Interview: Chatting to African Rhythm ahead of Capital Craft Beer Fest 2018

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The Capital Craft Beer Festival is almost upon us – we spoke to African Rhythm ahead of the festival on 16 June.

You will be part of Capital Craft Beer Festival next month. What can festival goers expect from your set?

A bunch of young energetic people on stage serving great African Dance Rhythm, the music that we have termed #HealingPower created from non-electrical instruments such as cow bells, djembe drums, Marimba, shakers and soulful vocals.

Are there any particular beers you’re probably excited to try?

Yes! Soweto Gold. We are all looking forward to try this beer and hope it really reflects and tastes like real South West Township.

How do you usually prepare for live sets?

We rehearse 3 times a week and in those rehearsals new material is created. Our lead Choreographer, Jozi creates all the dance routines and gives direction on every performance. Our goal on every performance is to give the audience an experience they’d always remember.

Your performance schedule seems to be very busy. Which of your 2018 performances have stood out so far?

Mieliepop Festival stood out for us. We have never performed at that kind of festival. The audience sang and danced along, probably most of them did not even understand the lyrics of our songs but still sang along, isn’t what music is all about? We are happy to create music that brings people together, crosses over racial and cultural boundaries.

Which songs do you most enjoy playing live?

Badimo – a spiritual dance song that we created when doors of opportunities started opening up. Loosely translated to English, it means “Ancestors have acknowledged us”. Weekend Special – Our version of the Legendary Brenda Fassie’s song is a must play at every performance.

Your group seems to have a keen fashion sense. How do you decide which outfits will work best for gigs?

When you have great music and cool dance moves, you got dress up as well. Fashion has been part of our music from the days we started. Kutlwano and Nthabiseng are the only two ladies in our group and always makes sure that we look great when we go out. We don’t usually dress up the same but we like to have the same feel and style.Back then we couldn’t afford to buy our own clothes, we’ll take our parents and grandparents clothes and re-make them to suit us with a touch of youthfulness.

You recently covered Brenda Fassie’s “Weekend Special” live. What does this track mean to you?

We have performed Weekend Special quite a number of times and in fact it’s part of our playlist on every performance. We knew and understood what this song mean to many South Africans, but it was until we performed it in the streets of Gugulethu, Cape Town and a man approached us and told us it was the best version of the song he had ever heard. We didn’t know who he was until one of the people he was with said “Your sister Brenda would have loved this version of Weekend Special”. You can imagine our response when we learned it was Brenda Fassie’s brother, Themba Ndaba. We knew from then that we did justice to the songs. We are not just honoring the legend that was Brenda Fassie, but we have made her live beyond death.