“If You Know” Desire Marea

Today South Africa-based artist Desire Marea has announced news of a new EP, The Baddies of Isandlwana, alongside the Triana Hernandez directed video for first track “If You Know.”  The new EP, out on November 9th, 2023 via Mute, will follow a rare tour that will see Desire and his band in the UK and Europe for the first time since an appearance at Grace Jones’ Meltdown festival in London.

Desire describes the new EP as “…a trio of songs inspired by my time living in Amandawe, KZN. It’s an infusion of sounds that dominate nightlife in SA such as Gqom, Amapiano and Afrobeat. The EP is symbolic of a time when I was trying to find myself in the world I occupied, which extended to my ongoing quest to find myself in history, hence the title.”

The title refers to the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana, the first major encounter in the Anglo-Zulu war which ended with a decisive victory for the Zulus, and it was this search for himself in history that prompted Desire to contemplate the lives of the LGBT+ soldiers in the Zulu army.

Talking about the video, director Triana Hernandez (Amyl & the Sniffers, Harvey Sutherland, KYE) explains: “‘If You Know’ is inspired by that long-gone but never forgotten ‘80s period when pop clips were serving flamboyant, abstract and melodramatic. Desire and I wanted to pay homage to this iconic period through a modern, queer and dreamcore lens. Our collaboration started via email (South Africa < > Melbourne) – Desire sent me the demo and my first note was that it has a majestic and hypnotic progression, so it was key for the clip to feel like an epic spell someone is putting you under. I went to nature to have semi-vivid naps whilst listening to the track on repeat, so most of the video is based on dream snippets that were induced whilst immersing myself into the song’s core themes – lustful love that turns passion into toxic devotion, lovers that get projected as angels and demons, forbidden fruit type of love. Once the concept was locked in Desire suggested we work with Jonty Knight, the most talented stylist I’ve ever worked with, and she brought the baddie feel into the clip, that savage-romantic feel, engaging lots of insanely avant-garde designers from Melbourne like Wackie Ju, Studio Fear and Maria de Lourdes.

Honestly, working with Desire Marea was a dream. He is one of the most visionary artists out there and we just did what we do best – dream, trust in the universe, serve the art.”

Desire Marea’s voice is a culmination of many South African voices, a mouthpiece for a choir of spirits and entities. In recent years, the Amandawe based artist trained as Sangoma, a traditional Nguni spiritual healer. On his second album, 2023’s On the Romance of Being, Desire finds himself immersed in the communal, ceremonial and healing qualities of music, sonically taking in post-gospel, spiritual jazz and the ancient music of the Nguni and Ndau peoples.

Desire Marea
The Baddies Of Isandlwanna
Track listing
Mute Records

1. The Only Way
2. If You Know
3. Tholakele

Desire Marea 2023 Tour Dates

10/12/2023 – Leeds (UK), Transform festival
10/13/2023 – Glasgow (UK), Take Me Somewhere festival, Tramway 4
10/14/2023 – Manchester (UK), Soup Kitchen
10/15/2023 – Newcastle (UK), Cobalt Studios
10/17/2023 – London (UK), Hoxton Hall
10/19/2023– Brussels (BE), Beursschouwburg
10/20/2023 – Cologne (DE), Jaki
10/21/2023 – Munich (DE), Ritournelle Festival
10/22/2023 – Prague (CZ), Kasarna Karlin
10/23/2023 – Vienna (AT), Chelsea
10/26/2023 – Zurich (CH), Gessnerallee
10/28/2023 – Paris (UK), Le Petit Bain
10/30/2023 – Amsterdam (NL), Tolhuistin
11/1/2023 – Hamburg (DE), MS Stubnitz
11/2/2023 – Leipzig (DE), Institut für Zukunft
11/3/2023 – Berlin (DE), Volksbühne
11/4/2023 – Oslo (NO), The Oslo World Festival, The National Museum

Pre-order The Baddies Of Isandlwanna by Desire Marea HERE


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