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A Night on the Town With Freshlyground at Higher Ground | August 2011

Photography by Sam Balling

The night should have started with negative spirits. The introducer of the event welcomed everyone, adding that coming across the border earlier that day, South African afro/pop/ folk troupe Freshlyground had their merchandise confiscated. Luckily, they found a box of older music and compilations in their offices, and had something for the audience to take home.

Interestingly enough, with half the room covered in chairs for the easy listeners, the crowd was a wonderful blend of ages and styles, but the atmosphere was welcoming, as more and more people came in. Some go to concerts to dance, others to escape, but there are evenings like this where people come out for a heavy dose of culture, and they were going to get it.


Cumbacha, Putamayo, The Music Voyager, 104.7 The Point, and Magic Hat all sponsored the concert, and was part of a series called the Summer Global Music Voyage- just to give you a sense of the community, the hands together, and the foundation for such an event. The intention for the series, and this show, is to showcase worldly acts with unique sounds and stories to tell.

Well, lead singer Zolani Mahola tells great stories. “Petite” barely describes how compact her beauty, charm, voice, and power are- likewise Kyla Rose Smith, a very elegant- looking woman that stands next to Zolani, and, did I mention, they have great voices, smooth, soft, rounded out, and full of expression. Then there’s Julio “Gugs” Sigauque, who looks very familiar, but maybe it’s just his easygoing stance and smile. His playing style is airy, bouncy, and his finger-picking and strumming styles are fun to watch, as his fanned hand brushes against the strings, it just doesn’t look like it’s doing much until you listen in and hear his gracious riffs, sometimes doubled, echoed, or added on to by Kyla, sometimes strumming her violin to create a ukulele sound.


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