Those who have seen the fantastic documentary “Punk In Africa” already know about National Wake, the pioneering multi-racial (post) punk/reggae band from South Africa. Those who don’t are in for a definite treat. During their all too brief existence (roughly 76-81), the band managed to break just about every barrier they came across, musical or otherwise. Living in a group house despite apartheid regulations? Check. Playing a brilliant mixture of South African marabi grooves combined with Jamaican reggae and Anglo-American punk? Check. Playing to audiences of all cultures and races, all over South Africa? Check. Creating their own soundsystem to enable DIY performances outside of the government controlled clubs? Check. And, even better? The music still holds up brilliantly, carrying the same charge of excitement, anger, and brash self-confidence as the day it was made.
The mixtape contains not only a number of National Wake tracks, but also interviews with band members and tracks from the groups that they formed in the aftermath of National Wake’s dissolution. It’s been put together by the fine folks who made the “Punk in Africa” documentary, and with whom we are collaborating to create an Afropop program based on their work. So stay tuned for more! And in the meantime, give this mix a serious listen.