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Country South Africa Genres band hiphop funk jazz Website Festival Sauti za Busara 2012 Recordings
At The Bassline (2004); Tumi And The Volume (2006); Pick A Dream (2010)
It’s been a decade since the Johannesburg-based group Tumi & The Volume went about making a band, transitioning from spoken-word experimentalists to the unique live hiphop outfit they are now internationally famed for. In as far as style and accomplishment is concerned they stand alone in South Africa, and are taking the world by storm.
Tumi & The Volume is comprised of lead MC Tumi Molekane, drummer Paulo Chibanga, guitarist Tiago Correia-Paulo and bassist Dave Bergman.
Tumi & The Volume are now a European and North African festival staple band. They somehow find time to continue delivering pure excellence as a group whilst pursing recognised success with independent projects.
Tumi has built a formidable solo career highlighted by a performance with pop star Shakira at the FIFA World Cup opening concert and having both his albums My Good Eye (2008) and Whole Worlds (2010) nominated in the South African Music Awards (SAMA). Chibanga with Correia-Paulo are steadily increasing the global footprint of their dub group 340ml having won 2 SAMAs (Best Alternative Album, Best Engineer) in 2009.
A particularly impressive performance of theirs in Reunion Island where they were playing at Sakifo Festival scored them an international record deal with the label born parallel to the festival, also home to Finley Quaye and True Live. It suited their live instrumentation to the point where by the time their self-titled second album came out in 2006, as common practice they juggled a sort of dual musical citizenship between France and South Africa.
Lyrically, TATV never stray too far from the place their story began. In the way that only Tumi can articulate - whether rhyming, rapping, reciting poetry or singing - he challenges the way things are in South Africa compared to the way they used to be.
Their latest album Pick A Dream is comfortably varied and pitched above the genre’s generic standard, and is a powerful testimony of their longevity. “They celebrated their liberation with so much libation when the morning came, they had lost their heads...”, is his sobering conclusion to the opening narrative “La Tete Savante”. “Asinamali”, literally meaning “I don’t have money”, references to a near-forgotten tradition of protest art to ponder the attitudes to and politics of fame, money and all that comes with it. “Limpopo” is a serenade to life, which dissolves into the sweetest guitar groove, one of many sing-along melodies on this album; another being the afrobeat inspired “Volume Trials” featuring female vocalist Zaki Ibrahim.
With their shared range and calibre, their utmost focus to sonic detail, with powerful stage presence and equally powerful lyrics, Tumi & The Volume will be a highlight not to missed at Sauti za Busara 2012.
"The Johannesburg quartet Tumi And The Volume have quickly forged an identity as rising stars of new African music…" Mondomix
"Theirs is a tale of fierce determination complemented by sheer talent. They have done it all, from backpacking to galvanising world audiences…" Mail and Guardian online