The release of the BLK JKS sophomore album Abantu/Before Humans has long been awaited by fans and critics.
It's been 12 years since the group, which formed in Joburg in the early 2000s, were celebrated by audiences at festivals across the world, signed by Secretly Canadian, released their debut After Robots, and were hailed by superstar fans such as the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl as a singular musical force.
Over that period, the band has experienced significant changes — most notably the departure of vocalist Linda Buthelezi in 2012 and of course the general changes that come with just growing older and living their lives.
After several attempts to get together they eventually managed to begin the process in 2018, building a studio and bringing in equipment to record in the orchestra pit under the stage of the Soweto Theatre. Then they returned to the studio one day to find that all their equipment and hard drives had been stolen.
That experience was depressing and left them wondering if perhaps they weren't meant to make a new album.
A year later guitarist Mphumi Mcata, drummer Tshepang Ramoba, bassist Molefi Makananise and trumpeter Tebogo Seitei pulled themselves back up, got into the studio and emerged with Abantu — a mature album of cosmic rock that has its heart very much in the sounds of Africa while also demonstrating the band's international reach through collaborations with musicians such as Morena Leraba, Money Mark and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré.