Freshlyground
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Freshlyground

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"The Practice Room"

In the United States we have come to see interracial bands as no big deal. It has taken us a while; Benny Goodman caused controversy in 1935 by playing on stage with pianist Teddy Wilson, and later with Lionel Hampton and Charlie Christian. It may seem like that was a million years ago, but in fact most of us know people who were alive when it happened. But these days, when white and black musicians perform together it’s hardly worth mentioning.

When it happens in South Africa, though, it’s still worth mentioning. Apartheid ended only nine years ago, and a truly integrated society is probably decades in the future. That’s why, according to Craig Timberg in the Washington Post, the success of the seven-piece Afro pop band Freshlyground is so interesting: “The racial mix of Freshlyground would draw little notice in Europe or the United States. But in a South Africa still struggling to unite its fractured population after centuries of rigid discrimination, the band has become a sensation, drawing audiences in both traditionally black venues and traditionally white ones.

“…South Africa remains a country where, despite the end of legal segregation in 1994, blacks and whites live mostly separate lives. Cultural expressions -- music, dance, theater, books, food, sports, TV programs, churches -- continue to be seen as either black or white. Despite some progress, the society remains much as the architects of apartheid, which means "separate" in Afrikaans, intended.”

Social impact aside, Freshlyground plays infectious, danceable music; it’s easy to understand why audiences are eating them up. They’ve expanded the typical band instrumentation by adding flute and violin to the more familiar bass, drums, keys and guitar; singer Zolani Mahola floats over it all.
- John Ross


"Cape Etc magazine"

Weird stuff happens at Freshlyground gigs. Strangers smile at each other. Old people get up and dance. Cool teenagers sing the chorus lines. I know, I know... it sounds a bit like one of those rainbow nation advertisements for banking or beer. But the band really does have that kind of effect. It pulls people together.
In a country that used to be characterised by division, this is no small feat. In the past, there were few South African acts that managed to blur musical and social boundaries — Mango Groove and Juluka are probably the best known, although they operated in a different context, their cross-cultural compositions poking a defiant "up-yours" at the apartheid authorities…
…Diplomatic, democratic, and dangerously infectious, Freshlyground are the genuine thing. It's no wonder their audiences are so damn nice!
- Karen Rutter


"Music Industry Online"

Here is a band with the diversity of their nation built into their every note. Nomvula sounds like the soundtrack to a distinctly South African experience, at times brimming with youthful exuberance and happiness, but not without a certain amount of solemn introspection. This lends the album a sense of real depth. One feels that the separate experiences and moods of a nation have been drawn together and articulated; not at all homogenised or depreciated, but rather held up and celebrated in a spontaneous expression of positive energy. - Matthew Christensen


Discography

Jiki Jika 2003
Nomvula 2004
Ma´Cheri 2007

Photos

Bio

South Africa´s most popular group of today ...

... after beeing voted and awarded as "Best Band" (Metro FM Award) by the South African African audience just recently the news of today are even more sensational:

Freshlyground got seven nominations for the SAMA awards !This is a record breaking number - here are the categories:
Record of the Year- Pot Belly
Album of the Year- Ma Cheri
Artist of the Year-Freshlyground
Best Adult Contemporary Album -English - Ma Cheri
Best Video-Pot Belly, Mark Hofmeyer and Gwydion Benton
Best engineered album- Ma Cheri Dave Langemann
Best produced album- JB Arthur Victor Masondo

We invite every promoter that did not contact us so far to do so soonest and make sure not to miss the chance to book this outstanding band on their European tour 2008

Highligths 2006/2007: support act for Robbie Williams in Durban, Pretoria and Capetwon and support for the Oscar movie „Tsotsi“ on the filmfestival in Cannes. The South African Football Association chooses Freshlyground as cultural embassador for the 2010 fifa world cup. Doo Be Doo enters the charts in Italy. Freshlyground receives the "European Music Award / MTV" as "Best African Act 2006". Touring Europe - highlights are their concerts with B.B. King and festivals like Africa Festival Wuerzburg. Nomvula reaches 5 times platinum sales (meanhwile 6 times) and Do Be Do becomes the most played single in South Africa !

FG BIO
2002 foundation of Freshlyground.

2003 release "Jika Jika" & concerts in South Africa and Zimbabwe (i.e. Harare International Festival of Art and Robben Island African Festival).

2004 numerous concerts including North Sea Jazz Festival, Villa Festival Rom and concert together with Oliver Mutukudzi in Harare plus concert for Thabo Mbeki at the openingening ceremony of the parliament. Release of the second album, "Nomvula" (in corporation with Sony/BMG).

2005 opening concert for the EXPO 2005 in Japan as well as concerts in Europe and Africa. Various TV appearances. The video of their hit single "Doo Be Doo" is released and until December 2005 more than 100.000 CDs of their album "Nomvula" are sold in South Africa and the second CD reaches double platinum status. 2006 appearance at Midem and concerts as opening act for Robbie Williams in Durban, Pretoria and Capetown in front of more than 50.000 people each concert. After that tour another 100.000 copies of Nomvula can be sold and the album reaches 4-times platinum status! Support for the Oscar-award winning movie "Tsotsi" at the Filmfestival in Cannes. Release of "Nomvula" in London and the remix of "Doo Be Doo" as a maxi-single.

The South African Football Association chooses Freshlyground as their cultural embassadors for the Fifa World Cup in South Africa 2010. During the Fifa Wolrd Cup 2006 they perform together with Johnny Clegg and other acts in Cologne at "Africa is Calling". An extended tour in the UK follows and some concerts in Italy. In fall the album "Nomvula" is released all over Europe. Additional travels to Europe accompany the release - highlights are the performances as opening act for B.B. King in Paris and in the Shepherds Bush in London. "Doo Be Doo" enters the TOP 40-Charts in Italy. In November Justin Timberlake hands over the "European Music Award / MTV as "Best African Act 2006" to Freshlyground. They start to work on album number 3.2007 more concerts including a performance at the Africa Festival Wuerzburg. The album "Nomvula" reaches six times platinum status... "Do Be Doo" is the most played single in South Africa. Shortly after releasing the third album "Ma Chéri", it reaches platinum status.FG voted & awarded as "Best Band" by the South African audience (Metro FM Award). More highlights on the new promotion DVD of Freshlyground.