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Get to know Joburg’s most intriguing musical mavericks

The Brother Moves On (TBMO), so named because it is a constantly revolving collective of South African artists, are cut from a different cloth. Part music, part performance art, part spoken word, part folkloric political statement, the group’s experimental concoction of sights and sounds defy categorization.

Blood brothers Nkululeko and Siyabonga Mthembu aka Mr Gold first formed TBMO in 2009 with their cousin Zelizwe Mthembu aka Makongela and Raytheon Moorvan. Other co-conspirators came and went while the Johannesburg-based outfit released two EPs and made their mark on the local scene. Very sadly Nkululeko died late last year but true to his spirit, TBMO promptly released their debut album A New Myth. As they head to London for some live shows, TBMO let loose on KISUA.

So what’s TBMO all about, then?
The ghost inside the magic; the stranglers of an innocent idea of bringing performance art to its knees through costume, music and storytelling.

How many Brothers have moved on so far?
Nkululeko Mthembu moved on to the afterlife, we hope he’s dropping a mixtape on that side. BJ Engelbrecht opened a live music venue. Tito Zwane got a job. Malcolm Jiyane is a trombone and piano god in the jazz world, he’s featured on Herbie Tsoaeli’s latest offering. Nkululeko Biyane plays bass for Impande Core. There are more brothers but seriously their lives are boring.

What has been your most memorable gig to date?
The Bushfire Festival 2013 in Swaziland. We played on the main stage to over 20,000 people and got an encore.

Are you happiest in the studio or on stage?
On stage, definitely. Our fire is in our performance whereas we’re still infants in the studio. But as growing musicians and artist we are working towards diversifying our portfolios and have ideas for our second album already.

Which new band is the world not ready for (besides yourselves, of course)?
A Cape Town outfit known as Bateleur.

Fela Kuti or Bob Marley?
Phillip Tabane - he's a rock star, just ask Hugh Masekela.

What could the world do without right now?
Television, the government, clip on neckties, the Grammys, the Nobel Peace Prize, Facebook, genres and advertising.

TBMO play London’s Roundhouse on 20th and 23rd February, 2014. 

Images: Chris Saunders

Words: Siphiwe Mpye & Helen Jennings


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