If you’re looking for contemporary music that catches the edgy undertone of South Africa and layers it with the exuberance of youth and the madness of our culture, John Wizards is the band you should have on your headset right now.
Made up of an eclectic mix of six, the band has become a phenomenon and will be seen at internationally respected festivals including Glastonbury and Primavera during 2014.
“I started writing some of the music a few years ago and then I met Jean Thierry Nzaramba. He’d just moved here from Rwanda and was looking to make some music,” says John Withers, founder of the band.
“We began finishing off the songs with his vocals and then invited others to join us until we ended up with the band as it is today.”
Inspired by diverse musical influences that include the Congolese Rumba and a blend of synthesised and recorded sound, the songs are effortless and light.
The band consists of Raphael Segerman, Jean Thierry Nzaramba, Geoffrey Brink, Alex Montgomery, Thomas Parker and John Withers and they each bring something unique to the overall sound and structure of the music and the group.
Their degrees vary from a master’s in economics to a postgraduate in philosophy to a bachelor of arts, none of which related to music – that is something they describe as a passion.
“I did a bachelor of arts in English literature and Xhosa communication, but being obsessed with music since I was 12 has played a more forceful role in my development,” says Geoffrey Brink.
The band is very much a gathering of young, talented and dynamic people who are taking the rich flavour of South African- and Africa-inspired music to the international stage, and doing a good job with it too. — Tamsin Oxford