Count Drachma

Count Drachma play Zulu and Xhosa, Maskandi style interpretations of folk songs; the only band in Britain currently doing so.

Count Drachma's official bio

Count Drachma play Zulu and Xhosa, Maskandi style interpretations of folk songs from many traditions, including Bantu, Ndebele, Gaelic and Appalachian – the only band in Britain currently doing so.

The group is lyrically influenced by South African artists (especially Mahlathini, Thandiswa and Ntombethongo), musically by Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab and Connecticut’s tUnEyArDs. Playing traditional Zulu and Xhosa folk songs over psychedelic pop beats, as well as their own translated and original material, Count Drachma offer a truly unique glimpse into the musical melting pot of cosmopolitan South Africa, where half the band grew up learning the languages.

After a busy 2013 playing six Sofar Sounds sessions, 3 BBC radio plays, a main stage slot at Wilderness plus appearances at several other UK festivals, an 18-date summer 2014 and some new recordings in October … They call themselves post-folk.

“And while the honey-coated vocals and lilting guitar style are instantly recognisable, the lyrics are far more exotic — consisting of Zulu and Xhosa folk songs inspired by his native South Africa. Lovely stuff it is too; delicate yet powerful enough to silence a buzzing room.” – Oxford Times

“Think of a mix between Paul Simon and the Owimy Sigoma Band and you’re on the right track … this guy is singing so powerfully.” – Reviewed at the Sebright Arms, 2014

“…Oli & Rob Steadman, who are the beating heart of the band … native South Africans, Zulu speakers, and share a deep love of their homeland’s indiginous maskandi music. The Jo’burg rhythms are spliced with looped saxophones, ‘reggaeton’ percussion and the kind of Celtic flavours you’d expect…” – Oxford Times

“Captivating and refreshingly original” – Reviewed at St Pancras Church London, 2012

“Count Drachma transported the audience to their native South Africa with their zulu beats … their melodies flowed in a sea of colour and with saxophone grooves and bass-harmonicas aplenty, the set featured a medley of various folk tunes, lullabies, and even a song about a shape-shifting lizard. – Reviewed at Modern Art Oxford, 2012

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