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Algoa FM is gearing up for a busy 2013 with sports and education on the top of the regional station’s ‘playlist’. Education is first priority.

On Wednesday, January 16, some of the Algoa FM presenters will dress up in their school gear and collect new or used uniforms for the underprivileged children in the community.

Algoa FM will also support the Discovery Surfers Challenge in East London, as well as the George Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge (OCC) on 16 February. The OCC is the only event exclusively for persons with physical disabilities in South Africa.

From January 21-28 Algoa FM will run the Pick n Pay Heroes campaign, where learners have the opportunity to vote for their school hero who is contributing positively to the history of the school and is making a positive impact on their fellow learner’s lives.

Algoa FM presenters and Pick n Pay representatives will visit each of the five winning schools to announce and award their school hero from 4-8 February.

Listeners can also catch Algoa FM at the Africa Open from Thursday 14 until Sunday 17 February whilst fans of Zwai Bala and Naz Holland can pack their picnic baskets and camping chairs and enjoy this live performance at another edition of Concert in the Park with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Algoa FM taking place on 16 and 17 February.

“We are certainly looking forward to a busy and exciting 2013 and wish to thank all our listeners and client base for their continued and loyal support of the station and all our initiatives,” says Mio Khondleka, Programme Manager of Algoa FM.

There is plenty more happening, and listeners are invited to stay tuned to Algoa FM for more details, and to visit the station’s website on www.algoafm.co.za or Facebook page for more details.

Issued by Algoa FM

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YOLANDA MAARTENS JOINS OFM MIDMORNING SLOT

Posted by radio On December - 21 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

OFM is excited to welcome Yolanda Maartens to the midmorning slot, weekdays between 09:00 and 12:00.Yolanda is a home-grown talent from Potchefstroom. She has been part of the OFM team for three years, making her mark on the brand and its listeners with her friendly presentation style on Saturday mornings from 09:00. Yolanda has produced the afternoon drive show for 18 months and has shown skill and understanding in radio, directing the afternoon show’s content delivery. Yolanda will embark on her new challenge from 7 January 2013.

Yolanda says she is delighted to take over the ‘Effect’ from Eloise Pretorius who will be relocating to Cape Town after 13 very successful years on OFM. Yolanda says she is very “honoured to have been the management’s first choice when this opportunity came up” and that she is “very privileged to work for a company that recognises as well as appreciates her talent”.

 “Although I am taking on a massive challenge, I believe that it will be rewarding at the same time. I am proud to be associated with OFM but I must say that I am more ecstatic to take over this prime spot,” she concluded.

Yolanda is a positive person who has done some extensive community upliftment work before starting a career in radio.

She completed her master’s degree in sustainable development at the North-West University and it was as a student that her path crossed with radio. Her radio talent saw her joining OFM in 2009 as part of a regional On Air competition. Since then she has presented weekend shows, stood in for other presenters and produced the afternoon drive show, Huistoe. 

Yolanda enjoys singing, going camping and loves meeting passionate people who also want to make a difference.

Issued by OFM

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ICASA ANNOUNCES NEW BROADCAST LICENSE APPLICANTS

Posted by radio On December - 20 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Earlier this year ICASA issued invitations for applicants to provide commercial sound broadcasting in both primary and secondary markets. It also issued an invitation for interested parties to apply for Individual commerce subscription broadcast licenses.  This week the authority announced the receipt of these applications and has opened up the applications for inspection by all interested persons through written representations. It is based on these responses that the authority may decide to hold hearings with regards to the applications.

ICASA intends on awarding six licenses within the Primary Markets in line with the terms of the Primary Markets licensing process, two licenses to applicants in the geographical markets in Gauteng and two each in the metropolitan areas in and around Durban and Cape Town. In the Secondary Markets, the authority intends on awarding four licenses in four provinces. One license will be issued in the Northern Cape, two in the Free State and one in the Eastern Cape.  ICASA has announced that the frequencies to be licensed for Primary Markets are on the Medium Wave band.

In Secondary Markets, ICASA has received submissions from three applicants;  Histoprox (Pty) Ltd, Histotrim (Pty) Ltd and Atretone (Pty) Ltd. Simphiwe Madlose who is one of the founding executive directors of MSG Afrika Investment Holdings is listed as the contact person for Histotrim (Pty) Ltd.  MSG Afrika is part of the consortium that was awarded the Limpopo license in 2007 which led to the birth of Capricorn FM.

 One of the applications for commercial sound broadcasting licenses in primary markets has come from Capital Radio 604 Pty Ltd. A granting of this broadcast license would mean the resurrection of Capital Radio 604. The station started transmitting in December 1979 and was shut down in 1996.  Garnering support for the application through their website, it is targeting listeners in Kwa- Zulu Natal and Gauteng. The station is promising audiences’ music and content with broad appeal and independent news without fear or favour. To date, the petition to get Capital Radio back on air has been signed by 1193 people.  K2012010707 also submitted an application for a broadcast license in the Durban metropolitan area.

Other companies that have applied for sound broadcasting licenses in the Gauteng area are; Extriserve PTY Ltd, Ltd Simascape (Pty) Ltd and Main Street 1035 PTY Ltd. In Cape Town; Magic 828 (Pty) Ltd, and K2012010697 (Pty) Ltd has also expressed interest.

ICASA has also received five applications for Individual Commercial Subscription Broadcasting licenses from Kagiso TV (currently rebranding as Grounded Media), Mindset Media Enterprises, Mobile TV (Pty) Ltd, Siyaya TV, Close-T Broadcasting Network Holdings (Pty) Ltd.  Mobile TV (Pty) Ltd is planning on introducing a mobile television service in the country, if ICASA give the go ahead for a license, Mobile TV (Pty) Ltd will be the second company to offer mobile television services after MultiChoice introduced DStv Mobile.

The granting of licenses to many of these applicants will have a ripple effect on the ICT industry by posing competition to both PBS and Commercial offerings. The process is in the early stages and interested parties who will be submitting representations with regards to the applications have 30 working days. The clock has been ticking since the 11th of December 2012 and respondents will have twenty one days to respond to any submissions made regarding their applications

 

 

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[By Kgomotso Moncho]

Vukile Zondi (28) is the Programmes Manager at Gagasi FM 99.5. He speaks to Radiobiz about life, radio and why he calls Gagasi (The Sound of the city) home. 

 Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? 

Picture taken from iol.co.za

The early part of my childhood I grew up in Eshowe, in a township now known as King Dinizulu.  It used to be called eGezinsila back then.  In the latter part of my childhood I grew up in Westville in Durban.  I’d say I had a happy childhood with a close knit family and friends, some of whom are still close to me to this day.  I also grew up being exposed to people from all walks of life so I am able to relate and interact very well with people as a result of that.

Did you always know you would end up in radio?

Not really, although I always took a keen interest in radio as a child.  I only really realised I wanted to be in radio when I went on a rugby tour in Joburg in Standard 8 and heard YFM for the first time.  I think it was because it was the first time I had heard a station that I related to entirely.

What did you study and where?

 I studied B.Com Law at the University of Johannesburg.

What do you love about radio? 

Oh wow, where do I begin?  More than anything music is a big part of my life.  So music radio allows me to be exposed to all kinds of music all the time.  I have worked for a rock station, a pop station and two urban contemporary stations, all with their own unique music offerings.  I have therefore been exposed to the best of various kinds of music.  Another thing is the immediacy of radio which appeals to me as a person who easily gets bored with routine.  There’s never a dull moment in radio and on the spot decisions are the order of the day, I thrive under such conditions although they get highly stressful at times.

How long have you been working at Gagasi? 

For a year and 3 months.

 What do you love about it?

As a KZN boy who lived in Jozi for just under 10 years, I love how Gagasi’s staff and audience are uniquely and proudly KZN.  We live in a beautiful province with immense potential in numerous areas.  Gagasi is all about KZN and that’s the thing I love most about us.

 What have been some of the highlights of working there? 

It has only been a year but being part of our Back To School campaign earlier this year was a big one.  I also think that the current summer promotion “Ila Ngil’ Thola Khona” is a huge highlight for me as we have interacted with our listeners all over KZN having thrown parties in PMB, Ladysmith, Port Shepstone and this weekend Ulundi and Richards Bay.  In addition the whole concept revolves around something unique to KZN, our number plates.  It has been an awesome campaign for which we have received a lot of positive feedback and insights.

Do you remember your first day at Gagasi?

I actually don’t.  I was on a month’s leave before starting at Gagasi and in the last week I had already started coming in, so by the time my official day came I was already at home.

 What are the challenges of your job? 

There are too many to count.  I think to put it broadly, as a programming manager you have about 20 something DJs reporting to you, you are also accountable to an MD, the board and 1.78 million listeners.  So there’s a plethora of challenges of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis that one deals with.

What was your first job? 

My first job that I got paid for was as a shop assistant at the Westville Hardware store when I was 15.  My job was to help customers around the shop and carry their stuff to their cars, including stuff like bags of cement, river sand and stones.  My first full time job was as a programming coordinator at YFM.

How do you unwind? 

I watch sports, go out partying, have people over for a braai at my place; I exercise and listen to music that I don’t normally listen to.

 What’s playing in your iPod?

Too many things.  I’m a hip hop head first although I enjoy all kinds of music according to my mood.  At this moment I am listening to a lot of Rick Ross albums and mix tapes, a bit of Big Sean’ mix tape “Detroit” and recently rediscovered an old Busta Rhymes’ album “When Disaster Strikes” which I used to know off by heart as a kid.  Also, as a Durban boy I obviously have my classic slow jams.

 What is your vision for the station? 

 To put it simply I would like to see Gagasi grow more into its role as the authority and sound of KZN youth culture and lifestyle.  Naturally, I would also like to see the station breaking the 2 million listeners mark and also growing its profitability so we can stamp our authority as a powerful radio station in the industry.

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FINDING REASON

Posted by radio On December - 19 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Picture taken from chekadigital.co.za

[By Chloe Smith]

 REASON is a relatively new name in the South African Hip Hop scene. His debut album, Audio 3D, was released in June this year to an enthusiastic local fan-base. The first single, Do It Like I Can, quickly became popular and saw a decent amount of air-time all over the country. Radiobiz caught up with REASON as the debut screening of the video for A LOT ON MY MIND, his latest single.

 So how did you get into the music industry?

Proverb got me in. I played him my music, asked him what he thought of it, he gave me a review and introduced me to a couple of his music-industry friends. And the rest is history.

 Your single “Do It Like I Can” won an award at the South African Hip Hop Awards. How did that feel?

That was quite cool. That was a real honour, truly because I’ve seen the song grow from where it was this time last year. More so because it was recorded three times! The song has grown and come alive and I’ve seen it performed. People look at me funny when I’m performing it with people jumping and screaming. So I’m really excited about that.

 Was not being able to collect your first award as a musician difficult for you?

I think it was a nice story. I kind of felt that it was cool to have somebody go up on stage and say that Reason couldn’t come and accept his award because he’s shooting a video.

 His decision to host the screening of his latest video, A Lot On My Mind, in Newtown was a bold move. Most artists opt for the glamorous, high-end venues, especially when they’re new to the scene and want to make a name for themselves quickly. REASON is just as ambitious as the rest of them but I think that he understands his scene and the people that make up the Hip Hop scene better.

 What was the background behind “A Lot On My Mind”?

There was a lot on my mind at that time in my life. I was broke, my girlfriend wasn’t working, my grandmother was sick so I was going out to drink to forget about it. I was just in that weird space. I also had an album coming out so it was quite an awkward time. So that’s what the song was about – that period in life. But I think for the most part, we put it out as second single because we realised how much people could relate to the song. Everybody’s got a lot on their minds. So that’s why we put it out as the second single. Apart from the fact that it’s a banging song.

 One could say that choosing Kitcheners as the venue communicated an older, more seasoned glamour and style and that by choosing to screen the video there, REASON was linking the underground side of Hip Hop to his single. A bold and clever move – unlike glamorous screenings, no one had any qualms about raising their glasses in the air and grooving the minute A Lot On My Mind came on.

 What was the filming process like for the “A Lot On My Mind” music video?

That was really cool. We were working with Justin from Gorilla Films. He knew what he wanted to shoot; pretty much had all the pictures in his mind. It was a night shoot over two nights and then we banged it out. I didn’t even receive my award because we were shooting.

 Sponsored by Millers, the screening was a definite success, with the crowd jammed into the small space in front of the screens. A sense of camaraderie seemed to fill the comfortable space, as if everyone there knew that you were a lover of Hip Hop, which made you a friend. The beer was cold, the music was loud and the vibe was pumping. Camera flashes illuminated the faces and the old-fashioned wallpaper, chandeliers glinted in the ceilings and somehow everyone seemed to be living only in that moment, as if reality was more real then and the only time was the present. REASON himself milled with the crowd, greeting people and holding conversations in a very relaxed manner. His down-to-earth approach to the night ensured that everyone somehow felt personally connected to him through the event.

 Do you feel that the South African Hip Hop industry is becoming too Americanised?

I think it’s not necessarily Americanised – I think it’s popularised. People are getting to understand the relevance of making music that is actually popular to people. But I think for the most part, it’s really impressive that everybody has their own integrity and they push their own agendas and they push their own perceptions, as opposed to those of the Americans. But trends are trends. There will always be baggy jeans, there will always be American accents and there will always be grills and stuff like that. I think for the most part, when it comes down to the music, as popularised as it may sound, it really is authentic, it really is South African.

Plans for the future?

Music, music, more music. Tours, videos, collaborations, more music, tours, videos, collaborations – just bigger and bigger.

 If you could tour any country in the world, which country would you visit?

I always used to want to go to Jamaica but it seems like everybody is going to Jamaica now. So for now, I’ll say Nigeria.

Why Nigeria?

Because of the stories that I hear, I want to see if it really is that terrible…. but also to get an understanding of their industry. As a musician, we all know that they have one of the strongest and most independent industries in the African continent and it influences us as much as it influences overseas. I think it would be, on a music level, to study how they get to that level where these guys are finding America and they’re opening up Def Jams in Africa. Just to understand how to make things go that big.

 Despite a few technical glitches, the crowd walked away satisfied. REASON even announced that he would play the video twice, because he felt like it and nobody complained. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of REASON, more of his music and definitely more of his videos.

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CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF MICASA

Posted by radio On December - 14 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

After the huge success of their previous 3 music videos, Mi Casa will be releasing their much-anticipated fourth video for their latest radio single, Can’t Get Enough, directed by the well-respected Tristan Holmes from Star Productions.

The video was shot in just over 20 hours and oozes sexiness in its black and white form. The video tells the story of a relationship between a guy (J’Something) and a girl (Model Jennifer Pietersen) – although it’s not your typical boy meets girl scenario. Instead she is completely frozen in ice, a metaphor for the emotional and physical walls she has created around herself. Our romantic hero is able to melt the barriers she has created against him through his unrelenting love for her and through his music. As the ice melts he is able to free her from the ice enabling love to conquer all.

 The single Can’t Get Enough is only available on the recently released THE PLATINUM EDITION version of the groups much acclaimed 2011 debut album, put together personally by the band in order to ‘give something back to the fans’.

The PLATINUM EDITION boasts the full original album with three bonus tracks – acoustic versions of “Heavenly Sent’ and ‘I’ll Be There For You’ and a brand new track, ‘Can’t Get Enough’, already riding airwaves around the country.  There is also a full bonus disc of remixes by producers such as Charles Webster, Atjazz, Gregor Salto, Royal K, QB Smith, Dr Duda and Chymamusique as well as celebrated videos from ‘These Streets’, ‘Heavenly Sent’ and ‘La Vida’.

 This has been a great year for MiCasa after bagging three SAMAs and having just released their Platinum Edition album, the band has spent the better part of 2012 touring both local and internationally, playing up to 12 gigs on some weeks and working the Mi Casa brand into what it is today – a well oiled machine.  

The music video for Can’t Get Enough will be launched on MTV Base: Spanking New O’Clock on Friday 14 December at 16h00.

 Issued by Red Flag

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JOYOUS CELEBRATION REACHES FOR NEW FRONTIERS

Posted by radio On December - 14 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

picture taken from showbizxklusivs.blogspot.com

[By Boitumelo Mmakou]

Christmas is almost upon us and so is the much awaited Joyous Celebration 17th Musical Miracle in partnership with MTN. It is a magical show happening this Saturday, 15th December 2012, showcasing more than just an ordinary talented South African choir, it will be a full concert, one which has been crafted through hard work and dedication to make it the success that it is needs to be.

 For the Joyous Celebration team and fans this concert will be a reminder as to why Joyous Celebration simply is joyous, it will be a reminder of a dream between three friends, Jabu Hlongwane, Lindelani Mkhize and Mthunzi Namba from Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the evolution of how Joyous Celebration  evolved into a remarkably large brand. The choir has carved an identifiable footprint in South African history; it was established in 1994 when Nelson Mandela became the first president of a democratic South Africa. “The initial purpose was to celebrate the peaceful voting process through music” Goodman Hlongwane of Joyous Celebration states. Joyous Celebration simply fit in with the celebrations of a new South Africa through linking their musical talents with the significance of that year by hosting their very first Joyous Celebration show. Joyous Celebration has over the years, produced over the top performances in all their concerts and the 17th Live Music Miracle will do nothing short of exceeding the standards the choir has become renowned for.

 Performing is not only about blending melody with voices, but about pleasing the crowd, this is what makes Joyous Celebration stand out from the many other gospel choirs that one would ever see perform live on stage.  Their angelic voices, punctual and lively band team up to create an electrifying artistic presentation of what gospel music should sound like. According to Goodman Hlongwane, “No matter who you are you will be impacted by the presentation of music that is always fresh and professionally done.” The choir has been promoting their new album ‘Joyous Rewind’, an album set to please old and new fans as well as share some old time gospel favourites.

Joyous Celebration 17 will not only be a follow up on their CD and DVD collections but it will showcase a sound much more mature when compared to their previous offerings. A must see is the new technology and upgraded sound system that will redefine the extraordinary  style of performance that Joyous Celebration is known for.

The highlight of 2012 for most gospel music lovers this festive season will be the biggest presentation of quality music by Joyous Celebration, taking place at Rhema Ministries in Randburg. Tickets for the show are priced between R150 and R300 and can be booked via Computicket or Shoprite Checkers stores.

 It’s not certain what heights await Joyous Celebration, but there is a certainty that they want to be the best where ever they go, and in all they do.

 

 

 

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PRODUCT PLACEMENT ON THE AIRWAVES

Posted by radio On December - 14 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

[By Kagiso Mnisi]

Product placement is a well understood phenomenon on television and cinema. A brand such as Aston Martin naturally associates with the James Bond franchise or Miway sponsors a prime time soap opera. But recently the phenomenon has appeared more on radio too. The embracing of convergence by radio where the traditional radio conversation now ranges across social media and sms has enabled the medium to extend conversations beyond the live broadcast. Radio is thus rendered fertile for endorsements, branded entertainment and subtle public relations.

How has television fared?

According to the Journal of Management and Marketing Research due to media fragmentation, traditional advertising has seen a decline in pushing products in favour of strategic placements. Cases in point are prime time soapies such as Generations, Muvhango and Isidingo, which have endorsed material like clothing, furniture and banking products. These products are strategically placed throughout the soapie’s plot narrative which audiences can relate to. The consumption of imagery resulting from a well-loved television programme has allowed marketers to influence behavioral patterns through products. Pervan and Martin’s research on the Exploratory Study Of Television Soap Operas reveals that “soap operas are defined by their serial nature where the narrative is controlled not by the reader, but by the producer or distributor”. The recent flurry of reality TV programmes has seen the small screen’s nose peeking ahead of the rest in the race. As seen on SABC 3, Justin Bornello’s Ultimate Braai has elevated Pick n Pay’s banner as the go-to hypermarket for meat products.

Has radio caught on?

Drive time radio slots are considered flagships by many radio stations. They are the advertiser’s main attraction to paraphrase Joanna Wright in an article for The Media. Gareth Cliff’s morning radio show on 5fm, for example, is marked by a mix of news, music and entertainment. The show’s narratives encompasses different characters with Cliff being the protagonist cum agitator, this has seen a franchise such as News Cafe sponsoring the show’s news segment. Cliff’s commentary and parodies of the country’s political landscape give the product mileage via the general ‘Cliff narrative’. The emergence of multi-platforms such as blogging by radio personalities as well as their presence on social media means product placement has room to thrive.

Who is winning the battle?

As much as radio is still the title holder in information purveyance to households across the country, there are still great challenges in getting sound returns on investments from product placements through the medium. Television triumphs through its ability to visually tell desirable stories that viewers aspire to. A trip to a picturesque destination such as the Maldives sponsored by Glenmorangie on Top Billing is too herculean when compared to a live read by Kaya FM’s T-Bose on the latest BMW offering. Internet radio is dealt a sour deal by the perpetual red herring that is this country’s bandwidth issues. To add salt to the wound, marketers are still grappling with models to monetize online content effectively.

Is radio news tainted by commerce?

Brand sponsorships of the radio news broadcast is a common trend and practice. But has the line between sales and news started blurring? News by nature has to be objective, balanced and offer insight into the socio-political paradigm of a country. But what implications are there when a commercial interest is married to this paradigm? Whether editorial premise is set or influenced by the sponsor is an often open question.

Interesting facts

• Generations is viewed by over 4.9 million people daily.

• The latest SABC TV rate setting has become very aggressive. SABC 1′s 20 spot schedule is a massive +34.4% up which with a slump of -9.2% in viewership yields a massive +48.0% Media Inflation Watch (MIW), cost per thousand (CPM) increase.

• According to Mike Leahy’s latest Media Inflation Watch figures, radio rates are up by +7.38% and MIW Index (CPM) is up by +7.38%. Black format stations upped their rates by 8.18%, which with no Performance measure possible, provided a +8.18% MIW Index (CPM). The CIW format stations rates/MIW Index (CPM) is up by 7.01%.

The above article was developed through research using the following sources: The Bottom Line with Evan Davis, South African Country Report Context, and Product placement effectiveness: reinvented and renewed, Exploratory Study Of Television Soap Operas and Media ShopTalk: w/c 10 December 2012 – Media Inflation Watch.

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LIGWALAGWALA FM UNEARTHS NEW DJ TALENT

Posted by radio On December - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

LIGWALAGWALA FM UNEARTHS NEW DJ TALENT

A befitting end to the illustrious search for Mpumalanga’s Finest Dj was witnessed at Carlito’s in Ermelo. The competition that discovered DJ Afro and Sir Tellus who are now presenters of the Saturday midnight Show on Ligwalagwala FM sought to unearth another gem.

 More than 100 talented Dj’s from all around the province of Mpumalanga sent in their demos with the hope of becoming the next to be crowned MP’s Finest DJ. Only one could win it and it was none other than Njabulo Magagula, affectionately known as DJ Quentin, from Nkomazi.

 The young man submitted his 10-minute-long mix which was given the nod by judges and saw him sailing into the second round where he auditioned in front of judges at the station against 13 other contestants who had made the shortlist. His impressive skill was evident when he proceeded to the final round of eliminations where he played a 10-minute set live on air on the afternoon drive show.

Three finalists chosen by the listeners on air, DJ West, DJ Hotjuice and DJ Quentin went head to head in a packed club Carlitos. They all gave their best but there could only be one winner. DJ Quentin impressed both the judges and the crowd with his ‘Black Coffee’ style of playing. Black Coffee also happens to be his role model and inspiration.

 To wrap the evening up in style on the decks was DJ Afro, Shabbisto, The Prince, Dj Cleo and Dr Malinga. The capacity filled club celebrated with DJ Quentin on his win where he grabbed himself Pioneers CD350’s with a Pioneer Mixer, Sennheizer earphones and a carry care for all DJ equipment that costs R 27 000.

 “This is proof that we are committed to empowering our listeners. Mpumalanga is a province filled with talent and we aim at finding it and showcasing it to the world.” said Rio Mabunda, Ligwalagwala FM Station Manager.

Issued by SABC

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[By Chloe Smith]

When invited to the launch of a gospel choir, I had my misgivings. Though the invitation said that the choir was young and interested in combining traditional gospel with their newer, younger musical tastes, I was still unconvinced. Only to be very pleasantly surprised by Gospel Goes Beyond.

 Unlike any other launch, this one began early, with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks for the attendees (there was a bar available for those who so wished). Located in the Yamaha Theatre, the gathering was small with a rare sense of community among the guests. Though the surroundings were glamorous, the local celebrities were real and engaging.

 The choir itself is made up of fourteen young singers from all over South Africa and their gospel rendition of Eminem’s Lose Yourself certainly points toward their desire to give gospel a fresher sound. Despite this, they held true to the idea of a gospel choir. Their timing was impeccable and their harmonies well-placed and rehearsed, combining to deliver a spectacular choral performance.

Many of their songs incorporated interesting rhythms, using vocals to dictate the beat and the flow of songs instead of relying on traditional percussions. This technical proficiency can be directly attributed to Nqobile Sibeko of Joyous Celebration, who also wrote, composed and produced all songs on the upcoming album. The band was made up of a keyboard, a set of drums, a bass, two bongo drums and an electric guitar. Their original songs have a distinctly funk feeling to them, encouraging members of the audience to get up and dance (which they did, co-ordinating a “bus” and bringing the party to the front of the stage).

 In the first half of the launch, Reggie Hufkie included religious rap in each song. The ladies of the choir were all clad in stylish purple numbers, as a professional choir would be, swaying and snapping in unison. The sheer togetherness of their performance was impressive.

The choir was joined by Kay-Leigh O’Donovan, Omen and Howza of Peanut Gallery, covering 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up? O’Donovan’s vocals were powerful and Peanut Gallery certainly raised the roof.

Ernie Smith, a two-time SAMA winner and four-time KORA nominee, was the highlighted guest star of the launch. With guitar that made you want to cry and dance at the same time, an impossibly funky style and a voice made of gold, we were all sold. When joined on stage once more by GGB, we were sold again by their beautiful rendition of Love Don’t Hurt Me, easing into an acappella chorus near the end of the song that moved every person present. 

The rest of the launch was comprised of one or two choir members leading individual songs, belting out catchy tunes in powerful voices. The choir worked hard to present a united front by giving each member an equal opportunity to shine in their own right, while not specifically promoting one member above another.

Fezi Hlatshwayo, founder of Gospel Goes Beyond, ended of the launch with a speech. “Should I speak as a man of God or a businessman? This time next year, at five past nine, GGB will not look the same, they won’t sound the same and they won’t just be playing at the Yamaha theatre but bigger things. I have a feeling in my heart. That’s me speaking as a man of God.” He called on all present businessmen to support these talented young people and promised special rates for all present between January and April. He challenged all media to put GGB on high rotation. “Let’s get these guys rolling.”

Their full-length album will be available next year, with tracks like “Nkosi Impilo Yami”, “I’m Free” and “Down on My Knees”. I strongly recommend you keep an eye out for these talented young musicians and their project to give gospel in South Africa a new face.

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