Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, or BCUC, is a Soweto-born band known for "Sangoma music"
By Ian McNair at Platform Magazine
Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, or BCUC, is a Soweto-born band known for gripping, transcendental live performances and an abstracted, symbol-drenched socio-political message – one that always leans towards the optimistic. Seeing them live is a spiritual experience, no matter your personal beliefs, as they draw on universally accessible body and mind musical cues and sonic journeys that last anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes per song. Their approach is to draw from what they call ‘sangoma music’.
Their music cuts across cultural and language barriers in a way that makes them accessible to almost anyone with a pulse. It's seen them perform in spaces as varied as their own rehearsal/performance/party space in Soweto, nightclubs and major festivals across Europe, as well as burgeoning niche spaces like the Littlegig and Endless Daze Festivals in the Western Cape.
They’ve prepared a fire playlist of South African faves for The Way of Us, give it a go, be sure to catch one of their sets this summer and read our short interview with them after the jump.
How does this playlist reflect who you are as a band at the moment?
We spent a lot of time abroad this year, so this playlist contains what resonates with us when we were on the road. These songs kept us feeling like we always had home with us.
What has been a highlight of touring lately? A place, a moment, an interaction, another musician's performance?
Transmusicales where we played as the headline act of the most influential festival in Europe for unearthing new acts. That show and booking has been life changing for us (shout out Jannike Bergh for believing in us).
How do you reconcile working as a never-the-same-twice live performance band playing 10-25 minute long songs, with having to survive financially in a music industry that prizes recorded, formulaic song structure?
We are good with how things are, we didn't find ourselves in this situation but we chose it. We are more of an amazing live band/experience than everything else. In fact it helps because it keeps us away from being celebrities. The money gets better as our reputation for being one of the best to ever do it grows.
What is your primary goal in music? What is the purpose of your work?
We would like to bring hope and happiness to everyone who has ever crossed paths with us. The purpose is to make music that will live forever and carry content that will transcend generations, borders and social barriers.
Why is it important to you to keep traditional heritage music alive in the modern age?
For us that is the source especially because our heritage and tradition carries in it life lessons and interesting sonic riddles.
What musicians were you listening to as children and young adults that is alive in your current sound?
Fela Kuti, Howling Wolf, Brenda Fassie, Jack Knife, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Harare and James Brown.