Audio

Your Soul Needs This Hypnotic New BCUC Album More Than You Know

The 'Emakhosini' consists of three songs and spans a whole 40 minutes. Get lost in it.

When I was growing up in Swaziland, every now and then, I would be exposed to sangomas and gatherings involving the honoring of the ancestors. I observed some rituals being performed. Those rituals involved a lot of signing, dancing, chanting, screaming, stomping of the ground and the sound of drums.

The music of BCUC, aka Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, the 7-piece "afro psychedelic" band from Soweto, reminds me of those ceremonies.


The singing contains the same eeriness. The bongo drums create an environment that makes even the faithless consider that maybe there's more to life than meets the eye.

Just like on their 2016 debut album, Our Truth, the band's latest album, Emakhosini, is hypnotic. It contains just three songs that are, on average, 15 minutes long each. Only the third song, which is the album's lead single, is the standard length at 3:25.

It takes a lot to make long songs long that feel short. And the songs on Emakhosini aren't just long for the sake of it. It's like a long form essay that boasts colorful details that you can't fit in a byte size piece. The songs on the album often feel like many songs preceding each other at times, but the ever-present bass guitar and percussions always tie them together.

The songs meander, contort, dip and peak; with extensive transitions in between that make all these changes make sense.

The music is highly spiritual in nature—"Nobody Knows" plays out like a Zion church hymn, and the chants and screams just remind me of church. It's the bongo drums and the rapping (if I may) that give it a twist.

The first two songs are like the soundtrack of the rituals and sessions I mentioned earlier. As the name of the album says, you are among your ancestors and kings.

Emakhosini will hypnotize you for a whole 40 minutes, and just like with most pieces of art that are highly spiritual, the effect will differ from one individual to another.

Interview

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.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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