This fully integrated South African band caught their first big break during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when they shared the spotlight with Colombian singer Shakira on the multilingual “Waka Waka,” the official anthem for that event. Since then, global fans have gotten small glimpses of their music via their collaborations with Les Nubians and their first record to get full release in the US, “Radio Africa.”
The band’s songs have a catchy pop vibe and a sense of humor. For instance, “Pot Belly” talks about how time passes and couples age, “fat thighs, flabby arms and a pot belly still gives good loving”—something almost unheard of in body-image-obsessed American pop music. “Doo Be Doo” looks at an utopian time when people in the planet will finally be able to get along—a reflection on the changes in their own country, where Apartheid still ruled just a few decades ago.
Lead singer Zolani Mahola embodies the band’s attitude well. With almost a teenage-sounding voice, she has great confidence and a great stage presence—this can be seen on the “Waka Waka” video, when she almost steals the song from Shakira near the end. (Ernest Barteldes)
June 30 at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, North Michigan and East Randolph, 6:30pm. Free.