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Real Scenes

Johannesburg

South Africans are the biggest consumers of house music in the world, and Johannesburg is the beating heart of their scene. If you're looking for proof, there is no need to visit a nightclub. In turning on a television, listening to the radio or walking down the street, it's clear that a 4/4 pulse is the metronome of everyday life. The city's preferred sound—vocal-led, percussive, melodic—is largely at odds with what's popular in other international markets; this coupled with cripplingly slow internet speeds goes someway to explaining SA's absence from the global house music conversation.

But although the scene's stars hold ambitions that extend well beyond the country's borders, the reality is that they're thriving on home turf. Johannesburg has written—and continues to write—its own narrative. It has tales of hardship. The fight to free itself from the brutality of apartheid, and the role music played in that struggle. In a city still rife with poverty, house music can offer a way out.

In this episode of "Real Scenes," we journeyed to Johannesburg and its outer lying townships, meeting the DJs, producers, promoters and record labels who are central to its story.

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Full Episodes
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Episode
28:30
Real Scenes

E8: Bristol

The eyes of the world have turned to the UK in recent years and have found some of the most exciting, genre-defying young artists to emerge from electronic music.
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Episode
21:47
Real Scenes

E7: Paris

Partygoers are now finally traveling to the suburbs, beyond the Paris Périphérique -- the road that encircles the city -- in search of a good time. It's a shift in attitude that has made Paris fun again.
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Episode
45:30
Real Scenes

E5: Berlin

This episode of "Real Scenes" visits one of the most special places for electronic music in the world: Berlin.
Real Scenes: Tokyo
Episode
29:43
Real Scenes

E3: Tokyo

Meet the DJs, promoters and producers who have been affected by Tokyo's ban on dancing.
Mexico City
Episode
29:55
Real Scenes

E2: Mexico City

Despite being a vibrant global metropolis, Mexico City's electronic music scene has yet to truly flourish.
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Episode
25:50
Real Scenes

E9: Detroit

Take a trip to the birthplace of techno.
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Episode
27:40
Real Scenes

E6: New York

As the birthplace of disco and hip-hop and the home of legendary nightclubs like the Paradise Garage, Limelight, and Twilo, the city has long been part of the cultural fabric.
Real Scenes LA
Episode
44:25
Real Scenes

E1: Los Angeles

Crisscross Los Angeles to hear different perspectives on mainstream vs. underground music culture and the resurgence of downtown.
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