SA DJ shutting it down at Afropunk

DJ and producer Mo Laudi is a trail blazer. /Moeletsi Mabe
DJ and producer Mo Laudi is a trail blazer. /Moeletsi Mabe

Time and time again, South African DJs prove they are a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. One of these is Ntshebe "Mo Laudi" Bopape, who will be performing at Afropunk in Paris on July 15.

To better hone his musical craft, the DJ, producer and entrepreneur decided to move to London in 2000.

He founded Globalisto, a monthly social party based in Paris, and started to grow interest in South African music, inviting local acts like Tbo Touch, Oskido, Fistaz and DJ Sbu.

In 2013, Mo Laudi worked with the French Institute and the Department of Arts and Culture to create the biggest South African festival in Paris - Sharp Sharp Johannesburg.

The festival showcased more than 50 artists.

The success of the event inspired Mo Laudi to make Globalisto a music label.

Mo Laudi shares that the Afropunk Music Festival - an annual event that takes place in different countries with a focus on alternative black culture - holds a special place in his heart.

"I was into punk music since way back and someone called me 'Afropunk' as a nickname before we even knew the festival or blog existed," says Mo Laudi.

"I love how people dress up in neo-Afro designs and are proud of their roots.

"It's more than a festival - it's a movement. I feel culture is changing and more people are starting to appreciate their own culture."

Mo Laudi's work often echoes his interest in social movements and political issues. He credits this to his revolutionary youth and a need to pay homage to musical legends.

"I grew up toyi-toying when I was a little kid. Politics, justice, freedom, social issues are congenital and they are a natural part of me.

"I'm not worried too much about being entertaining, or trying to be woke. I'm myself! The drum rhythm comes from our ancestors as a tool of worship; the rhythm I compose is a spiritual connection. Sometimes I have fun, sometimes I reflect deeper.

"I'm influenced by family, friends and my roots - those who came before me and sacrificed their lives."

In April, the DJ was in South Africa to promote his debut album, Jozi Acid, which was released last year and is available for streaming and downloads on iTunes, Traxscourse and Google Play. He will also be embarking on the Globalisto World Tour in December.

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