Al Bairre – “aggressively unfancy”

There is something beautiful happening within the confines of South Africa’s music scene. An emergence of talented home-grown hopefuls in various shapes and sizes has given indie-loving muso’s a reason to be patriotic.

Photo by Keziah Suskin

Photo by Keziah Suskin

Meet the band

Al Bairre are a Cape Town based five-piece symphonic indie-rock band with an edge. They combine cello, violins, guitars, ukelele and drums to create a unique sound built on a foundation of classical music expertise. In their own words, their goal is to “take an indie band and turn it into an ice cream of orchestral sounds.”

The quirky five-piece is made up of Nick Preen (guitar, percussion and vocals), Kyle Davis (lead guitar), Tom Kotze (drummers) and identical twins Tessa (cello, keys, melodica, percussion, vocals) and Julia Johnson (ukelele, violin, keys, and vocals). Together, their variety of gender and levels of musical training makes for a refreshingly different sound which Preen describes as “aggressively unfancy.”

“When I was Tall”

The band released their EP, “When I was tall” in April of this year. Produced independently, the EP is an honest reflection of Al Bairre’s incredible talent. Their music combines a complexity of style and structure with catchy beats that no sane human can refuse to dance to. The sweet voices of the Johnson twins are a perfect fabric on which Preen’s voice can shine through. The male and female combination, that is missing from so many local indie bands, allows for a gorgeous dimension of sound and texture. Inspired by the sounds of Arcade Empire, Vampire Weekend and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Al Bairre are making waves in a big way.

Al Bairre have spent the year making themselves known through a plethora of fantastically unique gigs. From the glorious dustbowl that is Oppikoppi to the highly revered stage of Rocking the Daises and most notably opening for alt-J, The Hives and Skunk Anansie at Joburg’s In the City festival, crowds have been blown away by performances overflowing with energy and a genuine interest in the audience.

The best thing about Al Bairre

This bunch don’t take themselves too seriously. They have more talent than most but seem to really love what they do and thoroughly enjoy having a good giggle at themselves. Their fantastic sense of humour, quirky style and intricately indie music is a wonderful addition to the local and international music scene. The band hopes to release another EP early next year.

Have a look at Al Bairre’s lovely facebook page here.

Or follow their hilarity on twitter here.


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