By Nomali Cele
In all its post-94 phases, Johannesburg has had sounds, artists and venues that have defined the city. Who hasn’t wished for time travel capabilities to take in an evening show in the storied House of Tandoor on Rockey Street? With “Last Night at Bassline,” David Coplan and Óscar Gutiérrez tried to put the Bassline’s run in a portable time capsule for as much those who loved it as those who will never experience the venue.
With acts such as Kwani Experience, The Brother Moves On, BLK JKS and many more retreating from performing in the city – whether due to pursuing international avenues or disagreements in their ranks – it would have been easy to write off Johannesburg’s robust live performance scene. A scene that was wrought from the ground up for years in democratic South Africa, perhaps, one would argue, as a way to assert our new-found freedoms.
But all is not all is not lost in the Johannesburg live music scene. A new generation of young underground artists has risen in the past five years and they will share the stage at The Lyric Theatre for Bassline Live. The Muffinz, Bongeziwe Mabandla and Zuko Collective will come together for a powerful performance on one stage.
The Muffinz, who collectively self-describe as “not quite a boy band” but are mostly former choir boys, will perform music from their two studio albums “Have you Heard?” and “Do What You Love.” With a penchant for Kwaito, you never know what cover they might perform on the night.
Afropolitans who love music have their favourite Kaya 959 months. If you love Folktober, then Bongeziwe Mabandla is one artist you definitely want to see perform. With beautiful guitar work and moving lyrics, Bongeziwe Mabandla brings a millennial spin on afro-folk that stays true to his voice.
Zuko Collective (or ZUCO) is a music experiment led by lead vocalist and composer, Nozuko Mapoma. The lineup comprises. In their official descriptions, they call themselves a movement and music created in that spirit doesn’t always automatically resonate as a movement. But what the Zuko Collective band does hits right at the heart.
Come see these three acts whose work continues to contribute to keeping the iconic Johannesburg music scene alive and innovating it.