On November 12, Kapela will headline Descendants Afrohouse party. Kapela is a name that is synonymous with house dance and music. His quick feet dance style and musicality has helped to propel house dance and music around the globe. It is said that to be a great dancer, you have to be a great listener. No doubt, It is his unique ability as a dancer to hear music a certain way, that makes him a great dj. His sets are a celebration of house music and its ability to transcend. Schooled in house and break dancing, Kapela uniquely understands the key role music plays in inspiring the feet and body to move. We caught up with the dancer and DJ for some quick insights into his sound.
AFROCONEX: The ability to hear and interpret the beat with your feet is one of your unique abilities as a dancer. How does being a dancer influence how you play as a DJ ?
KAPELA: The advantage of being a dancer and a DJ is that I know what to play for the dancers. I know the music that will make the crowd go wild and want to dance. The music selection is very important. As a dancer, when I go to parties, I want the DJ to take me on a journey. I don’t want one type of energy with the DJ set. I want to travel, but travel through rhythms, percussions, vocals, hard beats, soft beats, beats that make me go crazy with my footwork. The same feelings I get when I go to parties and I’m inspired to dance, is what I want others to feel from my DJ sets.
AFROCONEX: How has your sound evolved as a Dj And how would you describe your current sound ?
KAPELA: My sound has definitely evolved over the years. Before I started dejaying, I was already a big house music fan. In 2008, I visited Club Shelter in NY, and saw Timmy Regisford play. This exposed me to new sounds (new for me). At the time vocal and soulful house, as well as Afro tribal house was the popular sound and this evolved my sound. In 2010 I visited South Africa for the first time and was exposed to Kwaito and many other South African sounds; this exposure as well, evolved my sound. In Paris I saw many of the DJs I admire, like Boddhi Satva, Black Motion, Black Coffee, Louie Vega, Timmy Regisford, etc. all these djs have their particular sound which contributed to my sound evolution.
So my sound is a reflection of my identity. It is a reflection of my background and life experiences. I am Senegalese and I grew up in Paris, where I was part of a strong clubbing community. These factors influence my sound. As a dancer, I also travel around the world, and I love hearing the sounds of the places I visit. I collect tracks when I travel, and this also influences my sound. So I would describe my sound as a mix of sounds with strong African roots heavily influenced by sounds from South Africa, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and other African electronic music.
AFROCONEX: In an interview you did in 2020, you were asked what were your hopes/vision for House dance, and you replied “I hope people connect more with the music, than with the dance” As a DJ, how does the audience connection to the music you are playing, influence the direction in which you take your sets?
KAPELA: When a DJ is playing and you are able to translate what is happening in the song, into your body, this for me is what I mean by connection with the music. As a DJ this is when you feel one with the crowd. I have played some places where people were not loudly screaming, but they had a connection to the music, and this allowed me to have a connection with them. It really depends on where you are playing. But when people are connected to the music—screaming, closing their eyes, really feeling the music, this is when I am most inspired as a DJ. I want people to understand where I want to go or where I am going with my music. There are a few songs that I play that have deep meaning to me, and seeing peoples reaction to them, helps me feel a connection to the audience. For example the song WeBaba by Culoe De Song, was a favorite by my mentor. God Bless his soul, he passed away 2 years ago, and every time I play that song, I am having a spiritual connection with him; he is in my thoughts.
My comment about dancers connecting with the music is because sometimes dancers are not truly connecting to the music, they are just dancing doing moves and steps, and not really in connection with the music.
AFROHOUSE: What can be expect from your upcoming headliner with Descendants Records in New York on November 12th?
KAPELA: Expect A LOT of energy. Expect a lot of love. Expect a variation of sounds. The way you see me dance, this is how you will hear me play. I am a joyful guy, I love to share energy with people and I have many sides, so you will see these sides. It will definitely be a journey and we will travel. It will be an Afrohouse sound influenced by all the sounds I mentioned before. So yeah, expect a set where I am sharing a lot of energy and love with the people.
Get tickets to the Descendants Afrohouse party on November 12 featuring Kapela
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Enjoy this Kapela Mix