18 Feb

The Brother Moves On, My South African Brothers From Another Planet

LISTEN: “Wenu Wetla”(full 16 minutes) from The Golden Wake​ [​MASTERED] by The Brother Moves On.

(This is a review from the fantastic blog Bold As Love by my music tastemaker-writer-programmer friend Rob Fields. I couldn’t do nearly as good a job, so I just made a few updates.)


The truth is, this is all Andrea Clarke’s fault.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I was listening to Andrea’s show on WBAI, Sister From Another Planet where, for nearly an hour, she was killing it from wall to wall.  I know she started with Alice Coltrane’s “Journey To Satchidananda”.  I can’t remember if there was anything else I was familiar with, but I can tell you it was a headnod-inducing set.  And it was the song she played at the end that really made me stop reading and listen. Part of the reason, I think, was that the song is over 16 minutes long, so it had plenty of time to sneak up on me and work its way into my head.

I found out the group is called The Brother Moves On.

Now, once I found out more about this group, I was mad at my South African friends for holding out on me.  The band’s name is a play on “Brother Mouzone,” the character from HBO’s The Wire.

Like Kenya’s Just A Band, The Brother Moves On is an art collective.  Their music has been described as experimental South African art rock.  I guess that’s owing to the jazzy, more freeform elements that their music can evoke.  The song that captivated me–“Wenu Wetla”–is taken from their 2011 recording, The Golden Wake EP.  Get this: The album is a live recording done at a performance art event that was staged as a funeral wake for their departed friend, known only as Mr. Gold.  Yeah.  Powerful stuff. Definitely some conjuring going on throughout.

An aside: When I’m outta here, I want y’all to send me home like this.

Another kinda random: I hear these guys and it strikes me that BLK JKS isn’t such an anomaly.  There’s a lot, sonically, the two bands have in common.  Have a listen and compare for yourself.

As I mentioned, this entire song is over 16 minutes, but it’s well worth it.  Funny, it’s the last song on the EP, but you’ll hear references to them finally being able to start the program”.  Whatever order, just put on the headphones and prepare to be swept up.  We’ve got The Brother Moves On on heavy rotation here in our offices.  If you find yourself continually pressing rewind, remember: It’s all Andrea Clarke’s fault, and for that we should all be grateful.

A little about the band:

There are three albums from The Brother Moves On, all available on their site.  The first, as noted above, is The Golden Wake EP.  The second is simply called ETA and contains remixes of two songs, “Good Times” and “Ya’khalimbazo”, and the latest is A New Myth.  Download TBMO’s OkayAfrica mixtape here .

Here’s an article by Siji Jabbar for This is Africa, part of the Guardian Africa Network, The Guardian.


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