Gig of the week - Afro alternatives

2015-01-28 11:09

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On Thursday night Best Alternative SAMA winner Nakhane Touré and SAMA nominee Bongeziwe Mabandla will be sharing a stage for the first time in their young careers.

The recently renovated basement of The Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein, a venue chosen for its eclectic mix of people, will host the live performances.

#Trending sat down with the pair to chat about the project and their plans for the future.

Touré soared into the music scene with his debut album Brave Confusion in 2013. The album is punctuated by searing vocals, experimental synth sounds, traditional African rhythms, 60s soul and 70s jazz influences.

Mabandla has created a unique Afro-folk sound, over which his soulful voice delivers in both Xhosa and English.

“We have a similar background,” said Touré, “the similarity of our music is what makes the most sense with this project ... We thought how cool it would be if we shared the bill.”

Touré was born in Alice in the Eastern Cape and raised predominately in Port Elizabeth, and Mabandla was born in Tsolo, a rural town.

How this project started is the most surprising part of our conversation. The two wanted to create a space where artists can come together and share their craft no matter what musical style they’re pursuing. The artists essentially want to allow the cross pollination of both music and fans.

Asked what the audience can expect from the live show, Touré said: “I’ve always treated studio and performance differently. When I start working on a song, I work them pretty much in the context of acoustic, but for performance I elevate them. Thursday will not be acoustic; I work a lot more with electric guitar and keys.”

A less chatty Mabandla told #Trending that his act will be true to himself and the music. “I’m trying to bring honesty to the performance,” he said.

Touré admits that the hardest part of putting together the show is the element of expectation and polishing the performance to its finest. “Planning it in your head is the easy part, it all goes down so perfectly but once you get on that stage it’s a different story. You work hard and polish it because you want to be good at what you do.”

Fans of the duo can look forward to solo albums from both stars this year. Mabandla is hard at work on his putting together his second album, all the while playing gigs across South Africa. Touré plans to release an EP this Easter and his second full-length album by August.

* Catch the artists live on Thursday January 29 at The Bannister Hotel (9 De Beer Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg) at 8pm. Tickets are R80 at the door

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