Building on a deep rooted tradition, they bring a modern funk infused voice that speaks on behalf of an Africa against the western view of imperishment.
Their music brings a rich voice in contradiction to the poor man it speaks on behalf of. In eleven languages the group of seven draw inspiration from indiginous music and create a new bass line heavy funk sound. The band revolts against accusations that African music lacks in change and is becoming bland, and uses heavy cultural influences, also refusing to entertain the thought of white-washing the African noise that the music builds on so strongly. Zithulele ‘Jovi’ Zabani Nkos’s lead vocals are strong, counterposed with Kgomotso Neo Mokone’s soft melodic female vocals. Letlhogonolo Atlarelang Maphunye’s whistling heard as an instrument itself adds to Thabo Saul ‘Luja’ Ngoepe’s backing vocals and bass drum. Daniel Thabo ‘Cheex’ Mangel is one of the few members of the group dedicated to one instrument, congas, accompanied by Ephraim Skhumbuzo Mahlangu on the bass drum. Mosebetsi Jan Nzimande plays the bass guitar that gives the music a melodic and distinct edge. The multiplicity of languages and talents within the group further their ability to create and experiment with their music.
Various inspiration of ritual songs, shebeen songs, and church music are merged with a rock guitar, percussion, and raps in a marriage of rock and roll. What is created is a sound that, though carries with it the past and traditional music, is something that speaks of today’s South Africa. The remnants of popular and familiar songs and chants are heard barely recognisable through the enginuity and contrast of the bands unique style, the balance of familiar and new tilts each way constantly. The disregard for rules whilst still using known formats gives the band a freedom to create and experiment, this can clearly be heard, there is a method to the madness, and it resolves and resolves itself again and again. This is the charm of their music, the feeling of being involved in the process, yet also being told a story, of experiencing something new being born over, and over again.
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The music, often 20 minutes long, develops onto itself and layers, with a steady heartbeat, vocals emerge of varying languages, tones, and rhythms. Together they combine to create a rhythm strung together by a heavy bass line that gets feet tapping. The music builds, fades away, and climaxes throughout, giving it a feeling of improvisation, with repetition and back-and-forth between the voices holding the structure together. The groups self titled “afropsychedelic” description perfectly describes the journey that the listener is taken on as the band plays.
The music created by BCUC is a unique familiar, though clearly rooted in culture, tradition, and history, it builds something new; though relating to issues felt by the unfortunate at times, it sings a song of hope, of change, of something beautiful in South Africa.
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