Skip to main content

CD Release & U.S. Tour: South Africa's Freshly Ground in New York City March 16 2013

From a media release:

CD Release & U.S. Tour
Pushing the Boundaries: Freshlyground’s Catchy Global Pop Inverts the Remix and Expands Sonic Horizons on
Take Me to the Dance (Word Of Mouth Music)

Live at the Apollo Theater, Harlem - New York City March 16, 2013 (Part of the Africa Now Celebration)
• Other U.S. Dates listed below

From the hot banter of a late-night radio DJ (“Mina noBhiza”) to the blistering bass of kwaito house (“Nomthandazo”), from American country-inspired harmonies to urbane beats, South Africa’s Freshlyground welcome it all. From wildly diverse raw sonic materials, the band crafts catchy, danceable songs that shimmer with layers of guitar, rich strings, and multipart harmonies on Take Me to the Dance (Wommusic; March 12, 2013), produced by Steve Berlin.

Wry and sensual, deeply personal yet taking on political complexity, the music of this seven-member collective has finally embraced every sound the band loves. “We opened up our sound with this record, really tapped into something else and spread our wings a little bit,” recalls violinist Kayla-Rose Smith. “We captured diversity of the band, and found a more global, cosmopolitan feel, while keeping a common thread running through the record.”

Some of the band’s signature elements—outspoken, vivid lyrics; sparkling afropop guitar; irrepressible grooves—unite songs that dance from club anthems (“Take Me to the Dance”) to delightfully quirky Xhosa/Afrikaans rockers (“Party Time”). The band’s looser, upbeat jams have tightened up, finding a taut energy that pushes at but never violates the boundaries of a damn fine pop song.

This energy bursts out of Take Me to the Dance, and will be in full effect at Freshlyground’s live shows, which American audiences in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Northampton MA, and Burlington VT will get to savor this March 2013.

Caught in South Africa’s remote, arid Karoo region, camped out in a small local theater, Freshlyground threw caution to the wind and simply got into the groove. Guided by the low-key, spot-on advice of veteran rock producer and Los Lobos keyboardist and saxophonist Steve Berlin, the band got to places in the studio they’d never quite managed before.

Known for their collaboration with Shakira (the infamous World Cup anthem “Waka Waka”), Freshlyground came together in the bohemian Cape Town music scene, made up of players from different ethnic and musical backgrounds and of different generations. Fronted by a dynamic, big-voiced singer and lyricist of Xhosa heritage, the band hails from across Southern Africa and incorporates instruments that rarely take the lead in pop configurations.

“We’ve always been different from other bands, in part because we have the flute and violin as mainstays,” notes the Zimbabwe-born, classically trained Simon Attwell, who plays flute and mbira (thumb piano) in the group. “That’s always been integral to what we’re about and what people enjoyed: the mix of different influences and instruments.”

But the band’s freewheeling, democratic approach need an injection of new energy. Turning away from their usual open-ended jam sessions, the band had worked separately on material, cutting rough demo tracks on home computers, or working out parts by sending files back and forth. Hunks of this gritty, sometimes lo-fi material made it into Take Me to the Dance’s finished track, adding a fresh dimension to the band’s sounds.

“Some of the songs were in almost finished form, but the setting influenced what came out,” explains lead singer Zolani Mahola. “Even though there was time pressure, there was also a feeling of this generosity of space. It informed the recording. It’s not a tangible thing, but it really lent the whole process an ease that shows.”

The process was eased by Berlin, who flew down to South Africa for a few weeks to record. His guidance proved vital to getting the record done. “Democracy, even with only seven people, is cumbersome, and we needed him to put his foot down, as someone we respected,” says drummer Peter Cohen with a laugh. “We might have needed two years if left to our normal ways.

“With a band of seven brilliant musicians, sometimes you really just need an arbiter who doesn’t have a stake in the game, who doesn’t have an emotional history tied up in the proceedings,” Berlin reflects. “It wasn’t so much a fresh approach, but another voice, someone who wasn’t part of the band.”

Yet Berlin did encourage experimentation that proved both fruitful and fun. “When we were trying to record ‘Party Time,’ we were all in the control room discussing it with Steve and talking about how we’re going to do it. While we did, we started jamming. Peter was playing a box and Simon took up the ukulele. Steve thought it sounded great, so we recorded it, right there.”

“We wanted to make that song work, but we couldn’t really find the way,” Cohen notes. “Steve had us just try it, so casually, and it finally clicked.”

They also tried an innovative approach to collaborating with a dancefloor DJ, South African DJ Headroom, known for his trance tracks. Instead of sending a finished set of tracks for Headroom to remix, the band opted for something different, that lends songs like “Take Me to the Dance” their distinct balance of organic and electronic.

“The band decided we should just send Headroom demos, the cool and not always finished ideas they had,” explains Berlin. “He would send it back to us and we would make songs from the building blocks he had treated. That made it much closer to what the band is. It was a remix inverted.” By turning things on their head, Freshlyground has pushed the boundaries of global pop.

Freshlyground 2013 US Tour
March 16, Sat, New York, NY Apollo Theatre
March 17, Sun, Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
March 19, Tue, Northampton, MA Iron Horse
March 20, Wed, Burlington, VT Higher Ground
March 22, Fri, Philadelphia, PA World Café


  1. I was always a fan of songs with beautiful vocals, and a chill/lounge feel so part of me is ashamed I haven't heard this earlier. Especially when I consider how much I like vocal trance songs, and both the vocals and lyrics fit perfectly with that genre even if the music is a little diferent. An amazing song nonetheless, will definitely add it to my chill playlist at home.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

NU MUSES 2017 Luxurious Fine Art Nude Calendar Now Available

From a media release:

NU MUSES 2017 Luxurious Fine Art Nude Calendar Now Available
24 Fine Art Prints from Celebrated Photographer David Bellemere Available In Three Limited Edition NU MUSES 2017 Calendar Packages

“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment” -Michelangelo

Buy the collections
Check them out at Art Basel, Miami - December 1-4, 2016

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – November 22nd, 2016 – NU MUSES, the luxurious 2017 fine art nude calendar, is now available to purchase in three unique limited edition collectors packages. Drawing inspiration from the Pirelli calendar of the 1970s, NU MUSES is set to celebrate the forgotten art of the classic nude and capture the elegance and romance of the female form.

The NU MUSES limited edition art piece is a sublime collectable calendar, featuring nude photographs of 12 of the world’s most stunning models, captured by famed photographer David…

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …