The Soil (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

The Soil

Spiritual and uplifting a cappella songs from South African trio

'We usually sing these songs until the sun comes up', Buhle Mda, the lady of Kasi Soul trio The Soil, tells us, bemoaning the lack of time afforded by an hour-long slot. At this point their boundless spirit and musical synergy render such an idea nothing less than idyllic.

A cappella can sometimes be a dubious or unrealised premise, but here the threesome generate genuinely incredible music using only their voices. It’s a beautiful thing to witness: sumptuous vocal harmonies pulsing with South African rhythms, high-pitched male notes matching Mda’s silky but robust outpourings. Underpinning each song is a morphing arrangement of humming and beat boxing, often mimicking instruments.

Selected stirring numbers are annotated with anecdotes around their origins, moving from the jubilant and thankful ‘Joy’ and a humorous song about rejection to a poignant dedication to Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa) and expression of thanks to Tanzania for helping their country during apartheid. The audience – apparently the largest so far – revel in it, clapping, openly grinning and breaking the conventions of a lecture theatre venue by standing up to dance. Before getting 'kicked out' for being on stage too long, an imagining of a blissful South African town proves spiritual and uplifting.

Assembly George Square, until Aug 25, 19.10-20.10 12£-11£ (14£-13£)


  • 4 stars

Native Rhythms and Assembly. A SATMA award winning three member a cappella group whose music can be described as Kasi soul, features a contemporary township style: an eclectic mix of musical genres such as jazz, hip hop, Afro-Pop and Afro-Soul with constant beatboxing. Having paid their dues as a performing group in South…