The Soil – Summerhall, Edinburgh, Thu 6 Nov (4 stars)

The Soil – Summerhall, Edinburgh, Thu 6 Nov

South African trio put on stellar performance of unique township soul

Since their hit Fringe run in 2013, the Soil are no strangers to Scottish music-lovers. Tonight, preceded by lovely support from Zimbabwean acoustic duo Rise, they envelop Summerhall’s chilly, austere dissection room with a bewitching blend of soaring vocals, slick beatboxing and cheeky patter.

This performance is part of the UK-wide Afrovibes festival in conjunction with local festival Africa in Motion, which this year includes live music for the first time. The trio that make up the Soil – Master P, Da FanArtistic and Buhle – are symbols of modern South Africa’s blend of past and present, 20 years after the end of apartheid. They present themselves as the heirs of Sophiatown (the black cultural hub in Johannesburg that was destroyed in the late 1950s) and their tunes blend influence from that era’s musical icons, such as Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela, with contemporary urban sounds to create a distinctive form of township soul.

There’s maybe a touch more mention of God than your average British audience is generally comfortable with, but the Soil’s music certainly has a heavenly quality. At tonight’s gig, the convivial audience spans several generations and communities, each one rapt at the trio’s infectiously loveable tunes and itching to jump out of their seats for the dance-filled finale.

Summerhall, Edinburgh, Thu 6 Nov.

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