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22 August 2008

UNMISTAKEABLE OTHERNESS

A review of this week's show at the legendary Whelans in Dublin...

In my shameful ignorance of African music I had no idea what to expect, but what I was greeted with was a complete surprise. It was incredibly dense music, constantly changing rhythm, tempo, language, mood and tone to create a whirlpool of sound. It defied all my preconceived notions of African music. It certainly sound like rock music, and there was also an obvious heavy western influence. Yet it also had a unmistakable otherness to it, an Africanness, something exciting, invigorating and alien.

It was a complete medley of genres. This was reflected even in their stage presence and stances. Linda Buthelezi, lead guitarist and vocalist, cut an angular figure, with violent punk poses and reckless thrashing, while to his left bassist Molefi Makananise seemed to be straight out of a seventies funk band. Contrastingly, rhythm guitarist Mpumi Mcata’s jumpy grooving completely suited his clipped reggae style, and at the back Tshepang Ramoba’s ecstatic drumming and solos put me in mind of a free jazz player. Yet although they all seemed to be from different bands and different genres, hell even different eras, they gelled, the music worked and it resulted in fantastic show.


Real talk via Analogue magazine.


Special thanks to Mark ChoiceCuts for putting on some great shows. And also to the dude on the street in Galway who taught us how to say "you're with two beautiful women" in Gaelic.


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