Following the release of their first single Lithebera, Morena Leraba’s collaboration with Brooklyn-based producer Kashaka has opened other doors, leading to another collaboration where he’s featured together with Mankind, from Johannesburg South Africa on a new single, Impepho (meaning incense in Zulu language) by Trap Funk & Alivio from Salvador, Brazil.
Impepho, an inter-continental collaboration between artists from South America and Africa, was produced in Salvador, Brazil, recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa and mastered in Brooklyn, New York, and features on a new album, Armadilha, by Trap Funk & Alivio.
The collaboration is an initiative of Subterrâneo Records, an independent label based in Brazil, as they were looking for potential features for their upcoming projects and Kashaka (from Off-Record Music in Brooklyn), having worked with Morena Leraba previously, introduced the Lesotho-based rapper.
Felipe Pomar and Frederico Santana, having a common taste in music, formed Subterrâneo Records in 2003.
“Their idea was that of putting together a music production label, a space where artists would meet for the will to make music without commercial confines and free from the pressure of the music market. Thus, Subterrâneo Records appeared,” says Pomar.
Morena Leraba and Mankind paths met at J&B Hive in Johannesburg, South Africa during a documentary screening, “Morena Leraba: Blending Our Stories with Modern Sounds” by Blacknation Video Network (BNVN), where they both performed.
“Mankind opened the stage for me in Johannesburg. I listened to his music when Thulasizwe Similane of Blacknation Media was in Lesotho to shoot his film on my music and our lifestyle as shepherds. I was charmed by his music and energy.”
“However, seeing perform live was something else and after the event, we decided to collaborate with the group from Brazil,” Morena Leraba states.
Mankind, whose real name is Tswelopele Tsotetsi, is an upcoming rapper from Emalahleni, formerly known as Witbank in South Africa. He became the icebreaker of Blacknation Music after his then manager Thulasizwe Similani noticed his talent and energy. Currently the rapper is making waves in Johannesburg and across Africa.
“We started that in 2013, which is when we work on my first project, Give me the Tender. It was a 5 track EP. It was well received online too. That’s how it all began,” says Mankind.
“My collaboration with Trap Funk & Alivio and Morena Leraba actually opened my eyes and I realized we can merge our creativity even if we’re from different backgrounds. We can literally unite the world through music,” he adds.
According to Pomar, Impepho is actually a beginning; hence, going to further other collaborations with Morena Leraba and Mankind in the future and as a group, Trap Funk & Alivio is planning to come to South Africa.
Mankind’s upcoming collaborations include Stilo Magolide, Palm Tree Paradise and Gemini Rudebouy Major. He joined Stilo on his “Tropicana Tours” in 2016 and he recorded his upcoming album with the Red Bull Studios in Cape Town.
Morena Leraba’s future projects include features with DJ Spoko and Andre Geldenhuys (from BeatLords). He’s also featured on Spoek Mathambo’s upcoming album. Other possible collaborations include Zetina Mosia and FAKA, artists from South Africa. Morena Leraba’s EP with Kashaka is also underway and will be released soon.