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Started in 1996, as a conceptual band 'project' under the guidance of renowned South African 'muso' and DJ Oscar, BONGO MAFFIN delivers a strong South African sound, intermingled with global characteristics.
Bongo Maffin's The Concerto is their first release under the Sony Columbia label. The release, however is their third album, and aptly manages in its progression to further their creativity, and continue to pay homage to the various musicians who have influenced their unique sound.
It is interesting to note that none of the artists stem from a musical background, yet they are driven by a common passion for music. Appleseed was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and it was not until later years, and after a degree in quantity surveying, that his interest in music led him to the DJ world. He brings to Bongo Maffin a distinct reggae influence.
Stoan, with a background in marketing and advertising, began his musical career as a backing vocalist for Thebe, one of Sony South Africa's fastest growing kwaito artists. Thandi (Red) joined Bongo Maffin in 1997, after working extensively with the band, has a degree in international relations and English, and moved into the musical arena as a backing singer and session musician.
The band's music format falls under the kwaito umbrella, but has managed to distinctly form a subculture of its own. Music is written together, with each member relating to one another on a creative level; ideas are built on a similar outlook to life, and shared experience allows the music to develop and see fruition.
The band has seen much success and development since 1996. They have shared the stage with Skunk Anansie, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, and Boyz2Men. They have all worked with talented musicians, such as jazz icon Hugh Masekela, and have been approached by international producers to remix various works.
1999 saw Bongo Maffin win the South African Music Award in the category "Best Kwaito Artist." The band have also been honored to perform at Nelson Mandela's birthday.
The new millennium has brought further growth and challenges - in March/April 2000, the group participated on the World Wild Grooves Tour in France, and also performed in England.
Bongo Maffin strives to reach a South African and international audience, and pursued an intensive domestic touring schedule during 2000. The group continued to generate international interest, and toured Denmark in August and September 2000.
The group commenced recording a new album in January 2001 and continued domestic performances between post-production sessions. A new album - Bongolution - was released last June, and Bongo Maffin continues to build new audiences in Africa and abroad.