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Introducing Beating Heart

Meet the team devoted to using music to erase boundaries that portion the world into divided cities, countries and continents.

11 Jul 2017 / Opinion / written by Carrie Allen

Beating Heart is doing a stellar job at blending good music and social justice. In you need convincing, listen to the collective’s latest release, a 4-track EP called “Volume 1”. The EP showcases a selection of well-chosen South African artists who are brimming with the kind of talent that runs deep through Beating Heart.

So, who are the Beating Heart? They are a collective of passionate artists and music-lovers that was born in 2016 in Sub-Saharan Africa. The group is devoted to using music as a platform to erase the boundaries that portion the world into divided cities, countries and continents.

Beating Heart plans to tackle this feat by paying tribute to the African music that has been woven into the fabric of this continent’s culture. Specifically, they want to, “bring the world’s largest archive of African field recording into the present day.” Specifically, Beating Heart wants to link contemporary music producers to their musical antecedents. This is perfectly summed by the project’s mantra, of, “Rediscover-Remix-Renew”.

In order to do this, the collective is releasing EPs, each of which features some of the best local talent from a specific area. The last EP encapsulated a range of Malawian talent, the profits from which went towards establishing a feeding scheme for children in the local community.

Now, Beating Heart has turned their attention to South Africa. Their EP, “Volume 1”, consists of four tracks that place a perfectly-positioned finger on the country’s musical pulse. In addition, they achieve all of this by remaining committed to their goal of community upliftment. The profits from the EP will go towards a music school in Grahamstown (AMP). Profits from the EP will also be donated to the Women’s Legal Centre, a non-profit organisation which advocates for gender equality through legal channels. They tackle a range of issues from gender-based violence to housing and health crises, all of which plague a large portion of our population.

The first track of the EP, ‘Yellah’ by Coen is layered with stunning vocals that compliment that electronic twists and turns that navigate the listener through the groove of the opening track. Next, the listener is pushed further down the EP’s rabbit hole with the second track, ‘SNØW’ by Catch The Spirit. For me, the rhythmic drums are the start of this track. In addition, the vocals are beautiful, yet sparse. In this case, less really is more.

Next, ‘Tru Fonix’ by Roar really takes things up a notch. I can imagine this song making weary festival-goers get back up on the dancefloor. This is good news because the Beating Heart crew have some interesting festival-related projects coming up.

The EP ends with ‘Afro Carnival’ by The Busy Twist. This track can in no way be reduced to the category of “house music” with its home-grown vocals. I feel that this splicing the old with new perfectly captures Beating Heart’s goal of not mere recycling, but re-imagining musical landscapes.

Through Beating Heart’s projects, various musical communities can look back in time to create something. If that is not enough, they are helping the communities in which they work along the way.

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Listen to “Beating Heart South Africa Vol 1” below on Deezer.