SA Music Explodes Internationally

Though perhaps not many people outside of South African’s realise it, a large number of South African musicians have already been making it big on the music scene in Europe and the United States. We are not referring to musicians who are obviously South African – such as Mango Groove, the Soweto String Quartet and Johnny Clegg who have all created their own small niche in global markets – we are talking about bands who have hit the international music scene in such a big way that they’ve climbed the charts, turned heads and even dominated the music scene for a while.


For most people from the US, the UK and Australia, the most recognised South African band is most likely Seether (formerly Saron Gas), whose tour with Evanescence was probably their catapult to international fame. Their songs have been used as soundtracks to movies such as The Punisher, Freddy vs. Jason and Daredevil and have even been used by Nintendo for the game 1080 degrees Avalanche. Seether continues to tour both South Africa and the UK and US.

Another popular South African band is Just Jinjer (formerly Just Jinger). Just Jinjer has the prestige of being the biggest selling rock band in the history of South Africa. It has sold over 240,000 units and is still going strong. After performing for local audiences for a few years, the band headed overseas to see how well they could do. After just a few short years, Just Jinjer has performed with the likes of U2, the Counting Crows and Def Leopard. They have toured the US, the UK and even Dubai and have a strong global following.

The two bands mentioned above are, for many South African musicians, the epitome of success. Until recently, South African bands have not had the opportunity to embark on world tours – which as been one of primary ways to reach a level of international fame.

However, things are changing.

Still relatively new on the South African music scene, the Parlotones have recently signed an international deal with Universal Music. This was the result of having one of their songs ‘Beautiful’ used in an Irish Fuji film advertisement. Now, without having even left local shores, the band is looking at having their SAMA winning album entitled ‘Radio controlled robot’ released in Ireland, Germany, France, the UK, Holland and Japan – and that’s just the start for this diverse and entertaining band.

Another group well worth mentioning is Freshlyground. Recently nominated for Best African Act at the MTV Europe Awards, they are likely to start seeing a lot of international recognition too. Their unique and distinctly South African flavour will no doubt score them millions of fans around the globe. And while Freshlyground carve up the music industry in their own unique way, Goldfish is creating a stir at dance clubs and gigs across Britain.

There are hundreds of excellent South African bands who are working hard at gaining a reputation for themselves locally and who will likely follow the footsteps of bands like Seether, Just Jinjer and Freshlyground in their own time. The South African music industry has never been riper for the picking and local fans can be proud to have seen their favourite bands go from nothing to everything. So keep an eye on South African music because there will undoubtedly be a lot more talent coming out of this colourful country.