South African Afro Roots group ‘Urban Village’ is Apple Music’s New Artist Spotlight for the month of February.
The monthly artist development feature focuses on identifying, showcasing and elevating rising star talent across Africa.
Urban Village, the Soweto-based band blend folk, Zulu rock, Xhosa funk, mbaqanga, maskandi and layer it with funky acoustic melodies to create a sound that is wholly African.
When Lerato Lichaba (guitar and vocals) and Tubatsi Mpho Moloi (flute, guitar and mbira) joined Xolani “Cush” Mtshali (drums) and Simangaliso “Smash” Dlamini (bass) to create Urban Village, the quartet was inspired by their hometown from the get go, as their music grew organically from the hustle and bustle of South Africa’s biggest township.
“We are Urban Village and we are really excited by this opportunity to be selected for the Apple Music New Artist Spotlight campaign. We just released our debut album ‘Udondolo’, a love letter to Soweto.Thank you to Apple Music for including us alongside such amazing artists that have been featured in past campaigns. Urban Village, The People Have Spoken,” said the band.
The release of their 12-track debut album, Udondolo, with Parisian label NØ FØRMAT! RECORDS combines “urban” modern influences with traditional “village” elements, chronicling the life of the average black South African from Apartheid right up to present day, solidifying their all encompassing sound with a wider audience.
Influenced by Soul music and the Motown greats that the band grew up listening to in Soweto, their music is a direct product of their surroundings – blending languages, cultures and genres that suggest we ultimately share more similarities than differences.
At the core of Urban Village’s music and ethos beats a heart that is deeply African and keenly original, manifesting the soul of their hometown on a global scale for the world to embrace.
Past New Artist Spotlight talent includes Sho Madjozi, Amanda Black, Ami Faku and Elaine.