Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Muizenberg” by John Wizards from the 2013 self-titled album on Planet Mu.
The product of South African musician John Withers teaming up with Rwandan security guard-turned-singer Emmanuel Nzaramba, John Wizards is a modern meeting of African sounds and Western electronics. After a chance meeting between the 25 year-old Cape Town native and the Rwandan refugee, Withers began adding Nzaramba’s vocals to his bedroom-crafted tracks across the next two years before turning John Wizards into a full-live band ahead of the release of their debut album. An upbeat track incorporating hip-hop beats, “Muizenberg” is an appropriate sonic companion to the titular beachside South African town. Chiming, Ezra Koenig-style guitar riffs punctuate the song’s atmospherics as Withers and Nzaramba each take a turn on the mic. Joyous and revelatory, “Muizenberg” is an immediately memorable slice of African-indebted electronic pop whose seamless integration of two worlds embodies the optimistic outlook Withers and Nzaramba share for a post-Apartheid South Africa.
John Wizards will spend the fall supporting fellow KEXP faves Jagwar Ma in the UK, but they haven’t announced any subsequent plans, so keep an eye on their website and Facebook in case they travel Stateside. For now, watch the video for “Lusaka By Night”, another song from their new album: