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Tumi & The Volume

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Conveying the gamut of emotions representative of post-apartheid South Africa, Tumi and the Volume have been one of the few of the nation's hip-hop acts to break through on an international stage. Led by the Native Tongues-inspired, poet-MC Tumi Molekane, the Johannesburg-based band combine their progressive hip-hop recipe with elements of rock, spoken word, and African jazz and pop. The origins of the band lie at the Bassline club in Melville, a trendy northwestern suburb of Johannesburg. Bassist David Bergman and drummer Paul Chibanga, who were part of the club's house band, came to meet Molekane at one of the Bassline's open mike poetry nights. The band loved his writings and performance and decided to form a musical outfit. By 2002, Tumi and the Volume's formation was finalized in Johannesburg with band members Bergman, Chibanga, new guitarist Tiago Paulo, replacing a musician who left, and violinist Kyla Rose Smith. Recorded in 2002, the band's first album, Live at the Bassline, was met with critical praise upon its 2003 release, including nominations for three South African Music Awards; with all the new attention, however, Smith departed the group shortly thereafter. Their initial success took them all the way to Canada where they joined the African Way tour with headliner K'Naan in 2005. The band earned more tour spots throughout Europe and, of course, southern Africa, performing next to veteran acts such as the Roots, Blackalicious, Massive Attack, and Coldplay. In 2006, the quartet offered their self-titled second effort, yet first studio LP, Tumi and the Volume. ~ Cyril Cordor


2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Years Active: