If Jabu Hlongwane and Mthunzi Namba were atmospheric features, then one would be a cold front while the other would be a warm front. In weather terms when this happens, then huge storms are expected.
Hlongwane and Namba’s union on their first ever album, Fakaza, will see lightning and thunder shower on all the other musicians in the gospel game. The main reason this is so is basically because the singers, who have been together for 25 years, have never previously done an album together.
“We never got a chance to do something together in the years that we have known each other. So we have decided that now is the best time to release this project because it feels just right,” said Hlongwane.
This is an experimental album, which sees the pair of friends go deep into their souls to find music that sounds like nothing they have ever made before.
“I never sit down to say I am about to write a song. Rather, I just hear a melody when I am driving or when I am asleep and I make it a point to record it.
“I then flesh it up with lyrics at a later stage, saying what I feel needs to be said, depending on the anatomy of the song. Because this is a duet, I also looked forward to what Mthunzi had creatively because he is a brilliant writer too,” explained Hlongwane.
With Namba residing in Durban and Hlongwane based in Johannesburg, the making of this project meant a lot of up and down for Namba as the pair recorded in Hlongwane’s studio.
“We spent about three or four weeks trying to see which songs we could go with for the album. Once we had decided, then it took us about a year to complete the project,” he said.
The pair appear incomplete because they are usually seen next to their best and mutual friend, Lindelani Mkhize. In one of their shows the trio even shocked the crowds by singing a song together. Very few had seen them sing as a trio. However, Hlongwane felt this project was best suited with two voices only.
“Mhkize is not really a singer. He knows his stuff musically but he is not the everyday singer. He loves things like looking for and developing talent and yet we just make music through and through,” said Hlongwane.
A surprise offering on the project, considering these men are gospel “elders”, was the inclusion of rapper Kwesta on the album.
“We wanted a fun remix to one of the songs and so we got Guffy to produce it. We discussed how great it would be to have a rapper on there. Our first choice was ProVerb who would have loved to do it but he was busy with the IdolsSA finale. So Guffy suggested we try Kwesta, who jumped on the project and he was done writing his verses in 10 minutes,” narrated Hlongwane.
The album’s success is anticipated and the pair plan to go on to have a DVD of the same project.
“So far so good. The reception has been amazing and so it is a matter of time before we announce the dates of the live DVD recording,” said Hlongwane.
lFakaza is available at music stores nationwide.