Talented musicians are spoiled for choices, they can command beauty and merit out of any instrument, often in a way that’s startling for its simplicity. Joshua Crumbly has this very talent, a talent that can be decadent with his simplicity. The options he chooses not to employ, and his simple finger scaling on the Mbira in “Afria,” off his debut album Rise, belies that capability. What is even more remarkable is how the video for “Afria,” directed and edited by Alan Be, and filmed by Drew Robinson, reveals that musical restraint in such an understated and natural way. Joshua is surrounded by his instruments, a growing light through the trees and builds a waking melody over a rhythm that warms the listener, alerting you all that is undone, unsaid with visually and musically.
The song got its name from finding the Mbira (often called a thumb piano), a decidedly African instrument in a music store in Kyoto, in Asia. The contrasting location of discovery means much to Joshua who has both African and Indian bloodlines, and “Afria” provides a beautiful introduction to his full album, both hiding and revealing his influences in a way that a well told story can. That contrast, that tension that begins with the beautiful ostinato being played by Crumbly tucked amongst the mountainous forrest, sets up the journey the full body of work provides, again reminding the listener of what was left out, most especially not having come across a musician of this caliber sooner.
Watch the video premiere of "Afria" below.