Soweto band protests South Africa's inequality
Featured Act: BCUC
(Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness
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South African BCUC’s latest album is Millions of Us


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BCUC are the opening act on the Sunday evening Main Stage at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival which runs July 19 – 21


Soweto band BCUC protests South Africa’s inequality

Today’s South African protest music draws on the historic anti-apartheid songs of towering artists like Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela from the 60s through the 80s. Now it’s dynamic groups like Soweto’s BCUC – Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness – who are leading the charge in a disappointing and different fight.

Since 2003 we have wanted to be a band that would change the way people think about music from Africa … we are still on the mission to use music as a vehicle to manoeuvre and negotiate the storms of human relations for the purpose of better understanding across colors, social issues and locations,” says BCUC’s lead singer Nkosi “Jovi” Zithulele.

South African Blacks imagined a more just future when the Black-led African National Congress took power in 1994. Instead they have more of the same. After 30 years in government the ANC is a target for civil unrest spurred by government corruption, food insecurity, housing shortages and more.

BCUC’s name means ‘the man who walks to freedom of consciousness’. The seven-piece band is renowned for its dynamic, lengthy performances featuring exotic rhythms assimilating rock, funk and psychedelic grooves in long form songs sung in all 11 South African dialects. Their bold rhythmic sound encompasses a range of genres including Afrobeat, hip-hop with a punk edge, a nod to township melodies and more.

The Financial Times says: “Soweto’s Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness have built a reputation as a festival band, playing long, percussive songs that switch from angry denunciation to spiritual yearning to declamatory incantation.” The New York Times: “BCUC bring punk-rock energy and hypnotic rhythms to social activism.”

On their Bandcamp page BCUC’s mission statement includes: “We draw inspiration from Indigenous music that is not exposed in the mainstream. We sing ritual songs, around the fire hood songs; shebeen songs, church songs and we infuse them with raps and a rock and roll attitude.
“We are the now generation. We are relevant; we are “the man on the street’’.
It is music for the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, with the PEOPLE.”

Catch this powerhouse band live at the folk festival in July.

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About Festival 47

The 47th Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival runs from July 19 to 21

Early Bird tickets are available and you can purchase them at The Festival

Listen to the excellent 40-song Festival sampler curated by the discerning ear of Artistic Director Fiona Black. And while you’re there check out Adounia by Etran de L’Air and I Don’t Want to Get Married by Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves.

The full artist line-up and Main Stage 3-Night line-up

On Spotify

On YouTube