For years they struggled to record their first album, suffering broken dreams and various splits along the way. The group leader since its formation, Mandla Ndebele, however, kept the dream alive.
“Without enough money to pursue our dream, members separated and one after the other migrated to South Africa in search of better opportunities,” said Ndebele, now the only founding member in the ensemble.
In 2002, the group made a not-so-good arrival to the music scene, with an acapella debut, Unqontshiwe (He has been defeated). Recorded at Derrick Productions, a Belfast-based studio owned by legendary South African gospel singer, Derrick Ndzimande, the eight-track album sold less than 500 copies.
‘We encourage people to believe in triumph’
Ndebele, who viewed this as a wake-up call for the outfit, summed up the failure.
“Since we were new to the recording industry, the album betrayed a lack of knowledge and was not up to scratch. We were still determined to do it and after the failure of this project, we sat down to map the way forward. We were also not known at that time, but that was just a small contributing factor,” he said.
Among the lessons learnt was that recording was not as exciting as the members had thought, and there needed to be more groundwork, dedication and practice.
The group took a three-year sabbatical during which the members tried to turn around their fortunes. They marked their return with a 2005 offering, Bagijime (Let them run), which demonstrated how far the group had come.
The album saw the group change from their Isicathamiya routine to the use of instruments, giving listeners a unique blend of music that has characterized it to this day.
“Many people love our new format. To them, we had provided something unique and the album sold more than 2 500 copies in its first few months of release,” said Ndebele.
With renewed hope, vigour and armed with the knowledge that proper planning would yield high rewards, the group returned five years later with an album that has propelled them to instant fame, Kuyenzeka(It’s possible). It has sold more than 5000 copies and is still flying off theshelves.
The group sets itself apart by singing messages of encouragement.
“Take our latest album, the title track tells people that, despite the hardships you are facing, it is still possible that you can achieve your dream. What is impossible with people, is possible with God. We encourage people to believe in triumph.”
Ndebele, whose group is preparing for a debut DVD release, hopes to see the group make a lasting presence worldwide.
“Our aim was not to break sales records, but to fulfill our dream of preaching through our music,” he said.
His advice to aspiring gospel musicians is for them to compose music that gives a proper message.Post published in: Africa News