Global Music Column – October

Spaza – Uprize!

A heaviness permeated the summer, one laden with the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the consequences of George Floyd’s killing by Minnesota police in May. While it is clear we are living in an unprecedented moment of history, some things – racial, social and economic inequality – are a reminder of our unimpeded, unfortunate connections to the past. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Such is the spirit channelled by Johannesburg-based improvisational collective Spaza on their second album, Uprize! Recorded over a three-day session in 2016, the quartet’s work functions as a soundtrack to a documentary film of the same name, charting the majority black student uprising in the South African township of Soweto in June 1976. The uprising came as a response to the increased teaching of Afrikaans in schools, a move seen to further subjugate the black population during apartheid. Latched on to by the burgeoning black consciousness movement, the protests were met with police brutality and the deaths of at least 176 people.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 25/09/20]