Swing music, or simply swing, is a form of American music that dominated in the 1930s and 1950s. The term swing is used to describe the sense of propulsive rhythmic “feel” or “groove” created by the musical interaction between the performers and as Daniel Handler said, “Either you have the feeling or you don’t.”
Loyiso Bala, Graeme Watkins (Graeme Watkins Project) and, Nathan Ro (Lonehill Estate) are a group of three all part of Swing City. Together they don’t just perform swing music, they live it and shape it in a way that makes it a music genre enjoyable by all.
The history behind Swing City is as interesting as the music itself. ‘Graeme and Nathan were discussing their love for the genre at a braai one night. Graeme’s father was a double bass player for a swing band in his youth and Nathan’s dad was a singer for a swing band. Having both grown up with the music, they joked that a side project was in order. Luckily management overheard and took action, getting in touch with Loyiso and booking a gig before they had even gotten together.
What makes their music flow with such finesse is how well they all fit into one unique swing movement. With everyone bringing something rare to the group, such as ‘Graeme who is definitely the crooner of the group with a voice like a tiger’s purr and charm that could make even the most refrigerated butter melt.’ ‘Loyiso’s R&B vocals are smoother than Ultramel and he brings his harmonic prowess with him to the table. Last but not least, Nathan with the phenomenal ability to sing like a drunk old man and sometimes saying inappropriate things on stage that has the audience bursting in laughter.
The Ratpack and Louis Prima play a big part in the group’s inspiration. Swing City has also sung for Richard Branson on a maiden voyage of one of his luxury airliners. Nathan shares with us that they have also performed for our very own president, without saying anything inappropriate which is a personal achievement for him.
Their new album, ‘Well Swung’ takes a look at some local music that their brilliant musical director David Cousins was able to fit into their style. On the previous album, he swung Taylor Swift and Pharrell Williams and on the new one he has swung Locnville and Lira. Swing City really wants to pay tribute to great South African artists as Nathan states.
Throughout May Swing City will mostly be in studio but for the readers who want to know more about the new album or the band itself follow them on social media. The fans who just can’t wait to see the members performing can watch The Graeme Watkins Project and Lonehill Estate at Rumours Rock City on the 26th of May.