South African Afro-Fusion band Freshly Ground
Everyone danced to, hummed to or smiled at their song Doo Be Doo. And we all remember Vanish, and later on Chicken to Change. Shall we ever forget Fire Is Low with its dance-able tune? Well, Freshly Ground are back with a new album and this time round, they are Taking you to the Dance Floor!
It is injustice trying to compare ‘Take Me To The Dance’ with the previous albums by this magnificent group, since every album has come with the same style but the message and the music sounds so new to me, if not for the voices, one would swear it is a completely new group every time. The awesome Zolani Mahola opens the first song with her rich vocals, the song Chain Gang being a mix of English and Xhosa and Zulu. ‘When I woke up, there we flies around me, abanya bombo na nga la ngeya..’ The song is a little difficult to decipher if you aren’t South African or don’t understand their languages, but the music is easy to sway to. But maybe not, not the first song on the list inasmuch as I love it, finish that and move onto the next one.
The second song is my favourite. Everything describing how
‘everything I ever wanted was you…. everything I needed wasn’t you.’
It is heartbreak and a disappointment song, but forget the theme, will you just move with the music now? Even with the regret, you get to enjoy it, with the backup singers giving it a touch of emotion that endears it to the listener making it their own personal experience. There is the part where Zolani just hums the tune making this song so touching, and whoever did write it really had their poetry on point.
Are you in love with the strings? Julio “Gugs” Sigauque wows us in the third song with his guitar skills on Nomthandazo, a song I love entirely because of the instrumentals since I don’t understand a single word sang. But there’s that aspect of good music that makes language barriers break down, Nomthandazo achieves exactly this. There is spirituality in the music too, Nomthandazo means ‘mother of prayer.’ I’m not exactly sure, but my not-so-sure second favourite track is the duet between Zolani and Josh Hawks, Not too late for love.
A song combining simple instrumentals and centered on the chorus, to describe the lives and beliefs of the South African people, and the world, with every effort made to make it a sing along song. A beautiful song, with lines like ‘open up a bigger sky, it’s not too late for love,’ definitely the song you want to listen to with family.
The choice for the album title was definitely right, Take me to the Dance floor is a test for Zolani’s vocals. She urges her man to the dance floor, she’s not a child, she’s a lady, and she wants to see him on the move on the floor. You don’t want this song played if your moves aren’t right now, else she won’t be seeing you move, only fidget.
The message is a call to all the people. Track number ten on the list, it is an encouragement to them living under the bridges, them with land afraid of losing, them with a voice to sing in, that the world is theirs. I listen to it every time I feel low, the energy, the positivity is upraising.
This is a 14 track album with a single interlude. Released in late 2012, it is the kind of album you’d carry in your car and listen to over and over again if you got the CD. Freshlyground have delivered as per the standards set when they produced Jikajika and followed Radio Africa with an album just as good, probably better, even though I always remember chicken to change. The video to Take me to the Dance is already out, have a taste.
Review By Sanya Noel