In Honour of DJ Spoko

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of a true giant of African music, Marvin ‘DJ Spoko’ Ramalepe (15/08/82 – 14/03/18). The young electronic music producer was born in Limpopo, and grew up in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, honing his love for music as part of the Hip-Hop crew GBE. DJ Spoko went on to create and enrich various musical styles that swept through South Africa and eventually the world, including Sghubu Sa Pitori, Direkere and most famously Bacardi House and Shangaan Electro.

Marvin went on to put his city on the map and redefine South African house through monumental songs such as ‘Mugwanti’, ‘Township Funk’ and ‘Cucumba’, alongside colleagues such as Mujava. He moved to further pushed the envelope by fusing his style of production with maskandi and rock as part of the collective Fantasma.

Marvin enjoyed global acclaim and was at the beginning of a promising touring career when he was struck by  illness. Never one to give up, Marvin put his love of music to the world until the very last days of his life.

His great talent, uncanny wisdom, sense of humour and charm will be missed by his friends, family, and fans around the world. He was a true pioneer who despite his humble background, used his abilities to make a living for himself and inspire many people around the world.

DJ Spoko’s funeral service will be this weekend in Atteridgeville, Pretoria. Any contributions towards the wellbeing of his 3 young children, will be greatly appreciated. Continue to support and share his music, and keep the legacy of The King of Snares alive.


DJ Spoko – Discography




Words by Spoek Mathambo

Fatoumata Diawara New Album Out May 25th

Malian songstress and advocate for women’s rights Fatoumata Diawara has performed with Africa Express on several occasions. We were honoured to have her join us during the Train Tour in 2012, Marseille’s Fiesta Des Suds and our Roskilde takeover in 2015. Since her critically acclaimed debut album “Fatou” (2011), Fatoumata has toured the world, featured in films such as Timbuktu and Mali Blues and now is releasing her hotly anticipated album “Fenfo”. The record, set to be released by Wagram/Montuno on 25th May features collaboration with musicians such as Malian Kora player Sidiki Diabaté, Vincent Ségal on Cello and Matthieu Chedid (playing organ and guitar).

Expect to hear a mixture of styles on ‘Fenfo’ as it crosses between ancient and modern, from slow simmering blues to funk and afro-pop and beyond.

Watch the video for Nterini directed by Aïda Muluneh  below and stream/buy it here.


Catch Fatoumata on tour across Europe and US throughout 2018:

Mon 19th – Konzerthaus – Vienna, Austria
Thurs 22nd – Moods – Zurich, Switzerland
Fri 23rd – Philharmonie – Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Sat 24th – Philharmonie – Koln, Germany
Sun 25th  – Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands – SOLD OUT
Mon 26th  – Jazz Café – London, UK – SOLD OUT
Tues 27th – Theatre Municipal – Reze, France – SOLD OUT
Thurs 29th – Theatre Romain Rolland – Villejuif, France – SOLD OUT
Fri 30th – De Roma – Antwerp, Belgium
Thu 5th – Festival Chorus – Boulogne Billancout, France
Sun 8th – San Francisco Jazz Festival – San Francisco, USA
Thurs 12th – Koerner Hall – Toronto, Canada
Fri 13th – The Andy Warhol Museum – Pittsburgh, USA
Sat 14th  – Black Rock Arts Centre – Germantown, USA
Mon 16th – Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, USA
Sat 21st  – Cully Jazz Festival – Cully, Switzerland – SOLD OUT
Sat 28th  – Fest. TouCouleurs – Toulouse, France
Sun 13th – Guitar Fest – Barcelona, Spain
Sat 19th – Corbak Festival – La Chaux-du-Milieux, Switzerland
Sat 26th – Massala Festival – Hannover, Germany
Thu 31st – Int´l Africa Festival – Wurzburg, Germany
Sun 24th – Etnojazz Poland – Wroclaw, Poland
Sun 8th – Rudolstadt Festival – Rudolstadt, Germany
Sat 14th – Festival Cruilla – Barcelona, Spain
Fri 27th – La Mar de Musicas – Cartagena, Spain
Sun 29th – Iboga Summer Festival – Valencia, Spain
Sun 5th – Concertgebouw – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tue 11th – Le Trianon – Paris, France