‘What About Your Soul’ is the new video release from Cape Town live electronic band PRAVDA, taken from their forthcoming EP ‘Drink Water’, to be released on May 26th via HDE. PRAVDA has performed at Rocking the Daisies, the J&B Met, Youngblood Art Gallery, Francois Pienaar’s MAD Foundation events and The Bootleggers Electroswing event series. ‘Drink Water’ EP co-producer Ross Gabriel has worked with artists Goodluck, Lu Chase and Youngsta. PRAVDA has received support from Goldfish and delivered workshops and lectures on behalf of AKAI, Ableton Live and SAE, and supported visiting Paris-based swing ensemble Dark Blue Orchestra on their 2015 South African tour.
PRAVDA was formed in Cape Town in 2006, when guitarist John Bartmann began producing a string of self-released EPs, going on to license electronic and orchestral compositions to the South African Broadcasting Commission, DNA Musik (Germany) and theatre company Bard & Troubadour (UK). In 2014, the band evolved to include DJ-clarinettist Zimasa Gysman, who performed with Simphiwe Dana at the Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series in 2013. Jacques Louw of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra performed briefly with the band, to be replaced in 2015 by multi-instrumentalist Callan Wolff of Turkish music ensemble Ottoman Slap, seasoned regulars at the annual National Arts Festival. In 2016, the ensemble grew to include Nigerian trumpeter Kolawole Gbolohan and saxophonist Gareth Harvey, who has performed with The Johnny Cooper Orchestra, Crimson House and McCoy Mrubata and at the National Arts and Joy of Jazz Festivals with his own band SAXIT!. Producer-DJ Django Flaherty joined in 2016, with accolades including performances and residencies at Rezonance Festival, Mutha FM, Catacombs and Polana.
PRAVDA’s sonic palette ranges from the dance-oriented sounds of Jamiroquai and Caravan Palace to the vintage American gospel of The Golden Gate Quartet and Sam Cooke and the big band jazz of Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. African and Latin rhythms can be found in the compositions, causing ‘Drink Water’ to play out like a mixture of electro-jazz and world music sounds delivered with a notably original approach.
‘Night and Day’ is a dance pop song about the daily grind with a blistering gypsy jazz guitar hook. ‘What About Your Soul’ has a township house beat, jazzy horn progressions and lyrical depth. ‘Maketh Me Fly’ is thickly layered with vocal harmonies and reminiscent of gospel roots music, while ‘Mi Corazon’ merges Cuban salsa rhythm with drum and bass and Latin rock electric guitar. The emphatic, sample-heavy vintage electro-swing cover of The Golden Gate Quartet’s ‘My Time Done Come’ offers up a solid dancefloor option. At its heart, ‘Drink Water’ is a collection defined by an authenticity which lives up to the meaning of the band name - ‘truth’.
Of their release, PRAVDA say, “We’re all fascinated by vintage South African swing jazz and world music. Our previous EP, Modern Folk, was an experiment in merging gypsy jazz with hip hop and house. ‘Drink Water’ is a step closer to pop than our previous offering, with more vocal and live instrumental talent. We intended for this collection to occupy a more popular realm, one that South Africans can enjoy as well as global listeners. This year, we’re focusing on putting on a fantastic live show. Thanks for listening!”
PRAVDA is a truly talented collection of musicians joined at the hip by a rich love for local, contemporary, crossover and world electronic music. Stay tuned for updates relating to performances and releases of their trademark ‘future jazz’ sound.
Watch 'What About Your Soul' here!
Friday 28th April -- Common Room Bar, Brewers Coop, Woodstock, CPT