SA music star opens up

HARARE - Singing South African sensation Ntando Bangani who was set to thrill music-lovers at the Book Cafe yesterday said growing up without friends led him to befriend the home’s piano.

In an exclusive interview during Friday night’s Cultural Encounters, organised by Book Cafe, Ntando said while he came from a poor background, he took comfort in the church and the spiritual guidance that came out of the Christian ministry.

“I grew up in a strict family set-up with all the family being Christian. Church going was the order of day and the whole family sang in church,” said the youthful singer who only on Thursday celebrated his birthday but refused to say his exact age.

As he grew up, he loved playing football more than anything else. “My passion was football but unfortunately I fractured my leg. During winter I feel the leg’s pain. It is then that after finishing my matric I decided to try music. It worked.”

Ntando was hopeful that his son would play soccer. “Maybe my son will play football. I wish he could because it was something I could do and do it perfectly.”

The music star has two kids. “But I am not married. Actually that is the other reason I am in Zimbabwe...”

Growing up in South Africa’s ghetto, he learnt life early. “My parents were so strict that I had no friends. I only took comfort in the piano we had at home. I do not regret going through all that because the strict upbringing shaped my destiny.”

Born in a family of five, with one of his sisters being late, Ntando said none of his family members is into commercial music.

“They all claim to be singers, but I do not think so. Maybe I inspire them.”

The musician is inspired by music legends like Miriam Makeba. “I am inspired by many great South African musicians who are too many to mention. Makeba stands out high though.”

This was the second time that Ntando has visited Zimbabwe. “While this is my second time here, it feels like home. It is like being in South Africa.”

The multi-platinum selling performer, who blends afro-pop, soul, reggae and township jazz was set to collaborate with Zimbabwe’s own music star,Alexio Kawara with a performance slated for yesterday.

Ntando and Alexio’s collaboration is part of a larger project by Pamberi Trust, together with African Synergy Trust (SA) and it is partners Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Doen Foundation.

Ntando will work with Alexio and his band, Shades of Black to fuse the Ntando and Alexio vibe.

This unprecedented collaboration promises to be a truly unique and exciting performance.

“I hope the chemistry works as it has always. We will be working collaborations with Alexio with a future look, of course, of possible duet recordings,” said Ntando.

Ntando has been writing and performing his own music since he was a teenager.

A musical prodigy, his second album Imvelaphi was a triple-platinum smash winning several awards including “song of the year” for his chart-topping single Dali Wami.

His long-awaited fourth album, Inqubela, is a sublime piece of classic, timeless Afro-pop packed full of hits including Ubolalela and Njalo.

A soulful singer, this dread-locked heartthrob was about to take Harare by storm.

His music is deep in the Zulu tradition, (he often wears traditional costume) and his songs are heartfelt expressions of love and loss.

A frequent collaborator with South African artistes such as Mafikizolo, Ringo and Bricks, Ntando sings about romance and has a deeply moving voice from years of practice singing to packed audiences.

The October International Jazz Festival ran from October 17 to 21 with performances scheduled at The Book Cafe, The Italian Club and Celebration Centre.

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