Thursday, July 9, 2009

South Africa’s hugely popular Freshlyground make their Northampton debut at the Iron Horse on Monday, July 20th at 7PM

In South Africa, audiences of every race cram in to see them. Old people get up and dance. Hip black teenagers sing to their lyrics. White kids emulate their moves. The very presence of this band in South Africa is the promise of a harmonious future. But they don't sit still for the picture. Freshlyground adds violin and flute to the familiar band instrumentation of bass, drums, keys and guitar, and sometimes throws in the mbira, a traditional African 'thumb piano' and sax. So typical of African groups, their dance routines are loosely choreographed to allow space for spontaneity, which comes with live-wire energy. "Forget about your destiny, get off your feet and live!" the lead singer Zolani sings, and she knows exactly how to make an audience go wild. Freshlyground draws crowds as they go, making surprisingly good impressions, remarkably large impacts. That's what they've done all along. Bridged historical divides, defied musical stereotypes. And it's about time an Afro-pop band took some of Africa's magical music to the world. It's about time.

Our friend and AIDS activist Steven Kallaugher runs the Young Heroes Foundation. He tipped us to the band. “I learned that Freshlyground, the best and probably biggest band in South Africa, was making their American debut with a few shows -- including the Nelson Mandela concert at Madison Square Garden. Figuring that nothing ventured, etc., I suggested to the promoters at the Iron Horse that they should book them. Lo and behold: Freshlyground right here in Northampton, MA on Monday, July 20 at 7PM! The last time I saw them, they were headlining the Bush Fire Festival for Young Heroes. The time before that, the audience wouldn't let them off the stage until they'd done six encores.” (GET TICKETS HERE)

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