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Listen to a BBC Global Beats showcase of gqom

Gqom is the hard-hitting sound of Durban

  • Aaron Holden
  • 1 November 2018
Listen to a BBC Global Beats showcase of gqom

BBC Global Beats has produced a showcase of gqom.

Host Emily Dust meets some of the South African scene's originators including Naked Boyz, DJ Lag, Griffit Vigo and Distruction Boyz in an exploration of the musical phenomenon.

Gqom, which is pronounced with a Zulu click at the beginning and represents the noise of a heavy kick drum, has begun making a name for itself internationally and does not show any sign of slowing down.

It started in Durban, South Africa’s third most populous city. However when it first arose, it was not accepted by South Africa’s musical authority. It was only when gqom started making waves that people really paid attention. The meteoric rise of gqom was not anticipated by its creators, who were “experimenting on basic kit across the townships of Durban”.

The genre is raw, unfiltered energy that has come from the creativity of its artists, not fancy studios. One of the scenes stars, Griffit Vigo tells Dust that “we actually practised in our bedrooms, we haven’t had any studio until now, we used to go to play for free in the clubs, we just love what we do."

The genre is starting to garner worldwide interest, with Diplo, Naomi Campbell and Kanye West having expressed their interest in gqom. London has also played a key role in its rise, as many DJs and tastemakers have showcased its rhythmic splendour. “London and Durban are the places that really support my music," as DJ Lag notes.

Listen to the show here.

Aaron Holden is a Freelance Journalist, follow him on Twitter