“Azania” by Iphupho L’ka Biko is Set to Launch on June 30th! - Bubblegum Club

“Azania” by Iphupho L’ka Biko is Set to Launch on June 30th!

South Africa has a vibrant and diverse music scene, and one band that is to leave an indelible mark on the country’s cultural and sonic landscape is Iphupho L’ka Biko. They aim to do this with the release of their debut EP titled Azania which explores a blend of sounds that are true to African traditional and spiritual music on the 30th of June 2023.

Founder of Iphupho L’ka Biko, Nhlanhla Ngqaqu expresses how the formation of the band in 2015 had been a meeting of spiritual energies that recognised a common goal, that they lived “in a world that is anti-black that resonates with Steve Biko‘s ideologies and many more that have died for the liberation of black lives around the world, thus making it important to portray that dream as everything is possible in a dream.” 

Iphupho L'ka Biko

Iphupho L'ka Biko

This is how they then came up with their name that in isiXhosa directly translates to “Biko’s dream” a dream where black Africans are unshackled from everything that holds them back in society. The band, which is the reigning award winner of the Standard Bank Ovation Award at the 2022 National Arts Festival in Makhanda, is comprised of bandmates from all over Southern Africa that have come together with the purpose of reigniting the spark of African patriotism.

The band being Miseka Gaqa (vocals), Koketso Poho (vocals), Sibusiso Mkhize (vocals), Moeketsi Kgotle (vocals), Pulane Mafatshe (vocals), Khutjo Nkwana (alto saxophone), Tumi Pheko (long cornet), Kgethi Nkosi (trombone), Sibusiso Malindzisa (keys), Lebohang Moleleki (drums) and Nhlanhla Ngqaqu (bass, composer, arranger and band leader). These talented individuals have extensive arrays of their individual music that makes them even stronger when united, another dream that Biko had for the youth.

With two single releases under their belt, Abaphezulu on the Indaba Is compilation by Bronswood Recordings and uThixo uKhona, which they have self-published, they have had a yearning to produce and release a full body of work that will be presented as Azania and plan to host a live show that will premiere the EP to the masses on a very significant day for youth liberation in South Africa, the 16th of June 2023.

Iphupho L'ka Biko

This launch will be held at the prestigious Niki’s Oasis in Newtown, which is a landmark for a lot of jazz and traditional musical acts in the country. In commemoration of the auspicious day, Iphupho L’ka Biko will host two shows in the same venue on that day, one being at 3 pm and the second being at 7 pm, accommodating twice as many audience members to experience the project unfold before their eyes.

This band has seen itself as a musical tool for cultural expression, resistance and unity. Their immense talent, innovative compositions and unique blend of musical styles continue to inspire them and their audiences, broadcasting the endurance of South African traditional music. As they represent a vibrant movement, Iphupho L’ka Biko is destined to take this spiritual experience to new heights.

Iphupho L'ka Biko

Iphupho L'ka Biko

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