When the news started circulating on social media about a week ago, many believed – and hoped – it was fake news, but unfortunately it wasn’t. South African producer Marvin Ramalepe, internationally known as DJ Spoko, passed away as a result of complications from a long-term illness.
For those who didn’t know him, the 35 year-old artist was known for his pioneering work in the creation of Bacardi House, a house genre born from his unique production style. A sonic innovation that, mixing percussive elements and pop-synth melodies, reflected the frenzy and folklore of South African townships at the end of the first decade of the 2000s, and that had a huge impact overseas.
Born in the rural township of Tzaneen, Spoko mastered his production technique in Soweto under Nozinja’s guidance, one of Shangaan Electro’s lead figures. In 2007 he released with Dj Mujava his first unforgettable hit, Township Funk (Warp Records), a track that consecrated Bacardi House and made him famous worldwide.
Since then, DJ Spoko has been one of the most beloved and respected south African artists in the international club music scene, and in the past few days he has been publicly mourned by artists and fans through posts and tributes. Surely, DJ Spoko’s name will go down in history.
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