Freshlyground Biography

Freshlyground is a South African Afro-fusion band that was formed in Cape Town in 2002. The band members are from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Stylistically, Freshlyground incorporates elements of traditional South African music (such as kwela and African folk), blues and jazz, as well as features of indie rock. The lead singer is Zolani Mahola whose distinctive voice contributes much to the band's unique sound.

Freshlyground launched their debut album, Jika Jika, in early 2003. The great success of this album ultimately kick-started their career and re-affirmed their reputation as a fresh and vibrant young face in South African music. The much-needed exposure from the album resulted in an invitation for the band to perform at both the Harare International Festival of the Arts and the Robben Island African Festival.

Early in 2004, Freshlyground participated in the opening of Parliament of South Africa by performing before President Thabo Mbeki in an event organised as a celebration of ten years of democracy in South Africa.

At the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Freshlyground performed with Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi, who is also renowned for his diverse blending of different African music genres.

The band went on to perform alongside local legends Miriam Makeba, Stanley Clarke and Femi Kuti at the North Sea Jazz Festival, held during April in Cape Town. July also marked a break from the recording studio for the band, who had been working hard on their then unreleased album Nomvula. The band took this time to perform at the Villa Celimontana Festival in Rome, Italy.

Finally, in late 2004, Freshlyground released their very successful album, Nomvula. Although the uptake of the album was initially slow, it eventually went on to achieve double platinum status locally. Initial success was largely due to the catchy, feel-good, lyrics of Doo Be Doo, which enjoyed significant play on local radio, it also covered in Indonesian by singer Gita Gutawa. Follow-up hits included I'd like and the signature track Nomvula, the former achieving unprecedented success on radio charts such as the 5FM Top 40, where it remained at No. 1 for several weeks.

Freshlyground's latest album Ma' Cheri was released on September 3, 2007. The album again was produced by JB Arthur and Victor Masondo, and was recorded in Cape Town. The first single is called Potbelly followed by Fired Up and Desire.

Freshlyground completed a national tour in May, with their performance at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (Cape Town) being one of the most notable events. They will be performing at various venues in the United Kingdom during June and July before moving onto Germany and Belgium in August. After a short break in this tour, they will come back to Europe in September for performances in The Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, France and Italy.

In July 2006, Freshlyground took part in the official handing over ceremony for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, due to take place in South Africa. The band performed at the ceremony, which was held during closing of the last World Cup in Germany.
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