Sound Culture presents: Freshlyground
Over the past seven years, and across three acclaimed albums, it’s become increasingly hard o precisely pinpoint just one reason why Freshlyground is so universally adored.
Is it the magical combination of players? – Zolonia Mahola (lead voccals), Josh Hawks (bass), Seredeal Scheepers (keyboards, percussion), Kyla-Rose Smith (violin), Simon Attwell (flute, mbira, harmonica, sax), Julio Sigauque (guitars) and Peter Cohen (drums) together creating, as Time Magazine put it, a Benetton-esque lineup crossing cultural and age boundaries with ease.
Or is it the fact that the seven-piece has created a signature sound, most overtly rooted in Afro-pop but drawing on a head-spinning array of influences including soul, folk, kwassa-kwassa, and global dance – a sound that’s delivered some of South Africa’s most evergreen radio and dancefloor hits?
Maybe it’s the band’s legendary live shows which have been honed into something consistently special, driven by an infectious energy that no audience around the world has been able to resist?
Most likely, though, as any devoted Freshlyground fan (and there are many!) will tell you, it’s a combination of all of these things: for FG devotees, the magic lies in a band featuring excellent players who together write and record material that’s impossible not to embrace and then perform it live with the kind of energy that makes for lifelong memories.