After a long spiritual lull which meant going out in search of the true meaning of his life in different churches, Thulamahashe gospel singer Phindi Dzimba says he has finally found a spiritual retreat and haven in the million member strong Zion Christian Church. So comfortable is 24-year-old Dzimba that he has released his first gospel CD titled Rikona Kaya (There's a Home) which is ten tracks long and has intoxicating melodies. "I'm saying that there is a home for all of us in heaven. For me my music is an extension of my preaching. Now that I'm not in a position to can stand infront of people and preach to them, my music does that for me", he opens our conversation.
He says he started to sing when he was barely six-years-old where he was leading Sunday School and a Family Boys Choir. "I used to get comments from people but because I was a little kid I didn't take anything into consideration as I was just singing for fun" he declares.
Later in life when he realised that he indeed had talent he went to Johannesburg where he says he collaborated with Pastor Francis Soprachi from Nigeria. "What I was doing was to translate his English songs to siSwati and then he would sing them and I would back him", Dzimba says. Right there you had a Nigerian singing in siSwati - clever huh.
His own CD has same sounding tunes and one track that stands out. Senzeni Na interplores the infamous Senzeni Na toyi-toyi but soon carves its own root with a harmonious gospel feel and talented backing voices. Oleseng Shuping's influence can be heard everywhere in the album and Dzimba admits that that's where he draws most if not all his inspiration. Some people allege that 'imitation is the best form of flattery'. We still beg to differ.
Overall Dzimba's album has songs for all occassions, especially for lovers of religious music. He sings in three languages (xiTsonga, Sesotho and siSwati) which should make his market easily available in Mpumalanga and beyond.
He's a talented young man who if he continues with the work he's doing is meant for greatness. There are funky gospel tunes like Ema o Tsamaye. Rikona Kaya is a good album worthy of a second listen.
Easter holidays are not for drinking beer and causing trouble but to remember the sacrifice that was made on the day. Gospel musician Thabisile Mnisi, known as Thabi urged South Africans just before the holidays that saw more than two hundred lives lost on the country's roads. Mnisi shared her message with Kasiekulture, immediately after the release of his first gospel album titled Bambelela, a 12 track album that fuses good keyboard programmed and synthesized music with intelligent well-thought lyrics.
The first track, Masibambaneni exposes the chocolate voice of this Thulamahashe native who was born 22-years ago and started seriously singing in 1999. Asked why she chose the genre of gospel in a country where youth culture is defined by groovy tunes and the club scene, Mnisi said, "I think because I am a born-again Christian and I don't find it difficult to write gospel songs as they just come to me and I just put them down"
She however admits to also finding R&B and house to be intoxicating genres that she likes as well, "but I rely on gospel because it's not only music to me but food to my soul"
A product of the famous Silk Voices choir, Mnisi ranks fellow gospel singer Kedibone as her inspiration. Her influence comes out in the title track Bambelela which comes across as a duet layered over funky keyboards and delivered with sincerity that should make the Devil blush in shame.
Mnisi is not only a singer but a community worker as well as she says, "I conduct singing and dancing classes for young people between the ages of eight and 22-years".
Her album was released this month and is being self-marketed by her. Owning a recording studio is one of her short term goals, she says, where she can make her other albums instead of going to Johannesburg to record as she did with this beautiful gem.
Bambelela is a beautiful album made by a truly humble gospel singer who deserves all the success gospel music can bring its practitioners. "I want to see myself reaching the nine South African provinces, including outside of South Africa", she says. It's an achievable ambition, given the talent she has and the music she is doing. Gospel means 'the word of God' and half the world is Christian, which should make it easy for Mnisi.