Now Soundway Records have released the eagerly anticipated compilation – Esa Presents Amandla: Music To The People – this innovative DJ and producer will reach new heights. This South African talent was already well-known but this double vinyl compilation by Esa Williams further hones this artist’s sound and vision.
Growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, during the last days of Apartheid, Esa recalls the immense power that music had in resisting oppression and division. He remembers the chant “Amandla, Awethu”, which literally means “the power is ours”, being ubiquitous and echoing throughout the politically charged atmosphere of the time – an inspiring memory for this release’s title.
A highly skilled DJ, producer and educator, Esa has found ways of bringing people together and enhancing them. He’s a band leader – reigniting the legendary Ata Kak band from Ghana. He’s also a collaborator with the likes of Tanzanian artist Mim Suleiman, while also focusing his energy on electronic music-focused educational programmes in Cuba, Brazil, and East and South Africa.
Esa has held a monthly residency at Phonox London – bringing guests such as Nu Guinea to Brixton audiences – while maintaining an international musical footprint, delivering memorable sets at Dekmantel, Atlas Festival, Boiler Room and more.
South African music is a big fixture in dance music nowadays thanks to champions like ESA, DJ Okapi and Invisible City. The bubblegum genre was recently showcased on Soundway’s critically acclaimed 2018 compilation Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth Boogie in 1980s South Africa, put together by DJ Okapi. As the label states “It was only natural that the label looked to delve deeper into the country’s rich musical legacy and tap another of its esteemed ambassadors for the role of compiler.”
The result is a rainbow of complementary electronic styles hailing from not only South Africa but further afield, including zouk from Brazil and the French Antilles, as well as Afro-futurism and Tanzanian fusion. “Together, they form a comprehensive picture that connects the dots of Esa’s musical journey – from growing up in South Africa, to artists he has encountered in his worldwide travels who have helped develop his identity as a musician,” the label adds.
Visit the Soundway Records website and Bandcamp page for more.