Junk Funk

Junk Funk’s one-minute-and-26-second intro track—featuring lively chatter and whistling, dogs barking, the strains of a homemade one-string metal fiddle and seemingly impromptu singing—sets the listener up perfectly for the creative, organic sound of what is to come in the remaining 11 tracks of this debut album from Lesotho band Sotho Sounds. Hailing from a mountainous country landlocked by South Africa, the shepherds/musicians who make up Sotho Sounds have come up with a sound that is unique yet noticeably affected by their proximity to South Africa. Track two, “Ha Kele Monateng” (“When I’m Happy”), is a joyous call-and-response song showcasing the vocal-harmony talents of the seven band members. Likewise, “Koloi Eutate Mandela” features glorious choral harmonies that anyone who has visited Southern Africa will recognize for their uplifting quality and precision. Sotho Sounds’ instruments—one-string fiddles, four-string tin guitars and oil-drum percussion—are all homemade, right down to the wire strings. Drummer Tumelo Mpokoane describes his process in the album’s liner notes: “I got some branches from a tree because I needed two sticks to support the wire and the sink that I had cut up.” This CD is a refreshing departure from overproduced studio albums loaded with high-tech tricks.