The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
Abby O’Neill | March 11, 2021
Black Coffee, a figurehead of the global South African dance movement, is known for his undeniable DJ sets and AfroHouse anthems that (under normal circumstances) light up dancefloors around the world. He brings that same feeling to his Tiny Desk (home) concert, but with a unique configuration: live instrumentation.
Born in Durban and raised in the Eastern Cape in Mthatha, Black Coffee’s subculture of soulful house transports me to an elevated state. If you ask me, this is the pure embodiment of feel-good music. That shouldn’t be a surprise, because house music has always been about love. It’s a form of sonic escapism that provides a sanctuary for all beings, regardless of race, age, or gender. Therefore, it’s only fitting that Black Coffee rocks a tee embossed with “I Heart You” across his chest.
Shot in the auditorium at the National School of Arts in Johannesburg, Black Coffee tapped students to assist with production as part of their internship. Kicking off the set is “You Rock My World” featuring Soulstar, a classic dance joint from his Africa Rising album whose convergence of pulsating percussion, a calming melody, and the sultry vibes of Soulstar’s voice feels like a spiritual palette cleanser. He follows that up with “Flava” and “Wish You Were Here,” two tracks from his new LP, Subconsciously, whose litany of special guests — including Diplo and Pharrell — is a coronation of Black Coffee’s meteoric rise.
Black Coffee: DJ
Una Rams – vocals
Tellaman – vocals
Msaki – vocals
Godfrey Mntambo: saxophonist
Musa Nhlapho: vocals
Sandisiwe Sishuba: vocals
Bonokuhle Nkala-Mtsweni: vocals
Video: Julian von Plato, Yolanda Hlakula, Siphe Maphumulo, Lindo Langa Aden McCarthy, Mark Wilson, Bevan Godden, Sims Phakisi, Nick Vetter, DIGMU
Audio: Steven Grenfell, Icons Shop, Wild & Marr, Julian von Plato
Lighting Technicians: Trisdan Evans, Khaya Radebe
Runners: Dylan von Plato, Stephen Shrimpton, Langa Gumbi
TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Abby O’Neill
Video Producer: Maia Stern
Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Morgan Noelle Smith
Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
#blackcoffee #tinydesk #nprmusic #afrobeats #housemusic