Press Play: Shapeshifters is collaborative project between queer avant-garde musicians and performance artists Umlilo (South Africa) and Sean K (Namibia). Umlilo is an avant-garde musician, singer/songwriter and electronic music producer who has broken new ground in exposing South African queer expression. Sean K is a Namibian afro-soul and jazz singer/songwriter who has pushed the boundaries of contemporary Namibian music. The artists aim to collaboratively produce and create a piece of music, workshops, live performance and music video/short film that highlight themes around identity, gender, identity, homophobia and transphobia in Southern Africa. They will be collaborating with artists Yogin Sullaphen, Jono Kay, Llewellyn Mnguni, Whyt Lyon to bring the project to its full realisation.
The song/s will see the artists coming together and combining their different styles of music to create a contemporary song mixing soul, R&B, jazz, electronic music, baroque pop, kwaito and house music styles.
This project aims to use this collaboration as a prototype to extend cross-country collaborations between young queer artists in Southern Africa. Umlilo and Sean K will pair together with the outcome of producing a track/s and sharing their knowledge through a public workshop with other queer artists. Through rigorously structured music studio workshops and creative sessions, the artists will focus on writing, recording and facilitating the process from the conceptualisation to publishing of the track. Jono Kay will document the process in film and shoot a music video for the project. They will then organise a public showcase of the track as well as perform their music repertoire to queer audiences in Johannesburg and Windhoek.