The Garage International @ NACC, Sat 25 Feb.
Africa Entsha deliver a Cappella with attitude. Hailing from South Africa they offer songs in English and their native Zulu (‘entsha’ means new in Zulu) with an energy and optimism that is entertaining and infectious.
But this five-piece band doesn’t just offer vocals. Dance, movement and percussion are very much part of the package. Percussion is via clapping, foot stamping, or oral effects through a mic, and the dance moves, while not always tightly choreographed, help generate a buzz of energy within the band and around the audience. A couple of numbers in and many in the audience are rocking or foot tapping quietly to the rhythms.
Their music draws on vocal traditions from Zulu and Western culture, and at times strays into soul and Gospel.
It was good to hear that global favourite, The Lion Sleeps Tonight (aka Wymoweh), given a more traditional arrangement. Little known fact: the song was originally written in Zulu. We were also treated to a short demonstration of the ‘clicking language’ of the Xhosa people.
Another crowd pleaser was Amazing Grace, used principally to demonstrate the fact that hugely deep vocals can carry a melody. Their bass singer, as is often the case in acapella music, is the glue that holds their songs together, and the bass guy from Africa Entsha has a timbre to his voice that is rich and deeply primal.
Africa Entsha are five fine voices that blend beautifully in arrangements that offer plenty of variety. Their material is mostly upbeat and conveys an intentional positive vibe about life that is hard to resist.
Africa Entsha continues at various locations, at various times, until Sun 19 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Katja Liebing