Zahara set to perform at Cape Town City Hall

By Drum Digital
16 January 2013

This eight times SA Music Awards (SAMAS) winner sings popular hits from her debut album like "Loliwe" which tells the tale of a lover departing by train and promising to return soon and "My Guitar" which tells of her love for this instrument. Songs like "Umthwalo wam" and "Ndiza" are strong and soulful in lyrics and tune. She said about "Umthwalo": "Every time I sing this song, I think back to my childhood, my family and the time I wrote it, two years ago."

Zahara, a new kid on the block who became an overnight sensation, grew up in a small village where not many children made it to matric and singing was regarded as something one did in church, not as a profession.

Her songs tell stories, like "Ndiza", written about her first aeroplane flight to Johannesburg and "My Guitar", which tells of the escape her guitar offers when she feels overwhelmed. Her songs tend to make her emotional, she said.

Zahara was born as Bulelwa Mkutukana and grew up in a poor family in the Phumlani informal settlement on the outskirts of East London in the Eastern Cape. Her mother is a domestic worker and she is the fifth of six children. "I know what it feels like to go to school without shoes and never quite having enough to eat," she said. Her passion and strength of character are palpably present in her exciting voice.

She joined the school choir at the age of six and later progressed to the senior choir. She taught herself to play the guitar, a strange activity for a woman in her village. She started to be noticed when she was appointed lead singer in the Phumlani Sunday School choir. Her stage name Zahara means "blossoming flower" and her childhood nickname was Spinach.

The Eastern Cape nightingale achieved star status when her debut album went platinum after thirteen days and double platinum after only 17 days, selling more than 100,000 copies in South Africa. She was the second musician after Brenda Fassie to clock such sales in such a short time. Her music is loosely classified as "Afrosoul" and she sings in her mother tongue Xhosa as well as English. Her music has been described as a mixture of the styles made popular by Tracy Chapman and India.Arie.

She will scale great heights. Experience her exceptional voice on the 2 February  at Cape Town City Hall Theatre.

Tickets ranging from R100to R150 can be bought on Computitcket.

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