Sunday, August 22, 2010

Freshly Ground-Moto

Hello World. Leks here. After months of being MIA, we're back, and like Moo said, better than ever. We're really excited to start this thing off right, with 10 posts coming at you in 10 days. Other than Moo and I dropping songs from our travels and beyond, we have noted Professor, Author, and Hip Hop head Adam Bradley ( gracing these pages, along with an interview with up-and-coming Atlanta Rapper J.Nolan, and posts from the worldwide JamandaHalf family. This feels right, and I'm glad so many people are wanting to get involved in our growing crew. Welcome all.

This summer in South Africa, my three buddies and I rode the equivalent of the drive from Los Angeles to New York, and back, in our small, grey, Nissan Tiida. From Joburg to Bloemfontain, Cape Town to Kynsna, J Bay, Ixopo, Durban, Kruger, and many many more, we went on a 6-week long road trip disguised as a World Cup adventure. All the while we had ipod playlists going on our cheap Chinese FM Transmitter, sharing jams, some familiar, others not. Early in our trip we picked up a few cds to make the long hours on the road more bearable, and to give our ipods a breather. Hoping to catch some of the local South African music scene, we picked up second hand copies of three highly recommended local bands: Fokofpolisiekar (in Afrikans. Say it out loud), Springbok Nude Girls, and Freshlyground. The first two kept our “Best of Tibetan Monk Hymns” cd busy in the glove compartment; the third became a soundtrack to our trip.

Freshlyground is a band that makes beautiful, relevant music. A hodgepodge of modern South Africa, Freshlyground has members from SA itself as well as Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and is an eclectic mix of ethnicities and musical talent. Life South Africa itself, Freshlyground is both powerfully modern, yet tastefully traditional, melding in ageless South African hymns and choruses over a diverse medley of instruments from countless musical traditions. This can clearly be heard on the first track of their most recent album, Radio Africa,  “Moto.”

Moto starts off with a South African chorus which becomes a catchy hook that was permanently ingrained in our heads and sung endlessly throughout the country. Over a quick, but paced, melody, Zolani Mahola sings the tale of troubled love, of a chance encounter that led to something more, but a love whose future is uncertain. Zolani seamlessly weaves her complex voice with the backing guitar while allowing ample space for a banjo to sing itself with a dope solo. Freshlyground, like the country itself, is a bold experiment, and Radio Africa is a courageous album that deals with many issues that South Africa is facing today. No matter where in the beautiful country we were, six words were never far away. Enjoy and welcome back. Moto moto wayaka wayaka moto wayaka…..

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