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True Music

Representing local  communities

Boiler Room x Ballantines
ballantines boiler room standing for true music new aspect ratio 16 9

True Music is not about genre. Not about fame. It’s here to represent and celebrate music communities, and the people that make them thrive.

From Perreo scene in Spain, to Gengetone in Kenya, or Reggaeton in Colombia. 2019 saw us embark on our biggest True Music tour (that’s still going on today), travelling the world to discover the headliners of the future.  If there’s a banging local scene shaking up the music-sphere, we’re there broadcasting the sounds of tomorrow to the world.

Thumping Techno in Krakow

Krakow is fast turning into the pulse of modern Polish music. We spent some time with the major players in this small-knit community to get under the skin of what’s happening on and off the dance floor.


The problem in Poland was simple. Students- the cool young things strapped for cash. Tourists – there for a good time, but preferring mainstream bars and pubs over underground clubs. The result? An exciting but struggling music scene. Underground nights were abandoning the exciting local acts in fear of turning away crowds, but at the same time couldn’t afford to keep booking international artists.

Enter Ballantine’s and Boiler Room. In a bid to start breaking this pattern, we partnered with local club bookers to create the True Music Showcase-  a free to attend music night that aimed to shine a spotlight on homegrown talent, alongside several bigger international artists. As Ballantine’s was pouring the Techno was thumping, and the dancefloor? Packed and bouncing with stratospheric energy.

Line up included: Private Press, Olivia, SHXCXCHCXSH, Martyn & Fjaak

Perreo explosion in Madrid

We touched down in Madrid to celebrate the local explosion of perreo with a roster full of energy and a blazing selection of sounds.

ballantines true music chica gang madrid

If there’s one piece of advice we can give you, it’s to get yourself acquainted with Perreo. Stat. A new music scene taking over speakers across Latin America and Spain subverts the historically male-dominated culture of reggaeton by reinterpreting the frantic beats and injecting a blend of techno, trap, and jazz.

In June 2019 we presented a hot list of local and international artists to showcase the new hybrid wave of genres reinforced by Madrid’s perreo pioneers.

We also brought together key figures from the perreo community to discover the realities and opportunities within the scene; exploring the music culture in Madrid, the renegotiation and recovery of genres such as reggaeton and the nature of local collaborative styles.

Line up: Rico Nasty, Kaydy Cain, Steve Lean, Asmara, Chica Gang, Clara! and King Doudou


The next stop of the tour saw us back in our favourite party city: Johannesburg.


Known for its vibrant musical history, from soul and jazz in the 60s, to kwaito and house in the 90s all the way to today; South Africa is home to a myriad of thriving underground sounds. In the usual Ballantine’s x Boiler Room style, we collaborated with local innovators to co-curate line-ups that featured emerging and established artists, shining a spotlight on their talent and sharing them with the world.

Line up: Sho Madjozi, Busiswa, Stiff Pap, Doowap, Lelowhatsgood, Queezy

Ballantine’s Finest

ballantine's finest bottle


For the first time ever our global Boiler Room x Ballantine’s landed in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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What a rave new world Kiev was for us. A city filled with powerful, passionate and diverse artists, that currently finds itself a hotbed of the thriving Eastern European underground scene. The perfect place for a True Music event.

Featuring local artists expressing themselves through their own unique distinctive sounds, our True Music partnership showcased the very best of these up and coming Ukrainian scenes.

Line up: Etapp Kyle, Jana Woodstock, Spekulant, Poly Chain, Shakolin, Tofudgj



True Music returned to Nairobi for a special Boiler Room x Ballantine’s global broadcast, celebrating one of the most exciting emerging music scenes in Kenya; Gengetone.

A genre with roots in Kenyan genge-rap, dancehall and reggaeton characterised by its Swahili slang – ‘sheng’ – lyrics.

Boiler room Ballantine's true music nairobi

Cape Town saw us getting down with the best Afrobeats sound. Douala had our hips shaking from dusk till dawn. Accra had us bouncing all night to the best sounds Ghana’s local scene had to offer. And then, there was Nairobi with the wild sounds of Gengetone.

Since the genre’s beginnings in 2018, the rise of Gengetone has seen a resurgence of support for homegrown music. Gengetone is largely banned on Kenyan radio but despite this, the scene has grown organically from the pure grassroots passion of the local sound innovators. This new wave of artists is attracting huge audiences across the country; using social media, the local club scene and local party mini-buses (matatus) to spread the word.

True Music Nairobi featured some of the scene’s most exciting up and coming artists and more established acts.

Line up: Femi One, Ochungulo Family, DJ Lyta, Boondocks Gang, DJ Kalonje, Rico Gang and DJ Tryce.


We celebrated the most vital artists in the blossoming Reggaeton scene with a debut broadcast out of Colombia.


We’ll admit it. Our Perreo showcase back in 2018 really lit a fire in our bellies. So a year after our iconic Madrid showcase, we went further down the dancehall vibes to the root of Reggaeton in Colombia.

Dancehall. Salsa. Good ol’ rock and roll. Each of these genres have uniquely influenced one of Colombia’s greatest musical exports, and Bogota as the epicentre of the Reggaeton Latino urbano sounds, with the Puerto Rican-rooted diaspora paving the way for the rise of Reggaeton in a new guise spreading through the local music events.

In Bogota, Reggaeton is mixed with electronic synths and Guaracha sounds, a Colombian tribal house born out of the underground, to create a genre-defying soundtrack for socially transgressive parties.

Line up: DJ Pope, YNFYNYT Scroll, Paquita Gallego, DJ Pony, DJ Playero, Ha$lopablito, Ghetto Kumbé

True Music

True Music

True Music is here to represent and celebrate music communities, and the people that make them thrive. Giving a stage to the most exciting emerging talent.

Find out more
ballantines boiler room true music africa ghana 2
True Music

Boiler Room

Over the last ten years we’ve partnered with Boiler Room, the world’s biggest broadcaster of new underground music, with a simple mission – showcase & celebrate the most credible music scenes & stories from around the world.

Find out more