Twelve of South Africa’s hottest music acts will vie for the chance to perform at Spain’s premier festivals during the Vis-à-Vis battle of the bands competition, taking place in Joburg from 11 to 13 April 2013.  This groundbreaking Spain-South Africa music development initiative is the brainchild of Spanish institution Casa África, in co-operation with the Spanish Embassy in South Africa and the SAMRO Foundation.

After the dozen finalists strut their funky stuff over three nights in Joburg, two musicians or bands will be chosen to take part in an international concert tour during July and August 2013.

The lucky winners will perform at some of the hottest world music festivals that make Spain a leading tourist destination for open-air concerts during the European summer. The Johannesburg Vis-à-Vis contest is therefore a golden opportunity for two outstanding local acts with global appeal to step up, show their musical mettle, raise their international profile and make a splash on the lucrative overseas live music circuit.


After a nationwide call for submissions for the Johannesburg Vis-à-Vis contest, the selection process has been completed and the final line-up for the three free gigs is as follows:

• Thursday, 11 April 2013 at Rumours Lounge in Weltevreden Park: Concord, D-Skwad, Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness and BongeziweMabandla

• Friday, 12 April 2013 at Rumours Lounge: Black Light Panda, Young Nations, L8 Antique and Motèl Mari

• Saturday, 13 April 2013 at King Kong  inTroyeville: TouchWood, Shabalala Rhythm, Zuko and The Brother Moves On

The local leg of the Vis-à-Vis initiative marks the latest meeting of minds between Spanish music festival producers and African musicians. Casa África has already given music acts from Senegal, Ethiopia and Cape Verde the opportunity to dazzle in the international spotlight.

For the Joburg contest, emerging and established bands and artists were asked to upload samples of their music via the website, after which the 88 entries were whittled down to 12 bands who will perform live in front of audiences and the Spanish festival representatives this week.

The producers are responsible for some of Spain’s leading summer music festivals – many of which already have a proud tradition of showcasing world-music acts from Africa and South Africa – such as Festival Etnosur (Alcalá La Real, Jaén, Andalusia), Festival La Mar de Músicas (Cartagena), Festival Pirineos Sur (Sállent de Gallego, Huesca), Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz & Mas Heineken (Canary Islands), Festival Mumes (Tenerife, Canary Islands), Festival África Vive (Madrid) and ImaginaFunk Festival (Sierra Mágina, Torres, Jaen).

Entry to the Joburg gigs is free, but get there early to secure your spot. The battle of the bands starts at 8pm every night; refreshments are on sale at the venues. Rumours Lounge is situated at Shop 20, Palm Court, in Cornelius Street, Weltevreden Park, while King Kong can be found at 6 Verwey Street in Troyeville.

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