PARISSOWETO is an online music exchange project between France and South Africa. The website acts as an online platform for the exchange project and hosts playlists and write-ups featuring artists from France and South Africa.
The idea is to showcase independent artists and groups from both countries that one may not necessarily know due to lack of exposure and the fact that alternative acts are often confined to their local scenes. The PARISSOWETO project is therefore determined to show the many different lives, voices, identities, sounds and creations that come from across France and South Africa. We want to steer away from clichés and stereotypes and purely focus on music.
Why ‘PARISSOWETO’ ?
The name is a reference to an album by the South African mbaqanga group The Mahotella Queens – “Paris Soweto” – recorded in Paris and released in 1987. We borrowed this name for our project in reference to South Africa and France’s cultural relationship: from the Mahotella Queens in the 1980s to Tumi and the Volume today, many underground South African artists have been signed to French labels and toured the country extensively. The name “Paris-Soweto” is therefore also a nod of gratitude to France and its cultural institutions that have long been invested in South African culture (in all its manifestations: art, music, literature, dance, theatre, film…) Institutions like the Alliance Française and the Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud (IFSA) and festival organisers like Oppikoppi often work together to bring music from France and francophone Africa to South African shores. These include Erik Truffaz, Etran Finatawa, Vieux Farka Touré, Habib Koitié, Inspector Cluzo, Babylon Circus, among others. Similarly, South African music has been exported to France, and more and more independent groups and artists are making it to international stages: acts like BLK JKS, The Brother Moves On, Desmond and the Tutus, Guy Buttery, Nibs van der Spuy, Tidal Waves, Petite Noir, Spoek Mathambo, Tumi Molekane, etc have all been brought over to France. The latest group to be signed to a French label is the provocative electro/hip hop outfit DOOKOOM.
[DISCLAIMER] The PARIS-SOWETO team would like to emphasise its independence from above-mentioned institutions. Artists featured in our playlists are chosen by the discretion of the P.S. team and have agreed that we use their tracks. Playlists can be streamed (but not downloaded) on SoundCloud. Please visit the artists’ websites, SoundCloud or BandCamp pages to download and buy their music.
Jannike Bergh | Editor
Violette Guinchard | Translator
Mehdi D. Margolin | Contributor, Translator
Melody Michut | Translator
Marion Claudel, IFAS
Claire Métais, IFAS
Werner Prinsloo (cover design), IFAS
Justine Guschlbauer (Alliance Française of Johannesburg)
Jean Bourdin (Alliance Française of Johannesburg)
Lance McCormack (The Bassline)
Mathieu Bouillod (cover design)
Jotam Schoeman (cover illustration)
dUTS (cover design)