Edinburgh Fringe 2013
"Discovered busking in parts of Johannesburg rarely visited, Africa Entsha now travel the world sharing their irrepressible energy and spectacular musical talents. Fantastic a cappella performances combine traditional African melodies with the contemporary, coupled with breathtaking dancing. Skilfully mixing humour and heart-breaking emotion, you will be won over by the infectiously playful and unique chemistry of the performers. An irresistibly positive, feel-good experience for all ages, you’ll be dazzled by the talent, moved by the magic, and end up dancing in the aisles. Discover the sound of new African a cappella – simply Soweto! Unmissable!"
I saw Africa Entsha at the Brighton Fringe in May 2013 and this was a very different performance, but no less energising, impressive and life-affirming.
Africa Entsha sing positively, dance playfully with accomplish tightness, using their whole bodies and weaving movement into their music. Body-percussion, loud footwork blend with harmony and story-song. They blend styles and moods, tending towards the upbeat, the spiritual and the romantic.
In Brighton they sang without microphones and I preferred it, In cathedral-like church it felt more like a gig with the boys all mic-ed up. But they command the space with confidence and the sheer intensity of their gesture to share is infectuous and generous. They hurl their music into the audience, reaching the back rows with ease, and yet there are also tender moments where we, the audience, lean forward, and warmly engage.
The acoustics of the venue occasionally made some of the words harder to hear than in the Old Courtroom in Brighton yet it is a testament to the skills of this foursome that they can still create a feeling of intimacy in such a large performance space.
They work very hard throughout and it is also that gesture of commitment that the enthusiastic audience respond to. With plenty of humour and banter thrown in, this is a playful dive into the spirit of South Africa, the heart of the music resounding to both indigenous styles, jazz and even a bit of pop.
The audience loved it and so did it. This is top quality community music, delivered with professional excellence and always brimming with creative spirit and the finest singing I’ve seen at the Fringe this year.