Audio

Audio: The Brother Moves On


“This is where he died” says Siyabonga Mthembu, lead vocalist of the South African funk-rock collective The Brother Moves On. The performance-art group made a quick stopover in Cape Town to promote their debut EP The Golden Wake.  And on this particular night, their first outing, it’s a decidedly sombre affair. “He didn’t mean to die,” Mthembu says, “nobody means to die. You just do”.

The departed is Mr Gold waseGoli; an Everyman from the hinterland of South Africa who travels to Johannesburg in search of ‘gold’.  The Brother’s six-track concept EP is an elegy for the deceased; speaking to both his ancestors and descendants.

Likewise, the genre-bending sound of the collective is as much about looking to the past – with nods to Busi Mhlongo, Phuzekhemisi, and Philip Tabane – as it is about making new discoveries. “We have a difficulty describing what our music is,” Siyabonga says before rattling of a list of experimental urban black bands emerging on the Jo’burg music scene: The Fridge, Meat the Veggies, Planet Lindela, Future History and others.  “It’s South African” guitarist Zelizwe Mthembu says, summing up the debate.

Whichever coat fits, underlying the artistic enterprise of The Brother Moves On is, as Siyabonga says, a search “for an alternate relationship to being South African, to being black, to being from this space and time”.

The evening ends with a performance of the EP’s last song "Wenu Wetla" Stretching well over ten minutes, the song is a prayer; “it’s saying I’m lost in a sea of languages and I don’t understand shit anymore. And how many of us really feel like that?”

You can download the Golden Wake EP for free here.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.