Africa Plus Album Review
Africa Plus members are relatively young but have already earned their stripes at various music avenues. The band’s bass player Prince Bulo won the SAMRO overseas Scholarship for Jazz category and features in many award winning albums, Lungelo Ngcobo the pianist/ keyboard player was the finalist of a prestigious UNISA piano competition, the drummer Sphelelo Mazibuko immensely contributed to the album that probably won Benjamin Japhtha the Standard Bank Young Artist (Jazz) for 2017 award. So the music enthusiasts who have been following these young musicians have always had high expectations about their debut record.
The music paths of AfricaPlus members have always intertwined, they studied in the same music school and have worked in the same projects so it was inevitable that at some point they would eventually come together to form a music ensemble.
Observing the band’s name, the music, and this trio’s image, it appears that identity is at the centre of its being. This group is an afrocentric oufit that perceives music through a global lens, it expresses old wisdom through a fresh interpretation.
Despite their unquestionable accomplishments it was a daring decision on their part to release a live record as their debut album, this move could decide the fate of the future of this band, it could easily dismantle the future of the band if something went wrong. This record was recorded live at The Orbit (The home of jazz), it captures the raw real essence of their music.
Given the musical backgrounds of the members of this band it comes as no surprise that their debut album is a hybrid of a wide range of contemporary music influences infused into a pot of contemporary jazz.
On this record Lungelo plays with fluidity, lyricism and grace, he showcases both jazz piano elegance and soulful organ voice projection. Bulo is popularly known for his sheer flair, flamboyant and dominant bass playing style, but on this particular records he plays with caution, discipline and pays emphasis on bass fundamentals. Sphelelo provides multiplicity and balance in the music, he oozes with dynamism and versatility as he multi tasks keeping time, colouring the sound and dishing comping patterns that complement his peers.
This band also features a beautiful alto tenor saxophone player by the name of Tshepo Tsotetsi who brings an added texture, pitch and dimension to the music. Tsotetsi’s role also allows Lungelo to freely interchangeably move in between playing melodies and harmonies.
Their album opens with a piece titled “Brothers” which to me signifies the history and the bond that exists between these three gentlemen. This piece oozes with energy and a sense of resolve as Lungelo’s relentless piano stretches. These guys occasionally flip it over and swing vigorously, this tune happens to be most influenced by the traditional jazz. Bulo plays a beautiful bass solo with Sphelelo’s comping behind him.
The next track is titled “Drums in Orbit (Lelo’s Interlude)”. This album contains about 3 interludes which are sequenced beautifully blending tracks into a seamless incessant music composite, this happens to be one of the most creative ideas on this album.
The tune “Who am I” ‘is constructed in a way that reminds me of the “Fusion music” of the 80’s and 90’s popularly made by the likes of Bob James, Dan Siegal, Dave Grusin. “Mehlclate part 1” is such a soulful and expressive hymn featuring Tshotetsi on alto sax. The band is just in its element as they play this piece since they have played this kind of sound for years in church. Part two of the same song is given a slightly uptempo dimension while the reprise version is probably my favourite piece on the album, it gives a glimpse of Bulo breaking lose and his passion for funk, and it also reveals Lungelo’s organ voice that he is popularly known for in Gospel music circles, pity this piece is only two minutes and thirty five seconds long. The band’s cohesiveness is striking yet the band members maintain their individual musical personalities,
“African Roots” is preceded and developed from “Bass-ic Talk (Bulo’s Interlude) which gives it the root note. It opens with an a West African influenced bassline comped by Lelo’s djembe influenced drumming, then settles into a steady reggae rhythm that gradually evolves into a persistent “Struggle” rhythm and infectious chant that goes with it, interestingly this particular “ghetto” sound is treated with sophistication as Lungelo graciously glades piano runs on top of it.
“Pray for Africa” is a hauntingly beautiful “praise and worship” piece fusing the traditional spiritual and a contemporary element featuring Tsotetsi on vocoder. The album closes with “Sea side” which is probably the one of the catchy pieces on the album and has the makings of a radio hit.
The sound quality of the record is average given the limitations of a live recording as opposed to a studio recording, however the music quality totally makes the live recording decision worth it.
An inspiring thing about this project is that the band members wrote, produced, engineered and did the graphics of the album sleeve themselves, they totally took ownership of their work. One of the special things about this record is that it comes with an eight page colour album sleeve which gives the record collectors an added pleasure of text and visuals that enhances a holistic music listening experience.
– Njabulo Madlala
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1. What Information We Collect
Africa Plus gathers two basic types of information through the Site: “Personally Identifiable Information” (or “PII”) and “Non-Personally Identifiable Information” (or “Non-PII”). PII is information that identifies or can identify you as an individual (such as residential address, telephone number, or billing information) and Non-PII is aggregated information, demographic information, IP addresses and any other information that does not reveal your specific identity.
a. When you visit and interact with the Site, Africa Plus and third parties with whom Africa Plus has contracted to provide services to Africa Plus may collect Non-PII (for example, a catalog of the Site pages you visit). Non-PII is anonymous and does not identify you personally. Non-PII is generally collected through the Site from four different sources: Internet protocol addresses and web logs; cookies; pixel tags and other similar technologies; and other Non-PII that you voluntarily provide (as explained below).
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2. How Information We Collect Is Used
a. Non-Personally Identifiable Information. Because Non-PII does not personally identify you, we may use such information for any purpose. For example, we may use Non-PII to measure the number of visits, average time spent on the Site and pages viewed as well as to diagnose problems with our servers and to administer the Site. We may then use this information to analyze and improve the features and functionality of this Site. We may use non-PII information about you and other Site visitors on an aggregate basis to sell and deliver advertising, promotions and content that we believe will be of interest to you.
In addition, we reserve the right to share such Non-PII, which does not personally identify you, with third parties, for any purpose. For example, we may share information with advertisers or other third parties that are not part of the Africa Plus family on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose any of your PII.
In some instances, we may combine Non-PII with PII (such as embedding email addresses in cookies). If we do combine any Non-PII with PII, the combined information will be treated as PII as long as it is so combined. This “combined” PII is not shared with third parties, except as described in this Policy.
b. Personally Identifiable Information.
i. Site. We may use PII you give us to better tailor your website experience to your interests, and to show you content in which you may be interested and to display the content according to your preferences. We may also share your PII within the Africa Plus business family in order to enhance your experience on other Africa Plus websites if you opt in to allow us to do so. To the extent we do so, we make sure that your PII receives the same level of protection throughout the Africa Plus business family. Please note that such sharing may involve the collection use, storage, or disclosure of PII outside the Republic of South Africa.
ii. Communications. If you choose to opt-in, we may use your PII to send you information about Africa Plus and its services as well as promotional material on behalf of some of our partners. If at any time you change your mind and prefer to no longer receive such marketing communications from us, please see the “Opt-In Policy” section below.
iv. Fulfillment of Requests. Africa Plus may use your PII to fulfill the purpose for which such PII was provided (e.g., to confirm your registration or fulfill your purchase).
v. Facilitation of Transactions. Please note that, at times, forms on the Site may be pre-populated with your PII in order to facilitate a transaction between you and Africa Plus.
vi. Internal Business Purposes. We may also use your PII for our internal business purposes, such as to target advertising, for data analysis, for audits and for other internal purposes.
vii. Shopping/Commercial Services. This Site may offer merchandise and/or ticket purchase services, which may be offered by us or by one of our e-commerce partners. To the extent the merchandise and/or ticket purchase services are offered by one of our e-commerce partners, such e-commerce partner will be collecting and using the PII you provide. For more information regarding your transactions with our e-commerce partners, please refer to Section 4(b) below.
To the extent Africa Plus is the entity offering the purchase services, when you make a purchase through the Site, we may collect your credit card number or other payment account number (for example, your PayPal account number), billing address and other information related to such purchase (collectively, “Payment Information”) from you. We will use the Payment Information that you provide to bill you for your purchase and to fulfill your purchase. By providing your Payment Information, you are authorizing us to give that information to third parties as necessary to confirm and fulfill your order (for example, to process your credit card or payment account number and to send you products you have ordered).
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x. Newsletter and Magazine Subscriptions. When you complete the ticket purchase for our shows, you will be automatically enrolled in our newsletter. In addition, for some shows you may receive a complimentary subscription to a trade magazine. For this purpose, we will provide your name and mailing address to the magazine subscription fulfillment company. You may choose to simultaneously opt out of both subscriptions during the checkout process.
3. How Personally Identifiable Information We Collect Is Disclosed
a. Affiliate Communications. If you choose to opt-in, we may share your PII with our affiliates, including Africa Plus owned, operated or managed venues where Africa Plus produced events occur and promoters or sponsors of Africa Plus events, so that our affiliates may send you announcements and notifications of events, products or services that might be of interest to you. For further information, please see the “Opt-In Policy” section below.
b. Third Party Communications. If you choose to opt-in to third party communications, we may also share your PII with third parties to allow such third parties to send promotional communications to you. For further information, please see the “Opt-In Policy” section below.
c. Africa Plus Service Providers. We work with third parties who provide services including but not limited to data analysis, order fulfillment, credit card processing and other services of an administrative nature. If you use our services, we reserve the right to share your PII with such third parties for the purpose of enabling these third parties to provide such services. We take reasonable steps to ensure these third parties treat PII in a manner comparable to how we do so.
In the event that you encounter any Site user who you believe is improperly collecting or using information about you or other users, please visit our Help Page to send us an email about such collection or use.
4. Collection of Information By Third Parties
d. Third Party Advertising. The ads appearing on this Site are delivered to you by our Web advertising partner. Non-PII about your visits to this Site, such as number of times you have viewed an ad, is used to serve ads to you. In the course of serving advertisements to this Site, our third-party advertiser may place or recognize a unique cookie on your browser.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POLICY DOES NOT ADDRESS THE PRIVACY OR INFORMATION PRACTICES OF ANY THIRD PARTIES.
5. Opt-In Policy
a. Africa Plus Communications. When you supply Africa Plus with PII, from time-to-time, in Africa Plus’s discretion, you may be asked to indicate whether you are interested in receiving information from us about special offers in connection with the Site, Africa Plus and/or our advertisers and partners. If you do choose to opt-in to receive such communications, we may, from time to time, send you marketing communications. If at any time you change your mind and no longer wish to receive marketing communications from us, you may opt-out of such marketing communications by either:
i. Using the link provided in our newsletters or commercial email messages to opt-out of receiving further marketing communications from us; or
ii. Changing your contact preference to “Do Not Contact Me” at any time by using the “Ask a Question” tab on our Help Page.
If you decide to contact us to change your contact preference, Africa Plus will implement this change in a reasonable time frame. Please be aware that your requested change will not be effective until Live Nation implements such change, and such requests will be implemented only in connection with your Site profile, and will not impact any preferences you may have made to any other site controlled, owned or operated by Africa Plus or its affiliates.
b. Affiliate and Third Party Communications. From time-to-time in Africa Plus’s discretion, you may be provided with the opportunity to opt-in to receive offers directly from Live Nation, our affiliates and/or from third parties. If you do choose to accept any such offer(s), any PII provided to Africa Plus for such purposes may be shared with our affiliates and such third-party partner(s), to allow our affiliates and/or such third parties to provide you with such offers. If you change your mind and would prefer that we no longer share your PII with our affiliates and/or with third parties for their marketing purposes, you may opt-out of such future sharing at any time by using the “Ask a Question” tab on our Help Page, and specifying which choice you are opting out from, provided however, you may not be able to opt out of certain third party offers that are displayed on our Site.
6. Use of This Site by Children.
7. Accessing, Updating or Deleting Information Collected About You.
This Site also gives you the opportunity to modify or remove PII that you have provided to us by way of this Site. You may do so by modifying your password-protected registered user information on the Site. To the extent that such information is stored in our databases, we will respond to your changes as soon as reasonably possible, although please understand that although this information, once deleted, is not available on the Site, that information may remain stored indefinitely in our backup and archival records. To the extent that such information is not stored in our databases, we cannot always ensure that these corrections or deletions will reach such other databases in a timely manner.
8. Security of Your PII.
Africa Plusemploys reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for PII collected through this Site, including physical, electronic and operational measures to maintain security and prevent unauthorized access. While Africa Plus takes all appropriate steps to safeguard PII under our control, unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or method of storing data can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As such, we cannot guarantee that PII supplied by users will not be accessed on our servers, or intercepted while being transmitted to us over the Internet. We assume no liability for any damages you may suffer as a result of interception, alteration or misuse of information during such transfers. If you have reason to believe that there has been any breach of the security of the Site, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Offline vs. Online practices.
10. Contacting Musictoday Regarding this Site.
If you have any questions concerning this Policy, you may send them by email to our Privacy Officer at email@example.com. Please note that email communications will not necessarily be secure; accordingly you should not include credit card information or other sensitive information in your email correspondence with us. You must send any official correspondence via postal mail to:
Prince Bulo Productions.
260 Problem Mkhize Road
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal 4001
Attention: General Counsel
11. Access to Your PII.
We appreciate your assistance in keeping your PII up to date and accurate. You are entitled to access, verify, amend and/or correct your PII collected by Africa Plus. You are encouraged to contact our Privacy Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the above postal address to verify, correct or update your PII. If you have a concern regarding the collection, use or disclosure of your PII by Africa Plus, please contact our Privacy Officer. Your concern will be investigated and you will be notified as soon as possible of the outcome of the investigation and any action required as a result.