Pioneer of ‘Bacardi House,’ DJ Spoko dies at age 35
After battling with a long-term illness, DJ Spoko has left us.
Marvin ‘Spoko’ Ramalepe was a pioneering artist in the South African House music scene, known and loved for his self-discovered ‘Bacardi house’ sound which is comprised of house, kwaito and Shangaan electro.
As he said in an interview with IDM Mag in 2015, “Bacardi House is a design of dance. It was created only for one duty which is to make people dance, one purpose to make them sweat.”
Spoko started receiving international attention, embarking on a European tour that would shape the rest of his young life.
Whilst on tour the ‘War on God’ visionary fell ill with a life-threatening disease-tuberculosis.
Growing up, Spoko was nicknamed Ghost because his mom’s house was located across from a graveyard, and when he moved to Atteridgeville his dad’s house was also not far from a graveyard.
In the interview he said, “my friends teased me always calling me ghost, so the name… it became a real thing. In a good way, everything I did… it became questionable.”
One thing that was not questionable is his talent and influence on the South African music scene.
While he was in Europe, he got better but was trying to get back to Limpopo.
An auction and donation project was set up by UK-based engineers and DJs Auntie Flo and Esa in order to raise funds to help get Spoko home.
Friends and collaborators have been mourning this massive loss, paying their respects on social media.
Gathering thoughts now….but devastated to say goodbye to Marvin Ramalepe aka DJ Spoko. We became good friends despite what might’ve seemed like a huge chasm of cultural class and racial differences because of a real shared love of music. pic.twitter.com/OWfAeOHYrf
— TRUE PANTHER SOUNDS (@truepanther) March 14, 2018
DJ Spoko was connecting tissue of this country’s unique genres..without Spoko there would be no Gqom, he invented Bacardi House and he was behind so much Shangaani music it ain’t funny..he was, is and forever will be very very important x
— JUMPINGBACKSLASH (@thisisjbs) March 14, 2018
— Stephen Budd #FBPE (@stephenbudd) March 14, 2018
Rest in peace DJ Spoko, and thank you for all that you have done for music in South Africa.