Versace Spring 2019 Menswear Collection, fashion show.[38]

Both Distruction Boyz and Babes Wodumo[39] were also nominated for the MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act[14] [40]

In 2019, DJ Lag produced a song "My Power" for Beyoncé featuring various artists inclusive of songwriter and singer Busiswa and musician as well as dancer Moonchild Sanelly, the song was on the track list of The Lion King–inspired album, titled The Lion King: The Gift.[41][42] In October, during the rapper, poet, actress and songwriter Sho Madjozi, The Kelly Clarkson Show, performance WWE wrestler, John Cena made a surprise guest appearance performing the song, "John Cena" alongside her.[43]

In 2020, singer Alicia Keys was video-recorded by record producer Swizz Beatz dancing to "eLamont" by Babes Wodumo featuring Mampintsha (former Big Nuz, member).[44][45]

In 2023, Disney Plus released an afrofuturism, sci-fi animated series Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, which includes Surf Sangoma set in year 2050 in Durban directed by Spoek Mathambo (Nthato Mokgata) and Catherine Green.The animation film's soundtrack is gqom-inspired created by music producer Aero Manyelo.[46][47][48]

Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire "Surf Sangoma" , Disney+
Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire "Surf Sangoma" 2023 (Disney+)

Dance moves[edit]

Gqom music is associated with a number of distinctive dance moves, including gwara gwara, vosho and bhenga.[49]

Gwara gwara[edit]

Rihanna, performing the gwara gwara at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
Rihanna and backup dancers, performing the gwara gwara at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, 2018.

Gwara gwara is performed by rolling and swinging the arm and the elbow in terms of making a circle, and one of the leg moves in connection with the arm's rhythm. It appears to have some similarities to the stanky leg.[50] Gwara gwara[51] was made famous by South Africans DJ Bongz and musician Babes Wodumo.[52][37] The dance move was created by disc jockey and producer DJ Bongz, it was heavily imitated by South Africans and other African people mainly during 2016.[53][54] It also received widespread popularization globally as the choreography was adopted by notable musicians: Rihanna performed the dance move while performing "Wild Thoughts" at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018. Childish Gambino performed the dance in the video of his song "This Is America".[55] BTS performed the dance in the choreography for their song "Idol", featuring Nicki Minaj released in 2018.[56]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]