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Apple Music announces Chmba as the latest Isgubhu cover star

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Nelson Oko
Nelson Oko
Based in Nigeria, Nelson Oko is a features editor at Real Simple where he manages the publication’s personal finance, career, product testing and pets coverage. His work has also been seen in Travel + Leisure, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living and more.

JOHANNESBURG – Apple Music today announced Malawian DJ Chmba as the next Isgubhu cover star.

“I am incredibly thrilled, this feels like coming to a new yet very familiar home,” Chmba tells Apple Music. “I know this space so well, African dance electronic house music is so integral to my being, DNA-like, from childhood, this sound has carried me to who I am today. To represent Malawi, which is not often seen in the dance-electronic realm is an honour. I am proud to fly our flag.”

Standing proud and unafraid, Malawian DJ Chmba draws deeply from her roots, acknowledging a pan-African sense of sonic motherhood that has shaped her sound, and has caught the attention of some serious players globally in the process. The Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, invited Chmba to perform at her New Years Eve party in Malawi and at her exclusive Oscars party in Beverly Hills, California in 2023.

With her signature Afro-electronic, indie, house and alternative sounds creating a fiery fusion of tempos and grooves, Chmba has conquered impressive stages like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, while also racking up opening sets for Grammy-winning artists Angelique Kidjo, Nile Rodgers, Metro Boomin, and Laura Mvula.

With a list of accolades that includes Forbes’ Africa 30 Under 30, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, and Global Citizen Youth Advocate, Chmba is a true creative trailblazer, and her latest EP Okongola Caucus (2023), available to stream on Apple Music in Spatial Audio, is a powerful, groove-rooted 5-track offering that serves up a range of emotions that extend all the way to the dancefloor.

To celebrate her feature, Chmba has also created an exclusive Isgubhu playlist that amplifies the best electronic music that the continent has to offer, both past and present. “This collection could also be called freeform – freedom in sonic exploration,” she explains. “This is a reflection of the richness of our continent’s music then and right now, and yet still so much remains untapped. These songs hold heritage spiced with our many influences and learnings in a world now so global, an electrifying fusion of synthy waves with Afro-drum beats to pulse through veins. These musicians are the explorers who are unafraid of an explosive convergence of genres, infusing Afro rhythms at the core while electrifying senses with spine-tingling beats.”

Each month, we spotlight Africa’s most distinctive and prolific incubators of sound. This month, we highlight respected and influential indie dance label Stay True Sounds and their Best of Stay True Sounds volumes, expertly mixed by founder Kid Fonque.

Launched in early 2021, Isgubhu is the definitive home of African Dance and Electronic music on Apple Music and spotlights and elevates the work of African Electronic DJs, producers and creatives. Isgubhu, a Zulu word meaning beat and used to refer to a banging song, pays homage to an evergreen set of genres and the African artists who have played a pivotal role in shaping the Dance and Electronic scene across the world.

Isgubhu also houses a collection of playlists including Spotlight On–a focus on boutique labels like Soul Candi, House Afrika, Stay True Sounds and Uganda’s Hakuna Kulala & Nyege Nyege Tapes and Isgubhu Voices–a focus on the best Dance and Electronic tracks that feature vocals.

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