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Get Familiar With Sun Xa Experiment’s ‘Spiritual Ancestral’ Sound

The South African band's new single 'Bayede' from their upcoming album Umculo Umuthi is a good place to start.

Sun Xa Experiment is a South African group from Soweto. The septet is made up of Buyisiwe Njoko (lead vocals), Tebogo Mkhize (acoustic guitar), Lerato Seitei (electric guitar), Benedict Watte (percussion), Musa Zwane (bass), Siphiwe Mgidi (drums). They describe themselves as a band that "caters a spiritual ancestral sound that tells of stories of who we are as the global community without race, color or nation."

The crew says their music is part of a spiritual journey into self-discovery which connects their listeners to their ancestors, reminding them of who they are and where they are from as human beings.


In an interview with on SABC's Afternoon Express show in 2019, right before performing their latest single "Bayede," Buyisiwe broke down the meaning of the band's name:

"Sun Xa simply means 'the sun is out,' so we thought it's such a long name saying 'The Sun is Out Experiment,' so why not use the "xa"? You know, we must always remember that we are people of the south and South Africa is our home. We must always remember where we come from, hence we always tap back and say our music is ancestral."

"Bayede" runs for close to nine minutes and showcases most of what the band sell themselves as—spiritual vocals punctuated by ululations live in a psychedelic atmosphere of electric guitars and heavy percussion. The band's lyrics are in IsiZulu, SeSotho and English.

The term "bayede" is normally used to address a king or queen in some South African languages. "The single is the fourth song on the album, and it is an acknowledgement of who we are as kings and queens in a form of a greeting," say the band in a press release. "We say 'bayede' to each and every individual to acknowledge their power and ability. And also, to see each individual as a royal highness in their own right and or sense. Life would be a lot simpler and easier if we were able to see and praise one's greatness, no matter where they come from."

Sun Xa Experiment recently headlined the festivals Endless Daze and Smoking Dragon.

"As Sun-Xa Experiment we paint our bodies with paint every time we go on stage," says the band in an email to OkayAfrica. "It symbolizes a mark of a ritual that's about to take place on stage, the painting symbolizes our past lifetimes (ancestors) and the journey that has been walked before us. The painting patterns are different in all performances based on the energy on that day."

If you love music that evokes feeling and emotion in parts of you that you might have forgotten as the continent continues to get westernized, you will definitely love the music of Sun Xa Experiment.

Sun Xa Experiment has evolved, and in the last few years, they stumbled upon their current sound. "Initially we sounded like an avant-garde jazz band," Buyisiwe told the Mail & Guardian in an interview last year. "But then we lost a keyboardist and a saxophonist, which is when I ended up playing the vuvuzela."

The band will release an album in March. The project will be a follow-up to their 2017 two-track EP Ingoma. The album will be called Umculo Umuthi, which means "music is medicine."

Listen to "Bayede," the six-track album's first single, below:

Follow Sun Xa Experiment on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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