Heart, emotion and passion instead of pure functionality – these are Tama Sumo's DJ characteristics in a nutshell. She started out in 1993 at Drama bar in Berlin / Kreuzberg, one of the first bars to ever feature its own DJ at the weekend and an important hang out for the scene before going to the clubs.
Drama was one of the few venues at the time playing house music, when techno was dominating most of the other clubs and bars. Tama Sumo used to play a lot of New York style vocal house and quickly became a regular DJ behind the decks at the gay Saturdays at Café Moskau. In the beginning of 1994 she started playing regularly at the legendary Club Globus / Tresor and became a resident DJ for about 10 years at the club. She began to integrate different electronic music genres into her house sets, a mixture, she constantly improved on over the years and which still plays a significant role in her current sets.
Since 2001 Tama Sumo also played regularly at the Dance With The Aliens party at the old OstGut, Berghain's predecessor club, which eventually opened the door to a residency at the new Panorama Bar and Berghain shortly after the club opened. She developed a varied style ranging from House, Disco, Techno, a smidgen of Detroit Electro and Pop. “Music for me is something very subjective and I always attempt to approach it with my intuition and heart,“ Tama Sumo comments. “To be a DJ for me means to be in touch with the audience without words and to interact with the crowd and give them what they need whilst staying true to myself at the same time. It’s also fundamental to my work that I succeed at letting the music, the crowd, and myself run freely. I have to turn off my head and go with the flow. I love to create and play with different moods and atmospheres. And I’m still fascinated by the fact that music can release a huge amount of energy and fun.” At the beginning of 2008, she has released her first record. Both tracks, “Play Up” and “Brothers, Sisters” have been produced in collaboration with Prosumer and the record made the DJ Top 50 of German GROOVE Magazine. Tama Sumo also compiled and mixed the second Panorama Bar mix cd, released on Ostgut Ton in October 2009. Another release by Prosumer and Tama Sumo, “Alien Mutts”, was published end of 2009 on Diamonds and Pearls. She has since gone on to remix “William” by Mount Kimbie in 2010 alongside Prosumer. The same year both released their 2nd EP – Rarified – on Ostgut Ton.
In 2012 she remixed South Sudanese singer and activist Mary Boyoi's “Zooz” (Süd Electronic) and together with Lakuti and The Neighbourhood Character she formed Tarantism and remixed the Knife's “Ready To Lose” (Rabid Records, 2014). Not satisfied with remaining static as a DJ, Tama Sumo’s sets have developed to cover House, Techno, Jazz, Disco, Broken Beat, Soul, Funk, Afro Beat.
Lerato Khathi aka Lakuti grew up in Soweto, South Africa. She took a deep interest in music from a very young age, inspired by her mother’s impressive collection of Soul and Funk. Her grandfather also played a significant part in further nurturing her musical interest by schooling her in the art of Jazz. She inherited his jazz collection when he passed away and to this date has held onto every piece of vinyl from this collection. The biggest influence and inspiration was to come however with the first batch of Chicago house records.
Her first adventure onto a musical path came when she convinced an empty 100 capacity theatre in a then arty Yeoville – a suburb in Johannesburg, to let her use the space as a small club in the early 90′s, whilst embarking on a Law Degree. Planet Hendon was born which saw some of the best local talent play. Around the same period, she met Alan Abrahams aka Portable/Bodycode and collaborated with him on a few music projects. Some of those works were released on South African deep house label, Dj Syndicate.
Lakuti relocated to London in 1997, where she studied film and worked on various film related projects. She immediately looked into dedicating herself full time into music and looked at ways of achieving that goal. A breakthrough came when she met the legendary Earl Gateshead, the powerhouse behind the Trojan Soundsystem, who took her under his wing. They promoted a monthly Friday for about 1 year at the hugely influential underground hub Plastic People in London.
Lakuti also established and ran successful underground parties in London under the Süd banner. The events ran for 11 years until November 2011 and saw performances from artists such as Juan Atkins, Move D, Rick Wade, Dj Jus Ed, Boo Williams, Tama Sumo, Prosumer, Lawrence, Efdemin, Carsten Jost, Pantha Du Prince, Shed, and Daniel Bell. Lakuti established the Süd Electronic imprint with Portable aka Bodycode in October 2002 and Lakuti established Uzuri Recordings Nov 2007 to rave reviews and has since established The Uzuri Artist Bookings and Management agency.
Over the last year, Lakuti has played at clubs and events such as Fabric, The End, Plastic People, Corsica Studios, Herbal, Elektrowerks, Panorama Bar in Berlin, Rex Club in Paris, Silenco, Weetamix and Motel Campo in Geneva, Concrete in Paris, Dude Club in Milan, Gegen in Berlin, Prince Charles and About Blank also in Berlin, Bussey Building in London, Dalston Superstore also in London, Disco Volante in Brescia Italy, Bern Salonger in Stockholm, Cardboard Club in Gothenburg and many more clubs.
Lakuti has toured Brazil, has played at various art events as well, including at the opening party of the South African Pavillion at the Venice Biennale and has played and many festivals such as Glastonbury Festival, Dekmantel Festival and many more. She currently holds a residency at the cult festival Freerotation.
She has also collaborated with various artists on vocal duties. One such collaboration was a vocal track produced by Alan Abrahams under his Bodycode guise, titled, “Body to Body” which was released on Germany’s Yore Recordings. Another vocal contribution appeared on Bodycode’s second album for Spectral, released in 2009. A track titled “What Did You Say”, which was also released as a single on Spectral in March 2009, with a remix by Babyford.
Lakuti has also collaborated with Matias Aguayo on a track Called ‘Pata Pata’ released on Comeme. She has also collaborated with Tama Sumo and The Neighbourhood Character under the Tarantism name and remixed Swedish duo The Knife - a track called ‘Ready to Lose’ out on Rabid Record.
Lakuti has also programmed and curated some events in various cities within Europe such as Lisbon, London, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and her co-programmed Friday nights at Panorama Bar with Tama Sumo have been received positively.
2018 marks the most successful year for Lakuti so far, with more than 50 gigs throughout Europe to date, among those the prestigious CTM Festival Berlin, the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art: RIBOCA, Lovebox Festival London, Jardim Sonoro Festival Lisbon, Red Bull Music Academy's 30 Years of Techno Festival Berlin with her performance broadcasted live on Europe's most important culture television channel ARTE, TodaysArt Festival in The Hague, and Liverpool Disco Festival. Moreover Lakuti founded “Bring Down The Walls” with Tama Sumo, a new platform for music and education, which launched on the 19th September 2018, with a sold-out live show of house legend Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers in Berghain club Berlin.