South African vocal group The Joy have announced the details of their first EP, Amabutho, and released the first accompanying single, ‘Umacashelana’.
According to the band, their sound “is a combination of traditional Zulu music with a modern a capella flourish.” If your only reference for this kind of style is Paul Simon’s Graceland, The Joy is a solid starting place to expand your palate.
Originally from a small town just outside of Durban in South Africa, The Joy consists of band members Ntokozo Magcaba, Melokuhle Mkhungo, Sanele Ngcobo, Phelelani Sithole and Sandile Sphelele Hlophe. The members met in school, and have been spreading their music through social media.
To bring their sound to a global stage, the group have enlisted Two Inch Punch, real name Ben Ash, as their producer. Ash is most famous for his work with Rex Orange County, Damon Albarn, Years & Years, and Brian Eno. Ash flew out to the band’s hometown and set up a makeshift recording studio in a hotel room to record the quintet. You could never tell because the band’s stacked harmonies resonate like they’re in a concert hall at all times.
‘Umacashelana’, Zulu for “You are hiding”, is just over two minutes, but the members pack in an impressive blend of melody and harmony in the relatively short run time. It’s a case of not needing to know the lyrics to connect with a song’s feeling, and through their impeccable singing, The Joy translate exactly what their name implies.
Check out the band’s live performance on ‘Umacashelana’ down below. The Amabutho EP is set for a September 24 release.