Soweto’s Shameless Unleash a Unique Fusion of Rock and Township Vibes with Debut Album “Nkabi Rock”

Soweto’s Shameless Unleash a Unique Fusion of Rock and Township Vibes with Debut Album “Nkabi Rock”
(Photographer Frank Marshall)
Shameless, the groundbreaking trio from the heart of Soweto (South Africa), introduce their debut album, “Nkabi Rock,” blending the raw energy of rock with the vibrant spirit of the township.

In a music scene dominated by hip-hop and house-derived genres, Shameless stands out as pioneers of a new genre that they proudly call Nkabi Rock / I Rock Yase Kasi (Assassin Rock / Rock from The Township, in isiZulu). Drawing inspiration from their upbringing and the rich musical tapestry of South Africa, Shameless’ sound is a captivating fusion of metal, blues, kwaito, mbaqanga, isigxaxa, and a dash of jazz.

The dynamic trio consists of Musa Zwane, Thabang Khonje, and Thabo Masina. They are at the forefront of a growing movement of rock and alternative bands emerging from Soweto. “Our music is an extension of rock” Zwane explains. “It’s a fusion of our diverse influences, reflecting the soul of the township”.

At the heart of “Nkabi Rock” lies the single, “Mission Impossible” which is a collaboration with the heavy Portuguese band “Scúru Fitchádu”. It’s a powerful anthem tackling the pervasive issues of rampant drug addiction and the resultant theft within their community – specifically the scourge of nyaope addiction in Soweto. “The song is very deep and from the heart,” Zwane shares. “It shows how angry and tired we are of addicts who steal from people.”

Recorded live, “Nkabi Rock” captures the raw intensity and authenticity of Shameless’ electrifying performances.
“We wanted to emerge with something powerful in our hands, The album is a testament to our resilience and passion for our craft.” Zwane reflects.

With “Nkabi Rock,” Shameless is not only redefining the sound of rock but also amplifying the voices of the township. As they prepare to embark on their journey to conquer hearts and minds around the globe, Shameless invites listeners to join them on a musical odyssey unlike any other.

Thabang Khonje, reflecting on the band’s journey and future aspirations, adds, “We’re pretty much at the peak of our career so far. We’ve somewhat smashed our short-term goal, which was to tour around the country, spread the word, and let the people be awakened. But now we want to cross over and engage with new international audiences, be relevant to the world’s greatest hitmakers in the space we are in.”

With “Nkabi Rock,” Shameless is not only redefining the sound of rock but also amplifying the voices of the township.

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The band members (Thabang Khonje, Musa Zwane & Thabo Masina aka Rock Ruler Live) met on stage at a local, community jam session called Sawubona Music Jam where they instantly “knew they had fire and a musical connection like the holy trinity”.

They played their first shows without a name, but with their first batch of original songs. As the need for a name grew they looked at themselves and their surroundings; rock music is very rare
in South Africa, especially in the so-called eKasi (townships) – segregated neighbourhoods where black people were forced to live under apartheid.

Full of the energy of their music they realised how shameless they are to be mixing two cultures – western rock music and African eKasi street culture.

Now in 2024, their 7th year as a band, they have achieved more than most rock bands could expect to in South Africa. From a Converse advert to the main stage at AfroPunk Festival and most notable stages & festivals in-between. They released their first EP “Impicabadala” in December 2021 with the lead single “4 x 4” that has since become something of a cult anthem in South African alternative communities.

Their electrifying live show has seen them play all over the country to audiences that never quite seem to get their fill, despite the encores, the fans want more. This has made shameless a darling of local promoters – who all know how to fill a room: simply book Shameless.

The band have come a long way since their very DIY beginnings; recording their debut EP “Impicabadala” and playing every small stage or room that they could find. They have now signed an exclusive deal with von Plato’s DiscovrMe (DiscovrTV’s indie label) which is underwritten by Tic Tic Bang.

The combination of these two organisations and the producer means that three big fans of the band – Hugh Davison, Finn MacKinnon and Julian von Plato – have stepped into management, production and label roles with the combined goal of growing Shameless’ audience both in South Africa and in international territories.

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