Playing a multitude of genres from South African House to Soca to UK Bass, Barang! is a club night which dubs itself “Global Adventures In Bass.” It is gaining a burgeoning reputation in the North of England for being a unique occasion, not just for the music but also for its atmosphere and that it features a pre-club three course dinner and cocktail evening, which not many club nights can boast of.
Joey Winson met with Jack and Komarine from the Barang! collective as they prepare for their one-year birthday at DINA on December 16th, to find out more about how this one-of-a-kind night came to fruition.
Sometimes fate has a canny knack of bringing people together with similar ideas and comparable tastes to eventually form a mighty project. Whilst Barang!’s home is in Sheffield, its origins were sown in Nottingham when the five people behind the night met and became friends.
Jack, originally from Exeter, organised nights in Nottingham at the underground club Blueprint, and now co-runs the Rebel Soul venue at Shambala Festival.
He said: “The nights I put on in Notts were fundraisers for social justice causes, I booked all sorts of bands and DJs of various genres and it was great fun. I started to DJ there as well as at the odd free party we would do.”
Komarine, originally from Birmingham, started DJing three years ago after being coaxed into playing some tunes at Rebel Soul, but she began organising free parties in the Peak District in the late 1990s.
She said: “I used to help my brother organise them and then found a real passion for carnival music when I joined a dance troupe in Nottingham. I play a lot of Soca which is carnival music from the Caribbean.”
Along with their friends Andy from Pretoria in South Africa, Pete from Long Eaton and Emma from London, they all moved to Sheffield where the idea for Barang! began.
“We wanted to do a night and it was obvious we would do it under the global bass umbrella,” said Komarine.
She added: “We went out looking for a place to potentially host it, and Jack gave us a call to say he’d found a perfect venue, which happened to be DINA!”
Jack said: “We all have a DIY background and like to do things in a DIY fashion, we have our own sound system and décor, and DINA really suited that.”
One thing that really stands out about Barang! is how the night begins early with a three-course veggie and vegan friendly dinner, but it is not just all about providing vital sustenance to those wanting to dance away well into the night.
Jack added: “We wanted to put people at ease. Eating together creates a collective experience which we hope translates into good vibes on the dancefloor.”
Back to the music, and one particular genre at Barang! which has really come to the fore in recent years is Gqom, a broken-down and raw variant of South African House, which originated in the townships around Durban. Although it is gaining considerable ground globally, Barang! is distinctive in showcasing it in the North of England.
Jack said: “Andy is the reason Gqom is at our night, he’s been DJing South African house for years. Most people who make this music are small time producers based in townships all over the country.
“Andy is in touch with people who produce Gqom and other kinds of dance music all over South Africa, sending him new stuff on WhatsApp, so what is being played at Barang! is coming directly from the source.”
Komarine has similar link-ups with producers in the Caribbean. She said: “The music we’re playing is fresh and straight out of there. Whilst some nights may just play African in one night, or Caribbean, we try and bring it all together, keeping in with the Global Adventures in Bass theme.”
Despite being just one-year-old, Barang! has already brought in some heavy hitters to headline so far, with sets from Afriquoi and also Brazilian veteran Maga Bo as part of his European tour. On December 16 it will be the exciting young talent Tash LC, who has residencies on the airwaves on Radar Radio and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM.
Jack said: “We’ve booked Tash as she a brilliant DJ, but we also wanted to have a woman as a headliner.
“We do have a list of people we want to book for future nights, but we also like to think it’s not wholly dependent on the headliner but that our residents and all the people who come and dance are who make it what it is.”
So, what are the future plans for Barang?
“Whilst we do like to go and play in other cities at other people’s parties as Barang DJs, we’re going to be keeping the night itself in Sheffield for the time being” said Komarine.
Jack added: “We like to foster an atmosphere of hassle free inclusivity and fun. We’ve been made to feel very welcome by Deborah and Malcolm at DINA and will be doing a night on March 17th and another in May or June.”
Barang’s first birthday party is on December 16th. Doors open at 7pm for the pre-club night dinner and cocktails evening, which must be booked in advance. With the party getting going around 10pm £12 for the dinner included, £5 for just the club night. For more details, visit facebook.com/barangsounds.