Afro-Fusion At Its Finest
I am extremely glad World Music/CRASHarts brought Freshlyground, a multi-cultural band from (mostly) South Africa, back to Boston! The last time I was supposed to see them, they had visa issues which caused the show to be canceled. Two years was too long to wait for their triumphant return.
The first (and last) time I saw them, Zolani Mahola was pregnant and was not quite as colorful (figuratively speaking) as she was for this show at Brighton Music Hall. On this night, Freshlyground lit up the dark room with their fusion of traditional African rhythms, rock, pop, jazz, and folk. Please look at the photos in the gallery at the end to get a good idea of how incredible this band is.
Mahola is the lead singer and clearly the leader of this band. She commands the stage with her stunning vocals and vibrant clothing (and her bright red sparkly lipstick). On this night, she sported a bright red hat that appeared to be basketry; how it stayed on her head when she was particularly energetic, I have no idea. It remained on her head until she removed it very late in the show.
Mahola hails from South Africa, not only from the same city but the same high school as my friend who introduced me to Freshlyground! They discovered that when we were chatting after the show, and earned us each kisses and a hug. What warmth Mahola exudes!
The entire band is fabulous, and the members hail from South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Kyla-Rose Smith on violin and backing vocals; Simon Attwell on flute, saxophone, and harmonica; Peter Cohen on drums; Julio “Gugs” Sigauque on lead guitar (steel-string acoustic guitar); Josh Hawks on bass and backing vocals; and Seredeal “Shaggy” Scheepers on keys and backing vocals comprise the band.
Almost reluctantly, Mahola introduced their first hit and probably their biggest hit to date, ‘Doo Be Doo’. Yes, it’s a pop song but the beat is infectious and the audience could not help but smile as we swayed to the rhythm.
The members of the band clearly have great affection for one another, which is obvious from the way they perform.
This is one of those reviews that I am writing with some difficulty; I think the photographs do more to describe this show than any words can. There is so much energy emanating from the stage, and it infected each and every one of us in the audience (if anyone stood motionless without a smile on his/her face, I did not see them).
This band is a true African ambassador, showing the world that race, religion, gender, and economic status are immaterial. I hope to see them again in the near future and think it would be worth your while to see them if they are performing anywhere near you.
Federator N° 1 opened the show as they did in 2013. Based in Boston, they infuse African rhythms with reggae (or do they infuse reggae with African rhythms?) and are a fun band to watch.
This was one of the most enjoyable shows I have seen this year to date.
Posted on July 3, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Afro-Fusion music, Brighton Music Hall, concert photos, concert review, Federator No 1, Freshlyground, Josh Hawks, Julio Sigauque, Kyla-Rose Smith, music, Peter Cohen, Seredeal Scheepers, Simon Attwell, South African music, Zolani Mahola. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.