Every now and then you come across a band that at first glance shouldn’t really be called a band, but more realistically pioneers in a bold new world.
This week I was lucky enough to be asked to listen to a band that are exactly what I am talking about. Sophisticatedly Easy in its look and sound, ‘The Fridge’ are certainly one of a kind, and unique in the world of African Jazz. Their unconventional approach to the iconic genre of jazz is certainly risky, yet rewardingly refreshing.
Born in 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa, ‘The Fridge’ are a three piece neo-jazz band combining the musical prowess of Samkelo Mdolomba on vocals, Mothusi Thust on guitars and Adebayo Omotade on drums.
This bold remix of jazz that combines the sounds of African Folk music with a soulful serenity, makes listening to ‘The Fridge’ pure gold. For anyone that is a fan of jazz, especially new world music, you will quickly recognise the work of ‘The Fridge’ as artful elegance and musical mastery.
Jazz Fusion is not for everybody, and there will be hard-line jazz fans that will deplore the neo-jazz style of ‘The Fridge’, but regardless of your opinion, there is clear talent in the ability of these three musicians to spin a wonderful yarn in lyrical and musical presentation.
Starting out by playing every Friday night at The Loft in Melville, Johannesburg the band gained popularity through word of mouth, piracy and Bluetooth, and when they decided to release a five track EP, the band were confronted with a feeding frenzy completely unexpected and certainly not prepared for. The band’s popularity propelled The Fridge to new heights on the small Johannesburg Live Music scene, and by mid 2011 the band found themselves playing often, sometimes up to two or three gigs a day.
In April 2011 the talent and popularity of the band was spotted by Motif who offered the band a recording deal, and a new partnership was born. This partnership will see the recording of a full length album due for release in 2012.
This deal has set the lead man of the group, the Soweto Born singer Sam Mdlolmba, into a writing storm that is set to blaze the fans of ‘The Fridge’ with a mouth-watering album of music. Thusi who has been playing the guitar from the tender age of 14 has learnt to keep pace with Sam, and the duo work tirelessly to perfect the sound that accompanies the words of each tune. Of course Ade, of Nigerian lineage is described as having rhythm in his bones, and links in well with Sam and Thusi to round off the band’s sound and give an African balance to their music.
With performances at the likes of Splashy Fen Festival, Moshito Music Conference and the Arts Alive Festival, under their belt, the band are set to big things in the year ahead. Their fan base continues to grow as they focus on their internet presence ahead of the launch of their upcoming album, and the hard work and unwavering resolve of the band has built a loyal following of fans in South African and begins to thread the network of an even bigger following abroad.
I can’t wait to see what this album will produce. I’m sure that there will be a few hidden gems to tease and please our ear buds, but even more than this, I’m sure that this album will lay the foundation for success for one of South Africa’s most promising young jazz bands in 2012.
To discover more about The Fridge check out:
The Fridge on Facebook
Follow The Fridge on Twitter
Check out their Website
Listen to The Fridge on SoundCloud
Our thanks to Gideon Tladi at Store House Music South Africa