This week, two South African bands are jetting off to Spain to perform at some of the country’s major summer music festivals, thanks to a groundbreaking Spanish-South African cultural initiative supported by the SAMRO Foundation.

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) and Touchwood are set to bring their very different but distinctively African-flavoured musical stylings to a number of popular Spanish events for two weeks in July. 

They earned this rare opportunity to crack the international market as the winners of the recent Johannesburg Vis-à-Vis battle of the bands competition, an initiative to promote African music by Spanish institution Casa África, in co-operation with the Spanish Embassy in South Africa and the SAMRO Foundation.

Following the contest in April, Spanish cultural promoters and directors of some of the main summer festivals in Spain concluded that South Africa’s young musicians were “impressive” and that the array of styles on display was a good reflection of the country’s diversity.

Now, between 11 and 27 July 2013, BCUC and Touchwood will be performing for audiences from across Europe that flock to Spain to experience its dynamic summer festival circuit, including at the Canary Islands’ Jazz & Mas Festival (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), the Etnosur Festival (Alcalá La Real, Jaén), Pirineos Sur (Sállent de Gallego, Huesca), La Mar de Músicas (Cartagena), Cantos de Mujer (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) and Festival Mumes (Tenerife). Also on the bands’ tour itinerary are concerts in Madrid, Burgos, Zaragoza and Oñati. 

BCUC, hailing from Soweto, is made up of five musicians, who achieve an intimate sound through the use of a bass drum, congas, guitar and multiple percussion instruments and whistles. BCUC integrates African indigenous rhythms with styles such as funk and soul, rooted in South African music traditions. They make music “for the people, by the people, with the people” in concerts that become “mystic experiences” for the audience. 

On the other end of the musical spectrum, Spanish audiences will meet Touchwood. This multi-instrumentalist  four-piece outfit introduces Southern African rhythms and an interesting array of instruments to the folk genre, including using the cello as a bass, the ukulele, violin, marimbas and stirring vocal harmonies. Their contemporary sound resembles what is known as “upbeat folk”, but which they term “Afro-gypsy-folk”. 

During their stay in Jo’burg, Spanish promoters were struck by the diversity and richness displayed by young up-and-coming musicians on the South African music scene, boding well for the future of local music in international markets.

The fourth edition of Vis-à-Vis, the Spanish cultural project organised by Casa África (which leads Spain’s public diplomacy with African countries), the Spanish Embassy and the SAMRO Foundation, was held in Johannesburg in April 2013. Previous editions took place in Senegal, Cape Verde and Ethiopia. The aim is to increase the access of Spanish audiences to African music, creating direct relations between the directors of Spanish summer festivals (known all around Europe and great tourist attractions) and African musicians and producers. 

For more information, visit or check out the following video links to hear samples of the bands’ music: 

BCUC: and

Touchwood: and



Thursday 11th BCUC, Universidad de Burgos, Hospital del Rey, Time:19.45 

Thursday 11th Touchwood, Ciclo Cantos de Mujer, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Mala Vida (c/Clavel, 3), Time: 22.30 

Friday 12th Touchwood & BCUC, Festival Heineken Jazz y Más de Canarias, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Sala The Paper Club.

Saturday 13th BCUC & Festival Mumes, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Teatro Guimerá, Time: 20.30 

Monday 15th. Touchwood & BCUC, Festival Pirineos Sur, Escenario Sallent de Gallego’ Time: 22.30 

Wednesday 17th Touchwood & BCUC, Madrid, Sala Tempo (C/Duque de Osuna, 8), Time: 21.00 

Thursday 18th Touchwood, Zaragoza, Teatro Arbolé, Time: 22.00

Friday 19th Touchwood, Oñati (Guipuzcoa), Plaza San Antón, Time: 19.30 

Saturday 20th BCUC, Festival Etnosur, Alcalá La Real (Jaén), Escenario Etnosur, Time: 02.30 

Sunday 21st Touchwood, Festival Etnosur, Alcalá La Real (Jaén), Escenario Paseo de los Álamos, Time: 13.30 

Wednesday 24th BCUC, Oñati (Guipuzcoa)

Friday 26th BCUC, Zaragoza, Teatro Arbolé, Time: 22.00 

Saturday 27th BCUC, Festival La Mar de Músicas, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Time: 20.00 

Media enquiries: For interview requests, access to photos and media queries please contact Vanessa or Dees on or (011) 788 7631

Issued by JT Communication Solutions on Behalf of SAMRO Foundation –