I have to credit this month’s issue (July 2019) of Wire magazine for prompting me to include this little piece.
There is absolutely no reason why I or anybody should be surprised at the fact that punk, and metal music are popular in Africa.
But it seems the case that I / we, are indeed surprised. In fairness, it’s more simply a case that we don’t often, if at all, have the opportunity to listen to those particular genres of music from that part of the world. It’s not promoted so much in the UK for instance, and indeed a Google search for ‘Afropunk’ or ‘Punk Africa’ etc doesn’t result in much other a few pages dedicated to the various annual festivals in USA and UK that do actively celebrate live music, film, fashion, and art produced by black artists.
This needs sorting right now! So, to add a little weight to the superb Wire article, and the short documentary made for German TV (see at the end of this piece) here’s what I can muster about Kenyan punk band, Crystal Axis.
The five-piece released their debut EP, ‘State of Unease‘ in 2012 when they were in their late teens. The music reflected the lads’ thoughts on the violence they witnesses during their country’s turbulent elections of 2007.
All went quiet on the band front for about five years as the the members graduated into further education.
However, they were to return mid 2017 with the release of the ‘Leopold’ a hard-hitting punk anthem, about King Leopold and the Belgian colonisation of the Congo. Although principally aimed at one person, the song is pertinent to all previous and subsequent colonisation.
This track shows how much the band matured in their time away. Guitarist Djae Aroni, who studied in the UK at Cantebury university, says the band are constantly gigging and recording with a view to releasing an album at some point in the near future.
Meantime, the band are to appear in the UK this summer. They will be performing in London, late June, at the brilliant sounding, Decolonise Fest.
Go check ’em out.