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Audio: Jozi's New Neo-Jazz Band

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The Fridge is an up and coming neo-jazz ensemble from Johannesburg, South Africa, made up of Nigerian-born drummer Adebayo Omotade, bass guitarist Mothusi Thusi (son of a trombone player and a jazz singer) and vocalist Samthing Soweto (real name, Samkelo Ndolomba). The drummer and the guitarist had been jamming together for a minute before they hooked up with falsetto singer Samthing Soweto two years ago. Ade said he nervously walked up to the songwriter after watching him perform at a venue in Jo’burg and invited him to come along for a jam session. The rest, as they say, is history.

Bass, Drums and Sam is the trio’s debut EP. The 25-minute-long compilation, according to Ade, was recorded in a friend’s room “on his laptop using two dynamic mics.” Because of the size of the makeshift studio, each of the band members recorded their parts separately; beginning with Thusi on Bass and ending Sam on vocals. The result is an enjoyable five-track appetite-whetter; an interesting fusion of jazz with more urban music forms. “This amalgamation of these two sounds,” Ade says, “Is better known as urbanscape. It is exactly that, a subtle blend of jazz and more urban contemporary music.” Thematically, the compositions on this EP are rooted in the hustle and bustle of city-life in Johannesburg and it makes for delightful commentary.

Ade says that their musical “influences are cemented in the current neo-jazz movement. Jazzanova and Bonobo are good examples.” The trio is currently hard at work on their debut LP but in the meantime you can download Bass, Drums and Sam for free here.

Interview

Amadou & Mariam Forever

We talk to the legendary Malian duo about their rich past, songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities.

Amadou & Mariam don't require an introduction.

The couple has been making Afro-blues music for over 35 years, drawing inspiration from their home of Mali, for over 35 years.

Their 1999 albumSou Ni Tilé sold 100,000 copies. In 2005, their album Dimanche à Bamako won the French Victoire de la Musique prize for Best World Music Album of the year and the BBC Radio 3 Award for Africa. It also went platinum in France after selling over 300,000 copies. The duo have performed with U2, Coldplay, Blur and many others.

We caught up with them below for a conversation about their rich past, their songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities, ahead of the duo's performance at the upcoming London Jazz Festival 2021.

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