Debut album for magnificent seven

08 September 2003
The seven-member band, freshlyground, comprising several UCT students and alumni, have released their debut album, Jika Jika, a compendium of music that reflects their elusive style; a blend of indigenous African folk mixed with jazz, reggae and dance hall music.

Formed only a year ago, the group has already notched up several triumphs and live performances, like the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert where they played to a crowd of 7 000.

They have a faithful local following who will no doubt lap up the opportunity to enjoy their music anytime, on disc.

It has been a brave venture. The album was recorded without financial backing from a record company or corporate sponsor.

The group's newest addition is Zolani Mahola, who simply stood up and sang her heart out at one of the band's first gigs before becoming the lead singer. Mahola is a UCT drama graduate who played the role of Boniswa in SABC1's drama series Tsha-tsha.

Josh Hawks is the bass guitarist and vocalist and hails back to 1990s bands The Steaks and Zap Dragons.

Multi-talented Aron Turest-Swartz plays keyboards, percussion and sings. He has composed original music for the past six years.

The band's violinist is Kyla-Rose Smith, a music graduate involved in outreach programmes. She travelled with the Vuyani Dance Theatre company to perform at Centre de la Dans in Paris, for which she co-wrote the music and performed as principal violinist.

A member of the Zimbabwe National Orchestra at 15, Simon Attwell won a scholarship to Chethams School of Music in Manchester. He also plays mbira and the harmonica.

Justin Tonkin is a self-taught guitarist and Peter Cohen is most remembered as Mango Groove's drummer. He also writes and performs for Bright Blue.

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