WHEN everyone was under the impression that Phelo Bala has left Joburg and the Bala Brothers group because he was not seeing eye-to-eye with his older brother Zwai, the lad was actually going through something the physical world doesn’t really understand.
BECOMING A SANGOMA
He says out of the blue he started saying things he fails to explain and seeing things. He says it was like he was losing his mind. The morning after that episode when he woke he was still seeing things and parts of his body were not working. “That night I wasn’t aware of something I was saying. When we went to a doctor I was told that I had body flu,” he recalls. However, a part of him knew this was not something medical. A member of the family suggested they go see a sangoma for a second opinion on the matter and that’s when his spirituality took a u-turn and started his sangoma training. “I wanted to get better in every possible way so I went ahead and tried it,” says the former Joyous Celebration member. Phelo, who is now back to Christianity, says that experience taught him a lot. When asked about the decision to convert back to Christianity, he casually says, “The spiritual world has good and evil and at times it’s just the change of who you serve otherwise it’s the same principle.”
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
It was reported that there was drama between the Bala Brothers. The report claimed that Zwai didn’t approve of Phelo’s sexual orientation. When we ask about the rumour that was doing the rounds about a fight with his elder brother that broke the group apart, he assures us that the Bala Brothers didn’t part ways. “There was no fight between me and my brother,” he says matter-of-factly. Phelo, who is now busy with his solo album called Ndim’ Lo, says they still perform together whenever the chance comes their way but they’re also busy with their solo work. He says they gave him good reviews about his latest album and he’s forever grateful for the pearls of wisdom they always give him. His only worry about this project was the pressure that came with being a Bala. “There was pressure on upholding the name. My brothers have a mark as artists,” he admits.
CHANGING HIS TUNE
The lad has been hard at work for four months on his latest offering. He says, unlike his self-titled debut album, he’s changed his sound from Pop to Afro-soul. “It’s taken me four months because I had songs already written. I didn’t even plan on writing this album in Xhosa but the music just made sense in the language,” he says. Phelo says he wrote about things he’s been through and people will be able to relate to this music because it’s all the emotions people go through on a daily basis. “I’ve been through so much in my life. All that experience has taught me to be the person I am today,” he confidently says.