In 2003 Freshlyground – Conference Entertainers launched their debut album, Jika Jika under their own Freeground Records label, the immediate success of which firmly cemented the band as one of South Africa’s most successful young acts.
Freshlyground formed in early 2002, and is made up of seven talented and diverse musicians from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Fronted by the diminutive but dynamic Zolani Mahola, the band exudes a live performance energy that has been the bedrock of their success.
The experienced rhythm section of Peter Cohen (drums) & Josh Hawks (bass) is complimented by guitarist Julio Sigauque, keyboardist Seredeal Scheepers, Simon Attwell (flute, mbira, sax and harmonica) and violinist Kyla Rose Smith.
Although hailing from diverse backgrounds, between them the band’s members weave a musical magic that is highly infectious and undeniably groovy.
Freshlyground – Conference Entertainers released their second studio album Nomvula in July 2004. Nomvula was recorded and produced by JB Arthur and Sibusiso Victor Masondo.
The album sparked interest from Sony BMG Africa, who signed the band and released Nomvula in September that year. Radio quickly picked up on the single ‘Doo Be Doo’ and the catchy song went on to become a crossover favorite amongst a diverse spread of stations and their listeners.
‘Doo Be Doo’ was the most played song in South Africa in 2005.
The major success of ‘Doo Be Doo’ was followed by the singles ‘I’d Like’, ‘Zithande’, ‘Things Have Changed’ and the title track of the album Nomvula.
The album sold 300 000 units in South Africa alone- earning it multi-platinum status. The success and broad appeal of the band was celebrated in November 2006 when Freshly Ground-Conference Band Entertainers won the MTV Europe Award in the category Best African Act.
The award placed the band firmly on the international music map and earned them further recognition on home soil as significant South African cultural exports.
The success of Nomvula was followed by Ma Cheri – Freshlyground’s third studio album, released in September 2007.
The album’s release was followed by a major South African tour attended by over 25 000 people across four cities. The tour was produced by Freshlyground and supported by Volkswagen South Africa .
The tour successfully raised the performance and production standards of local touring, putting the band on par with international acts in terms of production scale and value.
Ma Cheri has sold 80 000 units to date in South Africa and the single Pot Belly is another major crossover success, and is play listed on all South African radio stations.
Five years on Freshlyground – Conference Entertainers are a still a sensation. In South Africa audiences of every race cram in to see them. Old people get up and dance.