Native Young's evolving tapestry of culture, emotion & melody


Formed in the garage of a Gugulethu marimba maker in 2014, these are the new kids on the block that are blurring lines and breaking cultural barriers through their own distinct brand of ‘Kasi pop’.

With members stretching from Khayelitsha to Spain, Native Young is an indie 4 piece collective that hosts a menagerie of musical talent and eclectic taste. When frontman Yannick had sought to re-imagine the songs he'd written and produced in a traditional African context for a live audience, he went in search of a marimba player and had the luck of meeting Mark Sikele's band, Abikondela, while they were busking in Cape Town. A week later Yannick met Alejandro Serra, a traveling Spanish musician who was couch surfing through South Africa with a mutual interest in world music. Abikondela then invited the boys to a jam session in Gugulethu and Native Young was born:

  • Yannick ("Big Yak") - Songwriter, manager, vocals, guitar, harmonica, kalimba
  • Mark Sikele ("Kidjoe") - Marimba, percussion, mcingo, vocals
  • Alejandro Serra ("Spongebob") - Guitar, vocals, stage manager
  • Vuyani Dyoli ("Vidge") - Drums, percussion, marimba, vocals
  • Mohau Moahloli ("Jahman") - Guitar, vocals 

“This project is about returning to the grass roots of pop, it’s about the melodic core, raw African rhythm and simple storytelling” explains Yannick, “it’s this simplicity that has provided us with a vehicle for deeper cultural exploration both musically and spiritually”.

Singing in English and Xhosa, their fresh collaborative sound has been creeping it’s way onto the local Cape Town music scene by way of enigmatic pop up street performances that have now become synonymous with the band. Inspired by artists live Mango Groove, Brenda Fassie, Johnny Clegg and Oliver Mtukudzi, they use music to explore culture and the world. “Music is that ephemeral expression that connects us all” Yannick says, and it’s this sentiment that boldly shines in the raw and colourful tale of Native Young.

June 2016 saw the release of Native Young's debut LP "Kings" - featuring a host of traditional African musicians mixed with an innovative blend of electronic and acoustic sound. Here at MAPP Africa, we've been enjoying the rhythmically hypnotic sound of the track 'Crystal Lion'. Watch the mysterious, yet beautiful, music video below: 


The band has subsequently embarked on an explosive European summer tour of Germany, France and Spain to promote the project to international audiences. As for the future, the band will be heading to SXSW 2017 in Texas, Rocking the Daisies and Lake of Stars 2016. When asked about what advice they would like to share to young people pursuing their dreams, they said "...confidence, respect, love and hard work. Make sure you absolutely love what you do and never give up!"

Follow Native Young's Facebook and Instagram to get updates on regular local shows and international performances. Purchase their latest album "Kings" on iTunes today!




Also in Latest on MAPP Africa

Unscrambling Africa, A Tale of African Cities
Unscrambling Africa, A Tale of African Cities

Four storytellers are preparing for an ambitious road trip across Southern Africa.

Read More

Celebrate New Years Eve with #JVFC2016 & MAPP Africa
Celebrate New Years Eve with #JVFC2016 & MAPP Africa

For a third year in a row, MAPP Africa is giving away tickets to this remarkable and memorable Jameson Vic Falls Carnival!

Read More

LOS Distinguishes Itself as Top Musical & Cultural Festival
LOS Distinguishes Itself as Top Musical & Cultural Festival

This year, #LOS2016 marked it's thirteenth year of the sensational entertaining music and arts festival.

Read More