It doesn’t take much to fall in love with Aero Manyelo’s music. Just ask global DJ juggernauts, Dixon and Damian Lazarus who dropped his track “Mooki” during a Day Zero set in Mexico early in January. Dial back a decade and it was Manyelo’s “Mexican Girl” that caught the attention of South African music industry heavyweight “Oskido”. He quickly added the track to his Oskido’s Church Grooves 7 compilation, helping secure the song the number one spot on Yfm’s Hot 9@9 chart, and some heavy rotation on the radio station.
“Mexican Girl” wasn’t the artist and DJ’s first original track. Manyelo had started producing his own material after getting his first PC, and continued to create while studying Sound Engineering at the Soul Candi Music Institute, which had offered him a bursary in 2007. A year later, in 2008, he began working at “BlackwHole Entertainment” which released his first vinyl (EP, LP), Herbal Island. While at the South Africa house music specialist, he worked on the On “Another Level Remixes” release, giving Manyelo a chance to showcase his work within South African and outside its borders during the album’s promotional period.
Over the past decade, Manyelo’s career has been rapidly gaining momentum on the back of a string of releases – the four-track EP Home Sound Pellegrino, 2013” and the albums Kasi Vibes ( Out Here Records, 2013), Herbs Abroad (Akwaaba Music, 2014) and Dictionary of Herbs (Herbel3Records, 2014). His considerable remix skills have also been in demand, showing up on Amadou & Mariam’s “Ce N’est Pas Bon”, Maelstrom’s “USSR” and Jupiter & Okwess International’s “Margarita”, while his original tracks have been included in several high-profile international compilations, including Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela. Manyelo’s fantastic “Aero Mathata” opens the acclaimed compilation and is fronted by veteran singers The Mahotella Queens.
Born in Zebediela, Limpopo, South Africa in 1987, and growing up in the Johannesburg township of Ivory Park, Manyelo was influenced by his father’s love of jazz and his music has a depth that distinguishes it from South Africa’s plethora of house music. Township Electro is how Manyelo describes his sound – and 2017 saw him ready to take it to increasing numbers of fans around the globe and at home. The Dixon + Lazarus favourite, “Mooki” is the opening track on the “Africa Gets Physical compilation”, which was released by Berlin-based electronic music label, Get Physical in 2017. The track’s percussive groove, chanted vocals and deployment of found sounds (a croaking frog among them) combine to create a distinctive and memorable sound that has all the makings of one of the year’s best tracks.
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