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Ballantine’s teams up with Afrobeats DJ

Scotch whisky brand Ballantine’s, part of the Chivas Brothers portfolio, has announced True Music 10, which will see it collaborate with leading Nigerian record producer and DJ Sarz.

Marking a decade of its True Music platform, True Music 10 will see Ballantine’s and Boiler Room, club promoter and long-standing partner of the brand,  host a series of music pop-ups in the UK, Colombia and South Africa.

Since 2014, the True Music series has featured some 800 headliners from more than 30 countries.

Leading the celebrations this year will be Osabuohien Osaretin, who goes by the stage name Sarz. Known for his own work, including his 2019 SINYM (Sarz Is Not Your Mate) album, and his production work with artists including Lord of Ajasa and Niniola, Sarz is something of a leading figure in Nigerian music.

Sarz, who headlined the opening event of True Music 10 in Soho, London in early April, described the UK capital as “a city which has been such an important place for the Afrobeats scene to connect worldwide”, and said: “The True Music series has been a great platform to launch amazing new sounds into the world in recent years and we’re hoping to add to the legendary run with a crazy show, in an intimate space, surrounded by my friends and family.”

After this, there will then follow an extensive tour of South Africa, with shows in Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria, as well as the visit to Colombia.

According to the 2023 export figures from the Scotch Whisky Association, neither South Africa nor Colombia are in the top 10 markets for Scotch by value or volume. Indeed, according to the figures, the Scotch market in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has a 3% global share, actually declined in value by 21% to £162 million.

“Ballantine’s has maintained steady growth in South Africa over the past fiscal year (July 2022 – June 2023), and that combined with it being the location of one of our first ever shows, it seemed a natural fit to celebrate 10 years of True Music in the same place it began,” a spokesperson for the brand told db.

Tom Elton, head of culture and partnerships at Ballantine’s, said: “The evolution of True Music over the past decade has been remarkable. For 10 strong years, the platform has been committed to representing, supporting, and promoting inclusive music culture by celebrating pioneering local artists and communities from around the world on a global stage.”

“We believe in the power of staying true to yourself and doing things your own way,” he continued, “and over the years we are proud to have worked with some of the most exciting ‘Stay True’ artists, who are propelling music culture forward and making music for passion. Here’s to the next ten.”

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