Radio Kalahari Orkes has released a brand new album, MAMBA! – their first official new album in 5 years. The album was written over the last couple of years, recorded at StoepStudios in Johannesburg and produced by Dan Roberts.

Radio Kalahari Orkes is a roots music band; revivalists who delve into the past (and around the globe) for inspiration, though the words are generally rooted in the present. They aim for music that starts with your feet, goes through your heart and ends up in your head. The musical progression of Radio Kalahari Orkes is organic; each album is a report back as to where the writers are at the time of the recording, seeking to make music that reflects where we are at that moment in time with tunes that seem to come out of another age.

’n Honderd Jaar Agter Die Tye – Maar Steeds Op Die Spoor.

The writers: Rian Malan, Dan and Ian Roberts and, on MAMBA!, they are joined by writer and poet Jaco van der Merwe of Bittereinder. Each has their own distinct voice but are united by the subject matter: The lives of the disparate people and the land on the Southern Tip of this continent that they find themselves on. The album features songs of myth, historical yarns, political insights, the sins of our fathers, love affairs from the Moot and along the way, a good laugh. Musically, they believe that if a song doesn’t make you dance or smile, it should make you cry and of course it is a bonus if all three happen at the same time.

The title, like all their other album titles a single word, MAMBA! is hot and wild, there’s a bounce in the beat of the word and it’s the unmistakeable sound of Africa (Of course it is also a very scary, but very beautiful snake.). MAMBA! reflects the Trans African theme of central songs on the album such as Kilimanjaro – a journey to the mountain of the Moon, and Encantador – a Portuguese Fado set in Mozambique in the time of revolution. For MAMBA!, more languages have also started to appear besides Afrikaans (English and Xhosa) and musically, gypsy music is much more evident compared to their previous albums.

Radio Kalahari Orkes is the Orkes of the legendary Radio Kalahari in Slangfontein, a place we’re not totally sure exists, but we do know is deep in the Kalahari. Late at night while traveling on it’s dusty roads, you may come across the channel well over to the left side of the dial. It starts out sounding like ghosts form another world and then fills your radio with tunes. It’s a place where you can go in your mind. A mythical alternate world where you can be what you want to be. It’s a bit crazy and unexplainable.

“We’ve worked hard to be true to our mission to entertain the feet, the heart and the head and report back and write about our common experience here on the Southern Tip. Listen to the album more than once and the songs will creep up on you; this is the opposite of pop doef doef. Get a fine stick of biltong, a good knife and a bottle of red wine, then sit back and enjoy the album.”

Photo by Dan Roberts

We had a chat with them, check it out:

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We see BOBBEJAANVLEI was released a few days ago, what inspired you to create the music video for BOBBEJAANVLEI?

This song is classic RKO. Tongue in cheek, cute story, skoffel rhythm. The music video was inspired by the iconic Norman Rockwell paintings and crazy creative Dan Roberts directed the filming.

Mamba! Is dropping on 1 March 2017? What makes this album different to your previous releases?

The Mamba! album is an eclectic mix of songs, From simple, comedic shuffles to big, epic soundscapes. a la film score music. We all got together for a week in December of 2015 and wrote and recorded the songs in that time. We wanted to be a bit more broad in our sound so there’s Afrikaans, African beats, Kwaito, ballads… all sorts

Are there any collaborations on Mamba! As on your previous albums?

Yes, we did a song with Les Javan on this album.

Awesome! Who would you say are your greatest musical influences?

Wow! The whole band is involved with writing so my goodness, that is a big list! From country to bluegrass to metal and hip hop…

Strangest venue you’ve ever played, or strangest thing to happen on stage?

Hanky Hotel, hands down. A woman came on stage during the drum solo and molested the violin player on stage!!

Jinne! What inspires you to create music in South Africa?

We are musicians! We must ma create music. We speak from what we know. We try to tell stories and give commentary on the ever changing political and social landscape of our land.

Do you have any other projects you would like your fans to know about?

We are busy making a music video for Shuffle Shuffle, a song about giants shaping the earth with their dancing.

Joh! MAMBA! is set for official release on 1 March 2017 at The Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria. How can people get tickets?

Computicket, we after putting together a really epic show and we hope all our supporters will join us.

They will 😉 Last question, where can people find you after The Atterbury Theatre show?
We have a Free State tour next week; 23/02 at Die Punt in Bethlehem, 24/02 Aasvoelklub in Bloemfontein, 25/02 at the Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre in Welkom. 24/03 we will be at the Saronberg Theatre and the next day catch us at Oesfees. 26/04 We will be at Tarentaal Theatre. All new gig updates will be here or on our Facebook page (Radio Kalahari), for booking you call our manager on 011 244 2168.

Thanks for the chat, we’ll see you soon!