After We Dance as One series of virtual festivals and live streams (including a new year’s eve event), Defected kick things off in 2021 with the launch of a brand new music label. Sondela Recordings will focus on Afro-house and the first single is set to release on 5th February with Hyenah’s Ezizweni.
Together, A&R Managers Sef Kombo and Louie Dunmore will curate the label’s output, with all profits going to Bridges For Music, a non-profit organization based in South Africa, gathering key players of the music industry to support responsible progress in developing countries, making a positive impact in disadvantaged communities and helping to raise global awareness about local issues through music. Working closely with Simon Dunmore, Sondela will come under the Defected family of labels, alongside Classic Music Company, Glitterbox Recordings, and DFTD.
I’ve been really happy being part of Sondela, I’ve always wanted to be a part of shining the light on the amazing talents from my home continent, bridging the worlds together to new listeners and also to release amazing future classic records. Even at this early stage in my A&R journey, I’ve learnt so much and so keen to learn more at Sondela. – Sef Kombo, A&R at Sondela Records
Sondela’s first release
The debut single ‘Ezizweni’ comes from enigmatic champion of African house Hyenah, collaborating with Durban superstar and Afrotainment founder DJ Tira and Afro-Jazz singer Luke Ntombela. An artist who aligns with the Sondela vision for profiling Afro-influenced music, Hyenah has become an advocate of the genre in Europe, hosting Watergate’s RISE residency, one of the few regular African house club nights in Berlin, and showcasing his impeccable knowledge of the genre with a now-infamous Boiler Room set. The second Sondela release, ‘Ancestor’s Calling’ will come from Native Tribe & TTAN on 5th March, with remixes from Enoo Napa and Saint Evo. With both records teased by Louie and Sef during their B2B set for Defected’s We Dance As One live stream in November, their official release has been anticipated by viewers since the set was aired.
I am so excited to begin my journey with Sondela Records and to be working alongside Sef Kombo. Aligning with Bridges For Music will help me in my own personal development while providing an excellent opportunity to discover creative talent and dig deep to source new music. – Louie Dunmore, A&R at Sondela Records
Speaking to Mixmag in October, Sef unveiled his aims to profile emerging talent within Afro-house as well as established names, exposing the genre to new audiences and curating live Sondela events when it’s eventually feasible, he also went on Resident Advisor’s esteemed RA Exchange podcast in November to discuss Sondela’s launch. Louie and Sef were asked onto BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Soundsytem with Jeremiah Asiamah at the end of 2020, delivering a mix that showcased the music that has inspired the label’s A&R strategy and forthcoming releases.
Hyenah featuring DJ Tira & Luke Ntombela ‘Ezizwei’ is out on 5th February via Sondela Records. Stream a preview HERE. Sondela’s second release ‘Ancestor’s Calling’ forthcoming later this Spring.