The Music of Down Town Jozi
When you think of the vibrancy of the South African musical landscape of yesteryear, It is almost impossible not to acknowledge how Johannesburg as a city became the space that brought the various indigenous genres of music to the people. Think of the Marabi of the 1920’s, Iscatamiya, Kwela the mbaqanga of the 1950’s, the bubblegum music era in the 80’s and not forgetting the music genre that became widely known as the one true voice of the urban youth in the 90’s, Kwaito.
RPM Studios now known as DownTown Music Hub was originally established in 1979 and soon became legendary in the South African Music recording industry. The space was more than just a recording facility and served largely as a place where people of the music business could escape from the confines of the enforced apartheid laws to creatively and freely develop peaceful collaborations between black and white musicians.
Well renowned musicians like Mirriam Makeba, Jonas Gwangwa, Hugh Masekela and Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and a myriad of others, have used the state of the art facilities at DownTown Music Hub to produce music that ultimately became the voice of the voiceless during times of political struggle in South Africa.
30 years on, DownTown music Hub continues to serve as a sought after recording space helping musicians to pursue excellence and award winning hits!
After receiving a much needed makeover in 2015, DownTown Music Hub is still a place with a rich generational history and continues to house the local as well as the global music community. Numerous international artists have recorded at DownTown Music Hub back in the day and have added a rich African influence to their musical productions and an invaluable, well rounded experience to take to their international audience. A few of the artists that were inspired to record music at DownTown Music Hub are the likes of Duran Duran during the SA leg of their world tour. Mick Hucknell of Simply Red fame who used 20 South African Session singers on his “Life” album as well as Bono and U2 who wrote a song whilst on tour in SA and became inspired to record it at DownTown Music Hub.
The full revamp has now seen the Hub develop into a fully-fledged musical community centre designed to form the new backbone of our abundant industry.