The sharp new sounds of Soweto

South African music is being redefined and BCUC are the band giving it the overhaul. While retaining certain very identifiable elements, this seven-piece from Soweto (the acronym stands for Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness) delight in charting new waters. Take their re-rub of the old standard No-one Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen. At first, the group harmonies suggest a faithful and straight reading, but we’re quickly diverted into more interesting territory, as sharp raps and gospel shrieks take us somewhere else entirely. The post-apartheid music scene hasn’t always produced sounds as vital and edgy as they were prior to Mandela’s ascension to the presidency, but BCUC is on a mission to shake things up with the sound they variously describe as ‘afropsychedelic’ and ‘africangungungu’. As Robin Denselow observed in The Guardian, “those who fear that South African music is becoming too bland or dominated by US influences, should take heart”.

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