Afro-fusion sounds, multilingual lyrics, post-apartheid multiracial South African music heroes… Freshlyground are a band of diverse African musicians based in Cape Town. The band members variously hail from South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.Freshlyground’s musical style blends elements of traditional South African music (such as kwela and African folk music), blues, jazz, and features of indie rock.
Jika Jika (2003)
Freshlyground released their debut album, Jika Jika, in early 2003. The commercial success of this album ultimately kick-started their career and re-affirmed their reputation as a fresh and vibrant young face in South African music. The much-needed exposure from the album resulted in an invitation for the band to perform at both the Harare International Festival of the Arts and the Robben Island African Festival. This album was remixed by Keith Farquharson, remastered by Chris Athens and re-released in 2008. They are best known for their performance Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) sung with Shakira which received worldwide recognition. The music video – featuring the group – also received over 1.14 billion views on YouTube.
in 2004, Freshlyground participated in the opening of Parliament of South Africa by perfoganised as a celebration of ten years of democracy in South Africa.
At the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Freshlyground performed with Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi.
The band went on to perform alongside local legend Miriam Makeba, as well as Stanley Clarke and Femi Kuti at the North Sea Jazz Festival, held during April in Cape Town. July also marked a break from the recording studio for the band, who had been working hard on their then unreleased album Nomvula. The band took this time to perform at the Villa Celimontana Festival in Rome, Italy.
Finally, in late 2004, Freshlyground released their very successful album, Nomvula. Although the uptake of the album was initially slow, it eventually went on to achieve double platinum status locally. Initial success was largely due to the catchy, feel-good, lyrics of Doo Be Doo, which enjoyed significant play on local radio, it also covered in Indonesian by singer Gita Gutawa. Follow-up hits included I’d like and the signature track Nomvula, the former achieving unprecedented success on radio charts such as the 5FM Top 40, where it remained at No. 1 for several weeks.
The album Ma’Cheri was released on 3 September 2007. The album was again produced by JB Arthur and Victor Masondo, engineered by David Langemann and was recorded in Cape Town. The first single is called Pot Belly followed by Fired Up and Desire.
Radio Africa (2010)
Freshlyground’s latest album Radio Africa was released in May 2010, and as part of the album release, they released a collaborative music video with the ZANews puppeteers. A satirical track about Robert Mugabe (Chicken to Change) has received coverage in the British media.
Cape Town Stadium Soccer Festival
On 23 January 2010, Freshlyground performed at the official inauguration game at the new Cape Town Stadium, where local Cape Town football clubs Ajax Cape Town and Santos played each other in a match decided on penalties.
2010 FIFA World Cup
A song by Colombian pop star Shakira and Freshlyground was the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The song, titled “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, is based on “Zangalewa”, a popular Makossa African soldiers’ song by Golden Sounds. “Zangalewa” was a hit single in Colombia in 1987. Shakira and Freshlyground performed the song at the pre-tournament kick-off concert in Soweto on 10 June.
The following July, the band also took part in the official handing-over ceremony, which took place in South Africa.
The Legend (2013)
“This album captures the emotion, the passion and the energy of our live performances,” explains violinist Kyla-Rose Smith adding, “our live concerts have always been at the bedrock of our popularity,” she says.