Freshly Ground has been contributing ear candy to the music world since 2002.  Today they have taken not only native South Africa by storm, but also the world. When I heard they would be at Joe’s Pub in New York for one night only, I made it my business to be in attendance.  I was introduced to Freshly Ground while living in Cape Town and was subsequently thrilled to be able to introduce some of my New York friends to their unique Afro-fusion sound.

The intimate venue was a perfect way to get someone hooked. I reserved a table for six at Joe’s and I dare say it was the very best in the house! My oh-so-lucky friends Jessie, Granger, James, Bobby, and Elizabeth and I were a mere 20 feet from the center stage  with an unobstructed view. As I know is the case when the perform in South Africa, their concert in New York City played host to a fans from different ethnicities and age brackets. Additionally, I smiled as I heard many South African accents and frequent ejective consonants from those speaking Xhosa at the surrounding tables. There were well-known actors in attendance and even a fellow classmate from University of Cape Town tipped his hat in my direction. For a moment, I forgot I was in America! It was sublime.

Now, this was the first time I had seen Freshly Ground live, but after the lights went down and the crowd became silent for a moment, they did not disappoint. I think it is a real testament to the quality of a band when they sound better in person. Something about the energy in the room made me feel like I was a part of something truly magnificent. The evening’s remarkable setlist had nearly all 150 members of the audience on their feet with hands in the air, singing along by the time they got to their hit “I’d Like.” Zolani literally sent a chill down my spine as she melodiously swept into the first vocalization. My friends Elizabeth and Jessie were “spellbound” and “instantly drawn into the band’s energy and vibe.” Said Jessie, “I think everyone was ready to jump onstage and shake it!” Musically adept James noted that, “Freshly Ground combines musical traditions most of us have never heard before with creative interpretations of familiar conventions with pure innovation with awesomeness. Find them and listen!”

Due to the upcoming release of their newest album there were many new songs that blended nicely into a setlist which included some old favorites as well. For anyone looking to expand their iTunes library, let this be a glowing recommendation for Freshly Ground.