Award-winning local reggae musician goes solo

2018-04-13 06:00

BORN in Bhobhoyi into a family of musicians, Thuthukani Cele is the reggae musician on the piano in many of reggae legend Lucky Dube’s songs.

Cele said he got into the music industry in the seventies performing at local schools to encourage pupils to focus on their education and not be victims of peer pressure.

In the eighties, Cele wanted to develop his talent and fulfil his dreams. “I had big dreams — joining many bands and groups, and playing different genres of music. I played keyboard for Amakhosi Oqobo, performed at the mines and freelanced as a keyboard player. I joined Lucky Dube when he was singing Umbaqanga, produced by Richard Silume at the time. “Travelling the world was a dream come true. I travelled around Africa with Dube from 1983 until he died, doing a performance for his album Slave. “At that time the band’s name was The Slaves, which we changed in 1994 to Free at Last. I am now a solo artist and I want people to know me as Thuthukani Cele from Bhobhoyi. I have released an album titled Eyes On My Baby. The album is all about love and is recognised internationally, especially in the South Pacific Island in New Caledonia.”

Eyes On My Baby has been remixed by a producer from new Caledonia. Last year, Cele was recognised at the Backing Vocalists And Session Musicians Awards hosted by Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the Soweto Theatre, winning in the category Best Reggae Music and Session Musician Award. “I was also recognised as the Best Keyboard Player in maskandi in 2013.

“These awards got me to realise that my time to shine has finally come.” Cele said he is working towards giving back to the community. “I have instruments at home used by my son Lunga Cele. He uses them to train upcoming artists in the community. “My plan is to speak to the relevant authorities and hopefully build an open art centre in Bhobhoyi where I can teach music,” he said.

Cele is also available for booking at 083 329 4902.

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