Bacardi house pioneer DJ Spoko has passed away

DJ Spoko, the influential producer best-known for pioneering the Bacardi house genre, has died. A representative has confirmed the news.

The sad news began circulating on Twitter this afternoon (14 March), and the cause of death is currently not known.

Born Marvin Ramalepe, Spoko was raised in the rural town of Tzaneen in South Africa. After moving to the Atteridgeville township outside of Pretoria, he began producing music before travelling to Soweto to learn sound engineering under the guidance of Shangaan Electro’s Nozinja. In 2007, he worked with Mujava – his protégé – on breakout hit Township Funk. His distinct production style, dubbed Bacardi house, led to Spoko being one of the first SA house producers to make an impact beyond Africa, touring the world and releasing music on True Panther Sounds, Cómeme, Lit City Trax as well as his own Ghetto Boyz Entertainment.

In October 2015, the artist fell ill during his European tour, and received treatment for TB at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Artists, friends and affiliates have paid tribute to the pioneer online. Read them below.