Local group is on a mission to be known

2016-12-28 06:01
PHOTO: supplied Aziwa is a Pietermaritzburg-based vocal group consisting of (from left)  Phelelani Madlala, Sibonelo Mbatha and Selby Dumakude.

PHOTO: supplied Aziwa is a Pietermaritzburg-based vocal group consisting of (from left) Phelelani Madlala, Sibonelo Mbatha and Selby Dumakude.

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WHEN it comes to musical talent, Pietermaritzburg is anything but lacking, and Aziwa group - who hail from Imbali - prove that the city is jam-packed with a medley of music offerings.

Aziwa, meaning “be known” in Zulu, was formed in July 2008 by three friends - Sibonelo Mbatha, Sifiso Khoza and Selby Dumakude - who sang at different gospel groups in Imbali.

“The name ‘Aziwa’ was chosen because we wanted to be known in the local community to make a positive difference and set an example,” said Mbatha.

In 2008 they attempted to make their big break in Johannesburg. “At this point we didn’t have a clue on how to play the game. We were small fish in a big ocean, but we aimed to pursue a career as a group … we had faith,” said Mbatha.

Aziwa returned home in 2009 to work on a recording deal with Pietermaritzburg-based business Khabozinto Entertainment, with which they recorded and released their debut album, titled Finally.

The group has experienced a few changes since then, with new member Phelelani Madlala joining the group to replace Khoza, and signing a record deal with Deep Rhythm Music - a Pietermaritzburg-based label that is owned by Mbatha.

Aziwa is currently working on their second album, The Re-Set Of, which is due for release next year. The group said that this album is in conjunction with their new member and fresh sound.

“We tweaked the sound a bit for this album. The first album was too commercial and this one is more deep and spiritual,” said Mbatha.

While aiming to include more Afro-house beats, they will include a few gospel tracks on the album. “We are planning on releasing a double-CD album - one with dance music and the other with soulful Afro-pop.”

One of the tracks from the latest album, You Should have Told Me, can be heard on Ukhozi FM and Metro FM.

“We do our own production and songwriting,” said Dumakude, who described Mbatha as “Ngqondo-ngqondo - jack of all trades”.

Aziwa has shared the stage with big names in the South African music industry including Big Nuz, Ringo Madlingozi and Sifiso Ncwane (who died earlier this month). They performed at events like the Magic Tour and Ukhozi FM’s Nyus’ ivolume and they appeared on the television show Shift on SABC1.

“We’re focusing on small projects for now and will be part of the Lifestyle Ekasi Tour, in partnership with Vuma FM, which promotes up-and-coming artists,” said Mxolisi Dumakude, the group’s artist manager.

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