Solo ‘sunflower’ blossoms into collaboration

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to ludlamini1

Sometimes things happen for a reason. When vocalist, Lu Dlamini made a decision to record her solo album she had no idea that it would grow into a project featuring some of the country’s best musicians.

Having been a backing singer for artists, like Jonas Gwangwa, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, Mango Groove and Brenda Fassie, to help pay for her schooling, Lu left South Africa for Brazil and Spain. Here she learnt about the business of the music industry and lent her vocals to compi-lations in Spain.

On her return in 2002, she worked on music events, from clubs to Thabo Mbeki’s inauguration, with Kentse Mpahlwa as her partner.

In 2010 she decided it was time to release her solo album and asked Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner and keyboardist Afrika Mkhize to produce the album.

One day when visiting him, she was introduced to the legendary Steve Newman.

“I had never met him before,” says Lu, taking up the story.

“I new him only as a gentleman from the newspapers who played with Tananas. Ian Osrin introduced us. I went back into the studio and started singing. Steve and Ian came and said that Steve really liked my voice and could he work with me. Yoh! I was shaking. We started recording right there.”

What began as a solo project turned into JikaneLanga (“Turn with the Sun” or “Sunflower” in Zulu).

Through Steve she met Greg Georgiades and tabla player Ashish Joshi, who were impressed enough to play on the album. When percussionist Godfrey Mcina was called in as a session muso, he was so blown away by the music that he asked to join.

Thus it went from a solo album to a project and collaboration.

Turn With the Sun was released in December, but the musicians only started promo-ting the album this year.

Steve and Lu will play songs from the album and some of Steve’s more popular solo tracks tonight at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at Level 2, Shepstone Building at the UKZN Howard College Campus. The doors will open at 6pm.

Lu says about the gig: “We will be playing songs from the album and he (Steve) will also be playing his well-known songs, where I will be singing melodies over his guitar as well as lyrics.

“Sometimes he will play rhythm and I will create a melody around the song.

“We just want to see if our magic is still there.”

If you are unable to attend tonight, the duo will also play at Pietermaritzburg’s Red Door on February 26, and Headroom at Highfield House in Hillary on February 27.


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