Alternative rock group Mann Friday is the brainchild of Zimbabwean-born musician and entrepreneur Rob Burrell. A student band strumming away on the 1997 campus of Rhodes University – that makes these melodies some 25 years old. Rob moved on to the creative hub of Cape Town where Mann Friday revelled in the thriving alternative scene alongside Springbok Nude Girls, Wonderboom, and DORP, the premiere SA rock bands of the ‘00s.
Heavily influenced by the natural backdrops of their Southern African setting, Mann Friday turned their debut album The Orchard (2002) into a musical that premiered at that year’s Grahamstown Arts Festival. The show’s powerful mix of rock and theatre caught the eye of the International Edinburg Festival and catalysed the call to move the band to the UK in 2003. Though the show opened to rave reviews in Scotland the shift meant the loss of most of his band members in the process.
However, the new-look line-up of Mann Friday found a fiercely loyal following in ex-pat communities scattered across Europe, and they released four albums in London before returning to South Africa to tour Waiting For The Flash (2009). After downing tools to start a family and nurture his fintech startup Mukuru, Rob found the new venture expanded rapidly, allowing him the capital to reinvest into the band – and Mann Friday continued.
It was their following album Train Rides and Radio Play (2013) that saw them sign a deal with V2 Records and relocate to Holland where they entrenched themselves in the music scene, running the media circuit and playing venues and festivals around the country. Mann Friday enjoyed great success in Holland with Train Rides and Radio Play charting at number 5 on the national charts, one place behind the Backstreet Boys.
Two years later Rob penned the triumphant rally cry “Say Yeah!” (2015), which Mann Friday used in a global bid to play the iconic Glastonbury Festival. The campaign made it all the way to the ears of organiser Emily Eaves and the band ended up performing on the coveted Rabbit Hole stage that year.
Mann Friday’s latest offering “Bridgenorth Road” was put on hold because of the global pandemic. Finally, the highly anticipated release of the sixth album, spearheaded by the anthemic lead single “Fight For Me”, is here as Mann Friday prepares to cross over a quarter century of his unique brand of conscious rock.