To showcase South Africa’s diverse cultures and how they all impact on and evolve each other, HYPE Magazine linked up with Tullamore D.E.W. to create a monthly editorial series that celebrates the #BeautyofBlend. And in HYPE fashion, we decided to put the spotlight on an incredible group of young artists & creatives that we believe are blending cultures, thoughts & ideas to help shape and improve modern-day South Africa in their own ways.
This month we start things off with Pretoria-based alternative musician, Roho, who is steadily becoming one of the most distinguished voices within the local music scene. Having already garnered a massive number of listeners, particularly on platforms such as SoundCloud, in 2020 Roho released a critically acclaimed debut project called Ephemeral which took an apparent 3-years to make and about a month ago released an EP called NIAGARA. With that said, it’s quite evident that Roho is a perfect candidate that is adding and at the same time blending a fusion of styles, genres and vision to create something beautiful… With further a due, here’s our #BeautyOfBlend conversation with Roho.
“Success comes not to those who desire it most but to those who care deeply about what they do and feel compelled to create.” – Daniel E. Williams
Introduce yourself who you are and what you do.
My name is Roho and I am an alternative musician from Pretoria
What is your belief in the benefits of blending cultures and perspectives?
I think musically your responsibility as a musician is to reflect your environment and reflect the times. And it’s very important that you include and incorporate culture because some of the most potent music or music that relates to the people is culture-based so it’s very important that you have an essence of your culture, your surroundings, your background, who you are and where you’re from. It helps make the music more relative.
What experiences have you had of cultures coming together that have positively influenced your creative process?
I think coming from a family of two different cultures… Because my dad was born in Mozambique and my mom was born in South Africa, has had an influence on the way that I make music and who I am as a musician because I always go home for reference and I always have those two different cultures, two different backgrounds, two different realities and it’s sort of like merging the two. I’m a fusion of both worlds so it’s interesting how that comes together.
I’m a fusion of both worlds so it’s interesting how that comes together – Roho
So what do you think the benefits would be for South Africa if more cultures and communities blend?
Definitely, growth because there’s growth in collaboration and it’s a more powerful growth if it’s a cultural collaboration. And I feel like you hear that a lot in the music that’s coming out now, its not just necessarily one genre, it’s sometimes a fusion of different genres. I think creatively and musically it’s very important that people collaborate and cultures come together from different environments, from different backgrounds.
Can you give any examples where the blending of different musical styles, cultures and beliefs has resulted in you creating something unique or beautiful?
Like I said when I hear what the music sounds like now it has a fusion of different elements and a fusion of different genres… And I think I’m more inspired by music that sounds like a hybrid in a way. Like a fusion of just different sounds and different genres. The music that I heard recently has outgrown the normal genre perspectives, the way we box music and people are just stepping outside of their comfort zones to create things that are a fusion of different things and different elements. So I’m inspired by the stuff that I hear and I’m inspired by the art that I see as well.
What are some unorthodox or weird methods you’ve had to bring together in your craft?
The relationship I have with music is very weird because initially, I didn’t think I would make music growing up. I always wanted to be a writer and I think me making music feels usual already because it’s not something I had intentionally planned on doing so I guess my creative approach has no structure to it… Sometimes I would hear something and I would figure out the cadence before I figure out the lyrics or I would figure out the lyrics before I can actually hear what it will sound like. I guess my creative process is very abstract in itself and it’s very unusual to me, I’m learning to actually fuse and adjust to how I make music. It shocks me sometimes [laughs].
What goes through your mind when you think of the phrase ‘Beauty Of Blend’?
As I said, I’m a fusion of two different worlds, two different cultures and there’s beauty in that. There’s beauty in two things becoming one and just unison… I believe in the unity of different elements, different backgrounds and different scenes. There is beauty in “fusion” and there is beauty in blending two different worlds.