The Brother Keeps Moving On

By Dudu Lamola

On the 27 October 2012, The Brother Moves On (TBMO) began their tour of their newest EP entitled ETA in Johannesburg. The ETA Tour was to coincide with the release of their second studio album which is an acronym for “Expected Time of Arrival”. The Johannesburg based band, who are more commonly known for their outlandish live performance style, express that on their tour, they strive be “The ghost inside the magic, the stranglers of an innocent idea of bringing performance art to its knees through costume, music and storytelling” The EP, which is  produced by Paulo Chibanga of TATV and 340ml, will feature six remixes of two radio singles, “Ya’khalimbazo” and “Good Times”.
Featured artist on the album include Motel Mari (Joao Orecchia and Mpumi Mcata & Tshepang Ramoba of the Blk Jks), A Million Things (Tiago Correia-Paulo of 340ml and TATV), DJ Satori and DJ Mshega. The eclectic and diverse collaborations that are on this album have given TBMO a chance to explore other genres of music besides their usual “afrique-rock” sound that their audiences are so used to. Their sound is very Johannesburg. It’s an effortless blend of jazz, rock, mbhaqanga and African folk sounds.
With this album, we see the band showing their knowledge of house and synthetic music, a sound they are calling “experimental earth indie afrique” rock.The band, which is made up of Siyabonga Mthembu (vocals), Zweli Mthembu (guitarist), Nkululeko Mthembu (band founder/live artist), Raytheon Moorvan (guitarist), Ayanda Zalekele (bassist) and Simphewe Tshabalala (drummer), aim to make “transitional music for a transitional generation”. This EP, which could be considered a far cry from their previous album, The Golden Wake, expresses the distresses of young South Africa discretely and subtly but precisely and creatively.Their music speaks about where the “born- free” generation find themselves today and brings up the many concerns of as an unemployed generation that has to fight for their dreams. The band has always strived to create and develop a new kind of music, “brown baby music”, as they call it. It’s not black, it’s not white and it doesn’t play to racial stereotypes. Instead, it affirms the evolution and identity of a new generation of South Africans who are also global citizens.

The first track on the album, “Good Times”, personalises a miner’s experience. This track could perhaps be seen as a cathartic exercise in the wake of Marikana. It tells a story of a mineworker who spends his first earnings at a tavern, drinking away his sorrows and hard earned money: “With my first money from going deep down into the earth/ to fetch the filthy yellow rock/ I decided I was going to the tavern”. The miner encounters many hardships and describes how “two dark creatures attacked him” on his way back home from the tavern.

I feel the song aims to express how the lives of the “unemployed generation”, symbolised by a mineworker, are filled with violence, hardship, drunkenness and carelessness, which all result from circumstance. The track also reflects the hybridised tongue of Johannesburg mineworkers in South Africa as the language switches between English, IsiXhosa and the chorus, which translated in from Setswana to English says “the good times are over”.

The other track that is featured, “Ya’khalimbazo” is, as described by the band, “an ode to the self defence unit that used to police the ‘Kalambazo’ section in Tembisa between 1990 and 1993

This EP is gives nothing but a taste of the energetic and eccentric performance and musical quality that one can expect on their tour. I’d say that if you really are keen for the ultimate The Brother Moves On experience, make an effort to catch them on their tour which starts on 27 October in Johannesburg, Drill Hall and ends in Johannesburg again on 22 November at Kitcheners in Braamfontein.

The Brother Moves On EPK that was shot earlier this year.


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