Category Archives: Kalahari Surfers

Silent Night / Stille Nag by Johannes Kerkorrel and the Kalaharisurfers

During the turbulence and noise of the late Johannesburg 80’s I had a notion to do a very strongly atmospheric/satirical Christmas Carols Album using the artists from the Shifty label. A sort of political Christmas skeefness. The idea was that these tunes from our own sensibility would provide us with a background music that shops could play to replace the BonyM albums each year … and also to have a bit of fun subverting the well worn old melodies. Ralph here gave such a great performance that I felt it was too good for satire. Its real Christmas in teargas city. You can almost feel the melancholia we felt each year living in the shadow of the beast….so here we are something for the shocking stocking
merry chrysalis
Warrick Sony


AGITPROP – Kalahari Surfers


  • tag as Foktronik
     The long awaited album of songs from the K.Surfers who’s last album just before the soccer World Cup saw them tour the UK with the African Soul Rebels tour.This is quite different in that it  harkens back to their early song and satire material. The first album they’ve done which really explores that connection the bridge between their political songwriting of the 80s and South Africa now.
    Genre wise,its always difficult with the Surfers but,I guess we are talking Folktronic which, I suppose  implies a certain lack of edgyness  which would be incorrect so I’d go for  ElektRetro or maybe taking the “L” out of Folktronic  . Sony after all did work with Die Antwoord before their big break under the name Bennie DeBruin so deserves the Foktronic tag. Every song smacks home a strong clear lyric of  “I-wish-I-had-written-that” magnitude. Go listen on their Bandcamp site for free. It is a dense work so you need two or three passes at it. Their are even 3 or 4 free downloads and while you are their check out the EP album recorded at the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival which contains all new material too. Prolific output.
    Lester Gabang

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Ambush Street (free) 03:28
The State Banquet (free) (hidden) 03:12


This album has been an attempt to integrate my earlier more political songwriting work with my dub inspired electronica of the 90’s and 2000’s. Its taken me a little over a year to complete these songs, most of which were written on the train traveling to and from the city of Cape Town where I compose at Milestone Studios. Inspiration and feelings coming straight from the mess of governance that has been precipitated by the palace coup of the communist Trojan Horses within our democratically elected government.
We used to joke in the 80’s about Comrade Dollar ( a well moneyd “communist” with expensive tastes) only to see this emerging well beyond anyone’s imagination.
I feel great unease for the future when I read in the ruling parties online magazine phrases like:
“The Ideological Third Force”
“this anti-majoritarian agenda”
“expose the liberal offensive”
“Cadre deployment and redeployment”
terms which belong to another era …an era which I have eluded to with my choice of title and which I think we would do well to move away from.
Many of the tunes are personal vignettes from my book of dreams or life shaking experiences that have found their way into song of sorts which as in real life bump up against the political…but then everything is political
Warrick Sony“


released 01 May 2012
recorded and produced at Milestone Studios Cape Town South Africa* “Wings of a Stingray” was recorded live at
the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival 2012
Babalazi 04:47
Vok Jou 04:34

TransSky – Killing Time (1998)

TransSky-Killing Time

This album, released by Tic Tic Bang in the late 90’s  was the culmination of work done by  Brendan Jury and Warrick Sony under the name TransSky. It explores the fusion of dance/ triphop and social comment with unique african  sound samples and  (what was then new) drurn & bass techniques.   The band toured with Massive Attack opening for them during their South African ” Mezzanine”  tour.


Immediate download of 13-track album in your choice of MP3 320, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.PLUS scans of 16 page booklet from original CD cover art plus extra pics from the Massive Attack tour. Buying the whole album gets you a free mystery track


TransSky was Brendan Jury & Warrick Sony
Johannesburg-Cape Town South Africa circa 1996-1999
Recorded at Shifty Studio in Johannesburg & Cape Town
engineered by Warrick Sony
arrangements Brendan Jury
photography by Dror Eyal
concept and design by Adriaan Louw
Juliana Venter b.vocals on Blue Flame
management Patrick Horgan
thanks to Lloyd Ross
released by Tic Tic Bang BANGCD039


this was an EP of remixes of Brendans URBAN CREEP track “Slow Thighs” as well as a dance electro version of the EngelburtsCan’t Take My Eyes off You” …..say CHEESE

pics from Massive Attack tour:

One Party State – Kalahari Surfers (2010)

One Party State कालाहारी सुर्फेर्स

Long after most of their musical contemporaries from
the 1980s have lapsed into silence or irrelevance,
the Surfers are creating music that is perhaps more
influential now than ever before. The Kalahari
Surfers were the original South African “Dub
Scientists” and their rhythmic and sonic explorations
continue to influence a new generation of electronic
producers because of their fascination with the
possibilities of using the studio as an instrument, and
their investigation of the spatial qualities that can be
suggested through the creative use of the mixing desk
and effects units. But the Surfers are much more
than an exploration of dance rhythms and studio
techniques; their albums are important expressions
of neo-Dadaist South African sound art.
What is not widely recognised is that the Kalahari
Surfers are not a group, underground or otherwise.
The Surfers are an evolving audio project by the
composer, producer and musician, Warrick Sony. In
the early 1980s, when Sony started the Surfers project,
the anonymity offered by a fictional band gave him
the imaginative space to operate during the bleakest
and most repressive years of the apartheid regime.
The mask of a fictional band also allowed Sony to
approach the Kalahari Surfers as a collaborative
endeavour, using his production skills to record and
remix an astonishing range of vocal and instrumental
performances from figures in the South African
underground over the last twenty-eight years. This
latest album includes contributions by the legendary
jazz guitarist Alan Kwela, and a haunting vocal
track by Sarah Jane Mary Hills, better known as the
bassist from the KZN alt-rock group, Sunways. But
it is the collaboration with the South African post-
Fanonist poet, Lesego Rampolokeng that is central
to One Party State. Rampolokeng’s dark, often abject
visions have featured in several Surfers albums.
However this is the most successful collaboration to
date. Instead of treating Rampolokeng as a rap poet,
Sony has approached the recording of his poetry
as a source of raw material, extracting resonant
and cutting phrases from the tsunami of the poet’s
verbal tirades. Like Dambudzo Marechera in postliberation Zimbabwe, Rampolokeng anatomised
the predatory and authoritarian leanings of the new
elite at an early stage in South African democracy;
and his vision is matched by Sony’s highly political
treatment of sound.
Since his first Surfers release, a spray-painted, fourtrack
cassette called “Gross National Products” , produced in an Observatory student commune in 1982, Sony has
treated the Surfers project as a space for experimental
sound design, stitching complex layers of irony and
questioning into the fabric of his compositions
through audio cuts-up and samples over the spatially
conceived Dub rhythms. Rooted in the analogue
tape-splice techniques of early Music Concrete and
sampling from a rich garnering of field recordings
and media excerpts, the Kalahari Surfers’ work
constitutes a Dadaist sound archive as well as a
Science of Dub production. The compositions on
every Surfers album preserve the detritus of South
African popular culture like the bus-tickets and
printed ephemera in a Merz sculpture by Kurt
Schwitters. This practice of treating found audio
was always an inherently political practice in South
Africa under apartheid: a sometimes brutal exposure
of social contradictions or an undercutting of the
bland surface of official propaganda that led to
restrictions on the airplay of Surfers music and,
in the case of the Bigger Than Jesus LP in 1989, a
government banning order. Now, with the ominous
turn to a rhetoric of “information control” and
“media tribunals” by the ruling party, the political
urgency of this approach to South African sound art
is suddenly relevant again. More poignantly, the final
track on the album, “Play Around with the Buttons,”
splices Eskom advertising jingles with a recording of
an SABC outside broadcast unit trying ineptly to
transmit a live speech by Nelson Mandela. The grim
irony of Mandela’s speech lost in transmission by the
incompetence of the state broadcaster is presented
through a subtle manipulation of the live recordings.
And as a special bonus, the album features a “hidden
track” which first appeared at the Dada South?
exhibition in 2009. Entitled “Pigs at the Trough,”
the track is a montage of chanted ruling-alliance
slogans, mixed into the vividly recorded grunts and
wheezing of pigs guzzling slops. The contradiction
is as crude as any of the visual clashes in a John
Heartfield collage; and perhaps as necessary in these
pivotal times.
—-Pof Christo Doherty-Art South Africa Jan2011
(Christo Doherty is Professor and Head of Digital
Arts in the Wits School of Arts, University of the
Witwatersrand. He is also a photographer and video

Well, the firebrand Warrick Sony is back — and he is angry. With his new album, One Party State, Sony returns to the overtly political song structures he created in the 1980s, but with a dystopian dubstep edge added to the mix. Sony is on the attack and he has the ANC-led government firmly in his sights. Lock and load. “I am feeling a rage that I haven’t felt since the bad old days,” says Sony. “A rage at being the joke of the world, being ashamed to be from here again is too much. “We have something approaching anarchy with a government so wrapped up in criminal prosecutions and court cases and infighting and backbiting that it is hard for it to find time to govern,” he says. “I have been feeling that a lot of the idiocracy going on now is not unsimilar to what we were dealing with in the 1980s. The kind of ‘Should I cry or should I laugh?’ moments with our political personalities that are very familiar to a lot of us who were creating artistic work during the apartheid years.
LLOYD GEDYE – May 07 2010 16:55 Mail&Gaurdian


Panga Management : Kalahari Surfers

Panga Management




Conspiracy Of Silence – Kalahari Surfers

Conspiracy Of Silence

This was commissioned by Microdot Records for their Africa in Trance series – After working on the documentary ” Ochre and Water ” director Craig Matthew gave me permission to use some of the sound recorded during that period. These were chants of the Himba people of Northern Namibia. For further information see the impressive DOXA website: 

Microdot wanted a 130 bpm trance album using my extensive field recordings…they got some slow tracks too.
Some of my sound samples are here:


Muti Media – Kalahari Surfers

Muti Media

Front cover features the painted bronze sculpture “Bubble Head: Shortpants” by Brett Murray from his “White Like Me” exhibition. 

extensive 10 page CD booklet included in album download. Designed by Simon Dunkley.

originally put out by “African Dope”

released 06 January 2003
recorded at Milestone Studios 

Xhosa vocals : Zukile Malahlana
Piano: Murray Anderson
Vocals and poem on Durgas Belt: Lesego Rampolokeng
sample on “What have they Done To Me?” from “Shela” by Samuel Singo courtesy Gallo Records
Sitar on “Secrecy of Silence”: Jaya Lakshmi
Tabla: Chaitanya Charanadas
Slow Speed features Brother Sjambok of “Die Vos Broers”
Clarinet on Slow Speed: Joelle Chesselet
Operatic voice on Coptic:Juliana Venter
Herdsman was originally recorded fro “Ochre and Water” a movie by Doxa Productions Himba samples used by permission.
Faust was originally recorded for the Handspring/ William Kentridge production of “Faustus in Afrika” vocal by Jennifer Ferguson