I may not be versed in every language and dialect in Africa… but I know bad-ass rock music when I hear it . So, here’s a list of five hard rock bands performing on the continent in a range of different languages. Prepare to be blown away, I kid you not.
Country of Origin: Kenya
Active Since: 2010
Members: Victor Chweya (guitar), Alistair Gould (guitar/bass), Duncan Muriira (lead vocals), Amos Kiptoon (bass/guitar), Nick Wathi (drums)
Style: happy hardcore
Fav Song: Rain Man
ParkingLotGrass’s soothing vocals against a back-drop of heavy, electric guitar riffs and incessant snare drums work ever so smoothly. Pay attention to the lyrics: this five-piece band want to influence positive change through their music. (Photography on header by Martin Sasia).
Country of Origin: Botswana
Active Since: 2006
Members: Roth (growls, guitars), S’Bond (bass), Lee, Dlax (drums)
Style: death metal, thrash
Fav Song: Fate
With song titles such as Breeding the Undead and Desecrate, Crackdust mean business. But don’t be too quick to judge, they’re no amateurs: this foursome can really rock.
Country of Origin: Ghana
Active Since: 2014
Language: English/Pidgin English
Members: N/A (two guitars, bass, keyboard and drums)
Style: alternative rock
Fav Song: Best Friend
Dark Suburb are more than a band: they’re a concept. You don’t have to buy into it – but it helps. Causing some controversy in Ghana with their anonymous disguises and style of music, DS are a mysterious band using the concept of darkness to bring light to areas undiscovered.
Country of Origin: South Africa
Active Since: 2009
Members: Siyabonga Mthembu, Zelizwe Mthembu, Raytheon Moorvan, Ayanda Zalekile, Simphiwe Tshabalala, Nkululeko Mthembu (late), Mbalikhayise Mthethwa
Style: Performance art
Fav Song: Wenu Wetla
The Brother Moves On – as much an art movement as a band – wield traditional instruments to captivate audiences across South Africa. Their androgynous lead vocalist encompasses the ethos of the South African collective: free spirited, expressive and full of love, TBMO aren’t afraid to ask the big questions about the state of our society.
Country of Origin: Uganda
Active Since: 2009
Members: Vickonomy (guitars/vocals), Solomon Dust (rhythm guitar/bass), Walter Warblood (drums)
Style: progressive rock, avant-garde
Fav Song: Black Cathedral (The Tower Of Doom)
I have to admit, I struggled to nail what sub-genre best describes Vale of Amonition. I went through 10 options until I settled on the above: every track I’ve listened to by VOA has at least an element of progressive rock and surprise (avant-garde). A bit of an acquired taster, either way Vale of Amonition rock hard.