As proud as we might’ve been to hear the news that one of our local choirs are killing it abroad, Phumlani S Langa didn’t quite get the hype.
We were all thrilled to hear the news about this choir from Moutse in rural Limpopo taking the US by storm and finding themselves in the finale of the popular competition America’s Got Talent.
I was not even aware that this choir was in the competition because, who still watches America’s Got Talent? The young DJ Arch made a splash on the same show late last year, and it would seem that the yearning for African flavours is growing in the Western world. The Ndlovu Youth Choir spotted and recognised this gap and used it to their advantage – they gave the Americans something they are not used to seeing, but, back home, we know better.
This choir was straight chancing. The choreography was wonky and lazy at times, and the levels of sonic capability are not nearly as moving as a Ladysmith Black Mambazo or a Soweto Gospel Choir. When it comes to those two acts, we’re talking Grammys and not a Simon Cowell record deal. What is his label even called and what worthwhile act that generates timeless music emerged from his stable?
These guys ran a convincing hustle in the US, even bagging a Hollywood Music in Media Award for best independent music video. Their Zulu version of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You certainly made an impression, and they did fly the flag high for us.
A special commendation for AKA and his attempt to incorporate an orchestra at his gig at Time Square in Pretoria earlier this year, and again in Durban. It may have been a magical night for those in attendance, but his music was not really arranged to show off an orchestra – it was just the homie, some autotune and slight hints of violin laid over the backing track.