New Africa Rock

Urban Creep – Based in Durban, on the sub-tropical east coast, this 4-piece band is fronted by two singer/songwriters, Brendan Jury (viola & keyboards) and Chris Letcher (guitar & keyboards). Aside from their rock-based roots, the band draws inspiration from local mbaqanga, goema and marabi rhythms. The highlighted track, Sea Level, about hometown Durban, features a gumboot dance intro plus a solo section. (The Gumboot dance is a rhythmic combination of stamping and slapping of gumboots originated by migrant mineworkers.) The Creep has created an impressive stir in local media considering the band is only a year and a half old. These four songs are taken from their debut album.

The Sunshines – Award-winning 3-piece power pop. Catchy melodies are rendered immaculately by talented singer/bassist Tanya Wilson. Moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg at the end of ’94 to begin work on their debut album, represented here by three tracks.

Lesego Rampolokeng – Arguably the best young South African poet of his generation. Inspired by disparate sources, from African oral traditions to the Beat poets, Lesego delivers his unusual creations with a voice beaming directly to you from the Heart of Darkness itself. On record, he collaborates with The Kalahari Surfers, a renowned agitprop band that attracted the anger of the government in the dark days of South Africa’s recent past. Together they create contemporary music, and spoken word on sample soundscapes.

Robin Auld – These three cuts are taken from Auld’s surf rock release, Zen Surfing in the 3rd World. There’s a West Coast in South Africa too, you know, and here is what it sounds like. A native of Cape Town, Robin has been a champion surfer (that’s him in the video) and a champion performer with a handful of local number-ones from previous albums. This album finds his sound pared down to a tight 3 piece economy, an effective vehicle for his fluid guitar playing and singing.

Jennifer Ferguson – South Africa’s number one female singer/songwriter is featured here with a new recording of an old favourite plus the first recording from her new album. Jennifer has recorded two previous albums, Hand Around the Heart and Untimely, both of which were released to glowing reviews. She was a member of parliament for the ANC in South Africa’s first fully representative government but has still found time to write the material for what looks set to be her most accomplished album to date. Born in Ermelo, eastern Transvaal, raised in suburban Johannesburg and schooled in theatre and the gruelling cabaret circuit.

James Phillips & The Lurchers – Stalwarts of the local rock scene, JP & the Lurchers pumped out a distinctive South African rock sound for close to a decade. Prior to this, James led the influential Corporal Punishment from the late seventies into the early eighties brandishing revolutionary punk-flavoured songs like Brain Damage and Darky’s gonna get you. These three tracks are taken from their 1994 album “Sunny Skies”.

Matthew van der Want – New kid on the folk block. The interest here is the combination of his menacing and often disturbing lyrics and the psychotic intensity of his delivery. In solo performances, man & guitar, he creates an enveloping and powerful aura. We hear him with a band for the first time on these recordings which are included on his debut album. Johannesburg born and bred, these are the sounds of the spiritually oppressive southern suburbs.