Twenty-three years old Thabisile Mnisi, popularly known as Nthabi has just released her follow up gospel album to the funky Bambelela. Her latest offering is titled Sivuselele and was produced by this Thulamahashe native who is a product of the famous Silk Voices choir.
Mnisi, who during an interview for her first album told this newspaper that as a born-again Christian she didn’t need to write most of her songs as they were unveiled to her is this year celebrating ten years in the music business.
Sivuselele is taking over where Bambelela left off, only that it is three tracks short as it comes with nine multi-lingual gospel deliveries. The song that should push this album to devout gospel fans should be Ithemba Lami which is in the old tradition of moving choral music. While Mnisi sings the backing vocals as well the lead stands out though while her coherent backing complements this delivery.
She plunges into the unknown through her solo delivery in Ngibekise Kuwe. It derives its strength from her strong vocal presence, but she ends up sounding more like Deborah Frazer than a unique voice from Thulamahashe.
Worthy To Be Praised sells off her undeclared influence of Joyous Celebration and Rebecca Malope. It works though, due to her unique voice, but the influence stands out like a sore thumb.
She goes back to church with Nkosi Ngi Qine which is pulpit confession, traditional gospel with a lead and choir. The saxophone sounds borrowed though instead of played.
Most of the tracks have an authority while the only weakness of this album is the same with gospel albums produced in this produced – they all sound the same. Heard one heard them all – they all sound like remixes of Sipho Makhabane, Amadodana aseWesile and Rebecca Malope.
Sivuselele is mellow with a mid-tempo sound. It’s a strong award contender though due to its top notch production and mixing by Stanley Chiloane. However for gospel to survive in this province and for Nthabi to develop her unique voice the music must be authentic and a deviation from reliance on programmed beats and synthesizers which creates banality would be welcome.
Sivuselele is available in stores as Nthabi said earlier, "gospel is not only music to me but food to my soul"