Curiously, South Africa, as the Spanish island Ibiza or England’s ‘90s Manchester scene around club the Hacienda or Michigan’s Detroit scene, presents one of the few places in the world where genuine house music has taken root. One of its leading proponents is the reserved, studiously academic Black Coffee, whose inventive, imaginative and a boldly educated re-interpretation of classic South African music is radically at odds with the many flash-in-the-pan hit-chasers that populate the dance music genre.
Black Coffee, who is one-part member of the unfashionable urban soul trio Shana, is one of the few Club DJs in the country who genuinely understands the precise function of a music deejay: he does not simply re-mix songs; he re-interprets their previously unimagined musical possibilities and therefore quietly reclaims the composition as his own. When he debuted with his interpretation of Hugh Masekela’s rambunctious jazz hit Stimela (2005 original South African release; 2008 UK release), subsequently to be the lead single off the self-titled 12-track debut album, by re-featuring the old musician to guest vocal anew Black Coffee simply demonstrated how it was possible to re-work the South African canon music vault into club music, acceptable to both the youth and the adults, a feat not easily achievable in the instant festive hit-obsessed market that is South Africa: it requires a decidedly original-inclined, singular mind such as that of Black Coffee to be able to pursue an original music trajectory.
Durban-born Nkosinathi Maphumulo has been on the music scene for over a decade but only got his break a few years ago. Nkosinathi, otherwise known as Black Coffee, is popular for his smash hit remixes, most of which have dominated the airwaves in the past couple of years. He studied music in Durban because he felt that as a producer, he had to deepen his overall musical knowledge, develop his listening skills and advance his knowledge of music theory. When asked who helped him achieve his goals, he said “I have Massive Respect for Christos and Oskido for taking me around and giving me slots on their gigs”. 2003 saw Black Coffee starting to put his first project together.
He revealed that his first album was created using very basic music-making software. “I don't know how to explain the production stages of my album because all I did was put down the basic ideas that I had, I didn't use any MIDI controllers everything was played with a Computer Mouse. He added that the use of live instruments in a song is also very important, giving a track that final magic touch and bringing it to life. Black Coffee is proof that if you have real skill when it comes to producing, it won't take much for you to achieve your goals. After all he's managed to penetrate the music industry with only a desktop computer, some music-making software and a lot of passion. His first big break was when his song “Happiness” was featured on the DJs at Work album. In 2006 he enjoyed international exposure when his song ‘Music' got signed in New York and was released by Keith Thompson on the album, ‘Worlds Collide'. He was chosen as one of two South African participants in the Red Bull Music Academy in 2003(www.redbullmusicacademy.com) which jump-started him into the South African DJ scene. He released Two EP’s with London’s Label Kronologik (www.kronologik.com), which was out on Vinyl in the UK Records Shops and was also played in some Radio Stations Abroad. He then released two tracks with Real Tone Records in Paris featuring the Record ”Even Though” now this introduce him to the World as this Record was released in Globally and on Established House Music Websites. In January 2009 he released a Single ”Turn Me On” with a German Label “GOGO Music”, with Remixes by Ralf Gum, this Single became Number One on www.traxsource.com for Two Weeks. Black Coffee started a Label in South Africa www.soulisticmusic.com with Artist Like “Tumelo” who’s featured on Franck Roger’s Free Fall and “Culoe de Song” (who’s taking the World by Storm) signed on this Label. He has featured since at various clubs locally and Internationally like Taboo(SA),Cafe de Flore(Swaziland),Djoon(Paris), Scala(London)Ambassador(Lyon), Café Mugambo (Swaziland’s New Year’s Eve Parties)2008&2009 Miami Winter Festival,2008 & 2009 Ultra Music Festival(Miami),Sutra (Cape Town),In Namibia, Botswana, Barcelona, Lesotho, Cannes, Stratford, Birmingham and recently New York to mention a few. However, Black Coffee’s talent has taken him over the lines into the scene making him a DJ and a producer that has put together two Albums. The 1st CD was released end of September 2005 and since then it has been rocking the SA dance floors and the World. He scooped a SAMA Award for best dance album. He is currently nominated for the 2009 SAMA for Record of the Year.