Truly Cool Music: National Wake

STORY BY Holly Ramos

Published: July 4, 2013

Ahhh zeitgeist. Music made during a certain period is so identifiable. You can try to recreate the production sounds, the vocal styles, lyric styles, rhythms, but can you ever recreate the zeitgeist? That is like asking Can you ever fool the body? The very cells in my body know so much more than my brain. My brain can be tricked but alas, the truth is known somewhere so much deeper, in my tissue, my muscle memory, my fiber and my foundation. And it is that deep dark place that we experience music, yes? At least where we experience good music. Can ya, can ya feeeeeel it? The beautiful Iggy Pop might ask.

Yes, I can feel it with the National Wake cd, a rare release that had been remastered and is now available on itunes and amazon. Take a trip back in time and hear fresh new music from the late seventies that you have (probably) never heard before.

National Wake was a mixed-race band out of Johannesburg, South Africa. They can’t help but have the influences of punk and new wave mixed with that sublime and gritty sound of African music. The weight of apartheid was a prominent part of their existence so they also could not help but be political. Whether or not they ever heard these bands, I certainly can hear influences ranging from The Gang of Four to the Dead Kennedys and back again. Maybe it is influence, maybe just the zeitgeist that spanned continents. Probably both.

I am digging checking out something new that is old and that sounds like something I know well but have never heard.  They remind me of putting a cassette in and stepping into a new world. Viva la Revolution!

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