With long-time friends Clement Carr on keys, Bonj Mpanza on lead vocals and percussives, Ryan McArthur on bass guitar and Reuben Crowie on drums and samples, TheCITY is a band that has seen many a genre, many a style and many an influence – reflecting the very things that the city of Cape Town is best known for.
The band started out with just Mpanza and Carr, and the two brought together their love of gospel and RnB, on the one hand, and reggae and electro on the other, to create a unique sound that has yet to be heard elsewhere. Finding their feet in 2012 with the remaining members, using all manner of sounds from cowbells to synthesisers as well as Zulu phrases and hip hop verses, the futuristic twist on jazzy, electronic blends has rendered them one of the most entertaining live acts to grace a stage. Stealing the show from the likes of Brooklyn (South Africa) rapper Pharoahe Monch alongside collaborator Whosane earlier this year, TheCITY's electric performances add a flavour to the live music scene that South Africa needs. Having worked with award-winning producer Ron Feemster, Goodluck, Jack Parow, Chad Saiman, Captain Stu, The Rudimentals and a long list of other great acts, the band is in tune with its potential, and we can't wait to see what they've got to offer us in the coming months.
On their album Pre-Production Sessions, we get an insider's look into what goes on while these stellar tracks are being made, live in studio with commentary from the band members and producers themselves. Snips from the 'new oldies' such as "Nguwe" and "Missing You" are up for listen on soundcloud; however, their earlier material will tide us over until their next release is available for download. These guys are most certainly future afro and not to be missed if you ever get the opportunity to see them live.
"This Time" is a romantic, uplifting track beginning with an old-timey melody. Describing the kind of love that has weathered all of the storms that time has thrown its way, it celebrates the feeling of happiness with a child-like purity. Over nostalgic keys guiding the track into a catchy chorus, Mpanza's vocal range and power are earth-shattering; the deep, ebony sounds of the first verse come from the very pit of her stomach, contrasting well with the highs from the top of her lungs. Be prepared for a sweet moment thinking of the one you love.