Hammarsdale - EP
On their sophomore release, The Joy captures the experiences of growing up in Hammarsdale while distilling the sounds heard across their hometown. Adorning traditional Zulu sounds with components of Afro-soul, hip-hop, and electronic sounds, the group—consisting of Melokuhle Mkhungo, Ntokozo Bright Magcaba, Siphelele Sandile Hlophe, Phelelani Sithole and Sanele Ngcobo—creates a framework for vocally driven, contemporary Afropop. Replete with isicathamiya cadences, maskandi-inspired licks, and choral flourishes, Hammarsdale further incorporates the aesthetics of producers MNEK, Two Inch Punch, and Henri Davies. As these sonic worlds align, the KwaZulu-Natal denizens impart relatable tales bearing themes such as romance (“Izolo”), loss (“Heartbreaker”), and covetousness (“Umona,” “Imali”). Harmoniously weaving storytelling between airy synths, rhythmic percussion, and intricate guitar work, The Joy transcends locales by eliciting emotion through textured vocals—as the soothing reminder of their a cappella origins “Mashaya Kancane” attests.