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Freshly Ground bids farewell to band member, collaborates with new producer

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Kyla-rose Smith, who has served as violinist and backing vocalist for Freshly Ground for 14 years, will be leaving the band to pursue other artistic opportunities in South Africa and abroad.
Freshlyground, which has become a household name across the country with mega hits such as I’d Like, Doo Be Doo, Fire is Low, and Waka Waka, celebrates Smith’s many contributions to the band. Smith said, “Being part of this incredible band for the past fourteen years has been the most rewarding and memorable experience of my professional life. It has been a gift to collaborate with my wonderful bandmates, whom I consider my family, to make our mark on the South African musical landscape with a bold message of love and our ability to transcend difference and cross the cultural divide.”

Smith is replaced by Congolese guitarist Chris Bakalanga. Bakalanga played in a number of groups in the Congo before moving to South Africa in 2005, where he has performed with leading artists like Simphiwe Dana, the Moreira Project and Hot Water. Bakalanga honed his magic ‘Soukous’ guitar sound performing in Kinshasa, regarded as one of the great centres of musical innovation in Africa.

Introducing the band’s award-winning producer

Freshlyground go into studio in December to begin work on their sixth studio album with Swedish producer Tore Johansson, which they plan to release early next year.

Johansson produced six albums and a string of hits for Swedish group The Cardigans before going on to produce the eponymous debut album for Franz Ferdinand, which included the singles Take Me Out, The Dark Of The Matinée, Darts of Pleasure and Michael. The album sold more than four million copies worldwide and garnered much critical acclaim. Johansson won two separate Producer of the Year awards for his work on the album.

Johansson has also produced hits for OK GO (including the tracks which accompany their two most famous videos) and tracks for Wild Beasts, St Etienne, Martha Wainwright and Nicole Atkins. More recently, he has worked with The Wombats and Dutch superstar Anouk, producing her double platinum album For Bitter Or Worse.

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