Zimbabwe Now Primed For An EDM Revolution

The music space in Zimbabwe is always shifting as new genres fight for space to enter the urban arena to breathe.

Electronic Dance Music or EDM is the next wave that could be the interrupter. What is EDM? Well it is essentially a bunch of genres primed for dancing to, so they essentially target dance environments like clubs and festivals.

Rob Macson at one of his Gravitate events in Harare

Rob Macson at one of his Gravitate events in Harare

EDM has taken over the world. Don’t get it twisted. You can feel its influence in different genres. DJ Snake and Lil John’s Turn Down For What is testament to that growing influence. For a group of genres that was associated with raves and the sort it has bust the door down on the mainstream and caught the attention of those who thought it was a passing phase.

As to whether this wave will make it in Zimbabwe we asked prominent DJ Rob Macson who has been playing regularly at a local upmarket club.

Dance music definitely has a potential to be a dominant force just like it has become all over the world! Theres something about it, you can get lost in an amazing progressive house track, feel yourself sucked in by the groove of a deep house track, or feel the energy of a big room track.. EDM has such a vast spectrum.

So because EDM is so diverse some of you are getting lost in it you don’t even know. Dennis ‘Zyon Black’ Rwafa had you going insane with his version of Thomas Mapfumo’s Nyoka Musango.  Beyond that Trance, hardstyle, house, UK garage, drum and base, techno and alot of otehr genres have had your head spinning. (For more genres click here.)

Zyon Black Pic: Denis Rwafa FB

Dubstep producer Zyon Black – Pic: Denis Rwafa FB

Macson, himself a producer –  he has a smash hit Tehn Diamond and Simba Tagz called We Love It – says the creative department is still  passion-driven for many who make the music.

Production in EDM of this country, just like the actual community of passionate EDM lovers is growing. There are many more producers now making creditable tracks than 2 years ago. It will take time, but the talent is here!

Given that the audience is gobbling it up already we think it only takes a few more DJ’s other than ZiFM’s Jason Le Roux to let it breathe properly.

While some have called it white music for a while, it can be heard uptown and downtown. Sometimes it is down to the DJ you’re following, says Macson. It could also be because of spaces it is played in but once people hear EDM, it is infectious. Just take a look at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. The acts that had eEDM influence in their acts such as Toya De Lazy and Chef Special were exciting.  That is not even including the DJs.

This past weekend, Liam Brickhill had his birthday shindig at the Book Cafe and most of the music played by cats like Marvin, Patrick and another Liam had a multi-cultural crowd going mental. It was different forms of EDM and the dancefloor was packed.

But what about the association with drugs, we asked Macson:

Yeah, overseas there does seem to be a massive problem with drugs.. Unfortunately it gets linked to dance music because dance has become so massive and all of its festivals have too.. But I think drugs have always been there anyways.. Before dance blew up. So the problem isn’t the music. In my opinion, there isn’t a very big drug scene here from what I’ve seen. I personally don’t agree with drugs at all so am very against them being at any of my events. Unfortunately some people hide it better than others and go undetected sometimes…

The community is growing.  In 2013, Le Roux organised Neverland Zimbabwe, an EDM festival, that attracted 4,000 people. It is on again this year on 19 and 2o December and if the growth this year is anything to go by then there will be way more this year.

Neverland Zimbabwe  2013 - PIC: Neverland Zimbabwe FB

Neverland Zimbabwe 2013 – PIC: Neverland Zimbabwe FB

The culture is there. The production is making its way out of hidden spaces.

We’re watching and loving it.


  • TKO

    Wonder what Oskido and co were doing all those years ago that resulted in what is called South African House today.