'For Original People!' The crowd screams back in togetherness. The maestro smiles and hits them with another song.
Tidal Waves are widely regarded as the hardest working reggae band in South Africa, playing gigs from Oppikoppi to Pretoria, Cape Town to Potchefstroom. Originally from Klerksdorp, a small dustbowl gold mining town about two hours South of Johannesburg, the band is now based in Yeoville, Jozi.
Tidal Waves is made up of four very gifted musicians, the core of the group is held together by Jacob 'Zakes' Wulana on guitar, harmonica and vocals and Sam 'Drumbo' Shoai on drums and vocals. 'Lucky' Nhlanhla Mthalane is on the bass and Ruben 'Toply' Faku plays the keys, both currently reside in Tembisa township on the outskirts of Jozi.
Tidal Waves write and perform original reggae music with traditional African musical influences like maskandi and mbaqanga. The sound is original roots reggae with strong rock, ska and blues strands. Like all good reggae, their lyrics are socially conscious and uplifting, railing against the government for not respecting the Rainbow Nation and imploring their fans to stand up for integration and one love. Other songs have deeply rooted anti war sentiments, while others lament the sad tales of urban South African poverty and the struggle to survive as musicians in the global capitalist economy.
At every show you will hear the Tidal Waves chant: 'Original music for original people!'
Their performances are always high energy and the band plays regularly in Johannesburg and Pretoria as well as touring and gigging in Cape Town and smaller dorps around the country. The band has also played at the Oppikoppi Music festival, South Africa's premier live music festival, for many years. Internationally, Tidal Waves have taken their original music to Mozambique, Swaziland and as far abroad as New Zealand and Europe. They have recently returned from a rocking tour of Europe where they played the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium, as well as a packed schedule of medium sized venues across Belgium and Italy.
'Tidal Waves played a steaming and catching reggae set at this year's
Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.' Says Chokri Mahassine from Pukkelpop. 'It was amazing to see how they pulled a fully crowded tent at an alternative festival at the same time as Nick Cave was playing, and got all the people to dance. They really represented the good and bad sides of South Africa with their warm and sunny, but also political music. Off stage we greatly appreciated these 100% pure people.'
'I've seen Tidal Waves play in a lot of diiferent places already.' Says Hans De Reydt of Blafhik Productions. 'From a youth house to a casino, from a pub to the famous Pukkelpop festival and I must say, they impress every audience. Definitely one of the best live bands that I have had the pleasure to work with.'
Tidal Waves are widely respected in South African music circles as an honest, hard working band with an original sound, irie vibes and a dynamic live performance. Because of this they have some of the most ardent, die-hard fans and supporters in the SA music industry. And at every gig you will hear the chant:
'Original music for original people!'
1999 - Hard Work (Jozi Vibes / BMG)
2002 - Harmonijah (Independent Release)
2005 - Muzik an da Method (Independent Release)
2008 - Afrika