Album review: Nakhane Touré - 'Brave Confusion'
So, I finally tackle getting words onto paper to describe Nakhane Touré’s debut album.
This is one that required much thought because the singer-songwriter from Eastern Cape blew me away from his very first performance and I’ve been left teary and choked up at every performance since.
He goes in, balls blazing with Brave Confusion, which is not only a work of art; it’s a work of soul.
It’s a brave leap into the world of music for this superbly talented lad from the Eastern Cape, whose humility and serenity is something you can feel in every song.
Born Nakhane Mahlakahlaka, he has taken on the ‘Touré’ moniker as homage to the great Ali Farka Touré. And he’s doing the name justice, too.
No pretentiousness. No gimmicks. Nothing but sheer magic.
Brave Confusion is about this humble musician battling some fiercely raging inner demons of love, sexuality, religion and most importantly faith, with an equally fierce vigour which sets your ear drums alight from the word ‘go’.
Drawing from a mass of influences, Touré can’t be pegged down to one genre.
He’s Morrissey, David Bowie, Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley. He’s gravity-defying energy, and then he’s as soft as a floating feather.
There is nothing this beautiful boy can’t do.
Opening with Christopher, Touré draws you in with a voice that angels would kill for. The energy on this track is indicative of his live performances, which are all heart, soul, and connecting on another level with his rapt audience.
“What will I be without you?” sings Touré.
Toe-tapping, clapping and electronic drumming form the backdrop for this great single.
He was wondering how South Africa would take to what has been described as a “gay love song”. I really don’t think it matters. It’s a love song. A pure and true love song.
In the Dark is a magic coming together of stunning guitar and harmonies with a true South African feel laced with his distinctly non-local influences that comes so naturally to Touré.
On Be Moved, he humbly asks us to “be moved to love, my friend”. Damn, I love his humility!
His music is an amalgamation of his love for literature, other peoples’ music and scripture, full of biblical code. Abraham is a lyrically-heavy track with simple guitar framing a gorgeous journey into questions of faith.
My favourite is My Jonathan, which always brings a lump to my throat. A song that is a constantly morphing work of genius with deep rolling beats giving way to an angelic vocal display.
This kid knows his stuff. He's smart. He's humble. And he's made an album to make the rest of South African singer-songwriters shiver in their boots.
Brave Confusion is a very, very courageous leap for this newcomer, and I expect even greater things from him in the future.