Cape Town based, Freshlyground is one of the most acclaimed and successful bands to emerge from South Africa in recent years. Seven highly-talented individuals joined forces in Cape Town in 2002 with the band members hailing from South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
Freshlyground blends the infectious kwela style and musical traditions from Zimbabwe and Mozambique with elements of pop, jazz, blues and indie rock. Formed in Cape Town, the band became a national hit with the release of their 2003 debut album Jika Jika and a year later they found themselves performing for South African President Mbeki and sharing the stage with the legendary Miriam Makeba at the North Sea Jazz Festival. Over the ensuing years, Freshlyground toured the world and recorded six increasingly popular albums, culminating in a collaboration with pop superstar Shakira that was chosen as the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They performed the song during the closing ceremony in a televised event that was broadcast to over a billion people.
On a visit to South Africa in June 2013 during a speech at the University of CapeTown, President Barack Obama cited Freshlyground as an example of the contributions South Africa has made to the world. They truly represent the fresh new face of African music. “This is the sound of striving, from people who don’t want to lose their past but at the same time want desperately to move ahead and find their place in the global mainstream” he said. “The band is a true reflection of contemporary South Africa.”
As far as accolades go, Freshlyground became the first South African musical act to receive honours from MTV, when they received the MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act At the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards in Copenhagen. In 2008, the Recording Industry of South Africa awarded them the coveted Best Duo or Group SAMA. In the same year, their 2007 album Ma’ Cheri won the prestigious Album of the Year SAMA, as well as Best Adult Contemporary Album: English, and Best Engineer. Plus, at the 2008 Channel O Music Video Awards, the band received the “Best Africa, Southern” accolade for their single “Pot Belly”. And who can forget, two years later, a song by Colombian pop star Shakira and Freshlyground was the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The song, titled Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, which was based on “Zangalewa”, a popular Makossa African soldiers’ song by Golden Sounds. Shakira and Freshlyground performed the song at the pre-tournament kick-off concert in Soweto on 10 June 2010 and at the handing-over ceremony.