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Apple Music shines the spotlight on Afro-roots group, Urban Village

Apple Music’s New Artist Spotlight for February is Urban Village, a Soweto-based band who blend folk, Zulu rock, Xhosa funk, mbaqanga, maskandi and layer it with funky acoustic melodies to create a sound that is wholly African.

“We are Urban Village and we are really excited by this opportunity to be selected for the Apple Music New Artist Spotlight campaign. We just released our debut album Udondolo, a love letter to Soweto.Thank you to Apple Music for including us alongside such amazing artists that have been featured in past campaigns. Urban Village, The People Have Spoken,” said the band.

When Lerato Lichaba (guitar and vocals) and Tubatsi Mpho Moloi (flute, guitar and mbira) joined Xolani “Cush” Mtshali (drums) and Simangaliso “Smash” Dlamini (bass) to create Urban Village, the quartet was inspired by their hometown from the get go, as their music grew organically from the hustle and bustle of South Africa’s biggest township.

The release of their 12-track debut album, Udondolo, with Parisian label NØ FØRMAT! RECORDS combines “urban” modern influences with traditional “village” elements, chronicling the life of the average black South African from Apartheid right up to present day, solidifying their all encompassing sound with a wider audience.

On Udondolo, Urban Village speaks directly to the country’s different communities and urges them to come together for the sake of the future – whether that means looking beyond race, supporting blue collar workers or overcoming the hardships of everyday life in the hope of enjoying a better tomorrow.

Influenced by Soul music and the Motown greats that the band grew up listening to in Soweto, their music is a direct product of their surroundings – blending languages, cultures and genres that suggest we ultimately share more similarities than differences.

At the core of Urban Village’s music and ethos beats a heart that is deeply African and keenly original, manifesting the soul of their hometown on a global scale for the world to embrace.