Tshepiso Makhele
5 minute read
8 Oct 2018
10:49 am

Ntsika Ngxanga: Golden’ music for a generation

Tshepiso Makhele

Ntsika Ngxanga on going solo and how tradition and family inspire his music.

Ntsika Ngxanga/ Picture supplied.

It’s only by having a conversation with him that you can appreciate why Ntsika Ngxanga had to go solo. Because only then can you get a different image of him, away from the popular award winning The Soil. He remains a member of the famous acapella group and is still fond of it.

Ngxanga, lead vocalist and composer of the group, spoke to The Citizen about his reasons for going solo, the unique way his songs come about and his beloved family.

Aged sound

“I write truly South African soul music,” he says. “The songs are totally different from anything I have done before. They are African sounds that are aged; music that is timeless and goes back three generations from now,” he said, talking about his upcoming album and his single Awundiva, featuring “love maestro” Vusi Nova. It is an open love letter he wrote to his wife, Chumasande Ngxanga, he says.

“My wife is calm in any situation. Sometimes when I tell her I love her she doesn’t give me the excitement I need at the time and I have to explain to her how much I love her,” the singer said, adding that Awundiva means “Can you hear me”.  He says the track serves as his way of emphasising just how much he loves his wife.

The artist says he dreams about the songs he composes – for other artists as well, like Idols winner Musa Sukwene and Nova. “In June 2017, I dreamt I was sitting with my great-great grandfather with some songs. That is when I understood it was time to share my music with the world as a solo artist.”

Ngxanga says his songs are intense, with the ability to take people to the village via their senses and remind them of spending time with their ancestors.

“My sound is Xhosa music that will sound very familiar because I’m simply echoing the songs, being a vessel that ushers the music,” he said, explaining how much he agrees with what popular musician Simphiwe Dana once said about music originating in Africa.

“We are custodians of golden, genuine music, and I’m going to bring that music back.”

The Transition

Ngxanga says moving from being part of a group to working alone has been seamless, adding that at first he would share the songs from his dreams with the group, only to find that great as they were, they just didn’t resonate with them.

That was the beginning of understanding his need to begin a solo journey. He says, similar to South African musician Ringo Madlingozi, he wants people to hear his heart though his songs.

“I wanted to share my soul and who I am as an artist. The album – which I might call I Write What I Dream – is a musical biography of my life. “It explains my relationship, not only with God, but my children, and wife, among others.

“Through it people will feel how I spiritually connect with the music,” he said. “So far the reception has been amazing. The airplay has been overwhelming. The full album is only coming out next year, but people are already coming to me with tears in their eyes, telling me that they feel my music; they have been reintroduced to me and I love how they love my songs.”

His Music

Ngxanga says the issue with channeling his music through dreams is the fear of forgetting it. He continues that he usually wakes up quickly to record the songs on his phone, a device he says he keeps on his bedroom pedestal.

“The songs would often come at 2.30am or 3am, but now God speaks to me even more and I don’t forget or have to jot them down in the wee hours of the morning, because I still remember them when I wake up,” he said.

The only person who truly understood his experience was Joseph Tshabalala from renowned male choral music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, because he also dreams about songs.

“I am a vessel that will share music with this generation.

“I believe every generation deserves a golden era of music and I want to give it,” he said.

The Soil

With The Soil fans in panic mode, thinking that with Ngxanga’s solo career booming the group will be splitting up, but the singer says no such thing will happen.

“I’m still part of the group. We released a single titled Korobela on September 28 and it is available on all digital platforms,” he said, clarifying that the group will release their next album next year in August.

The Soil is a three-member group whose music can best be described as “Kasi Soul”. It strives to deliver melodic and harmonious messages designed to elevate and heal.

All About Family

Though Ngxanga loves his wife, the 30-year-old explains his forever-composed lady is so calm that he has to use his kids as measuring sticks for his music.

“If my kids (Alwande Uthandolwenkosi, who is five, and Olona Thandolwenkosi, who is four) demand I repeat a song, then I know it’s a great song,” he said.

“When I’m with my family I see the reflection of God in their eyes. God is the heart of that family. Family is actually God himself,” he said.

When he is not busy with his job, which puts food on the table, he is usually taking his kids to their favourite activity, swimming, or taking a walk with his wife to the nearby lake, or chilling with his friends. No matter what he is doing, he is always celebrating the life that God has given them.

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