The sounds of Johannesburg, are rich with the vibrance of a city largely made up of a heterogeneous diaspora. The music of the city can go from the lonesome rhythm of a djembe drum to the familiar contrapuntal melodies of South African House, and then as you cross a street, the expressive yelps of ululating joyously screaming at you from a passing car making its way to a wedding. Amidst these sounds there’s a new fusion sound that’s emerged in recent years, a fusion of music from the traditions of Jazz, Kwaito, Rock and Funk vying for a communal space and perpetuated by groups like BLK JKS, Makoomba and The Brother Moves On. These groups are all very different in styles and sounds but all find a unique voice where contrasting genres and traditions find a mutual spirit, and can go from the more pop-focussed sound of Makoomba to the more progressive rock and communist concepts of The Brother Moves on.
Amongst these groups a new group has emerged from Soweto, a collection of comic-book-like characters that prompts associations with the afro-fusion sounds of west Africa in the seventies, but informed by an unmistakeable South African aesthetic. They are Called BCUC or Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness and although they have been around since 2008, in 2016 they put this sound on an LP for the first time. Dotted with Psychedelic flavours, BCUC’s debut album Our Truth is a progressive fusion record that is in itself a living entity. From “Yinde” 20-minute musical exploration of a collective consciousness to the more composed form of “In my Blues” what you get throughout the entire album is a live feel, a completely natural sounding album with the pretence on showcasing a group of extremely skilful musicians coming together as one entity.
Much like the city that bore them, there’s no distinct style they conform to and in the resulting music you find a collage of diversity and bright, blinding colour. There’s no defining BCUC, and even when they try to put it in words on a section of “Yinde”, they ramble through abstract languages that never really gets close to the larger-than-life music that they perpetuate. Asazani recently made it into a mix by Rush Hour’s Antal, a mix that highlighted some of the best music ever to come out of South Africa, and BCUC’s induction into this echelon is no mere accident and Our Truth deserves a place alongside the Fela Kuti’s and Hailu Mergia‘s of our time.