Choral talent show strikes right note

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to Judith Sephuma

Only two episodes in and Clash of the Choirs is proving to be a success. They said it would be huge, but on top of being an instant hit it has acquired a cult following.

Clash of the Choirs took some of the most talented people in the music industry to act as choir masters.

We saw Idols SA winner Khaya Mthethwa thrown into the limelight as the leader of the KwaZulu-Natal choir. His warm persona works for and against him, depending on how you look at it.

When shopping for potential singers, he makes it easy for people around him to sing. There comes a time when he has to be stern and honest with those he can’t use in his choir and Mthethwa struggles to hide his discomfort, which is understandable, as he spent a good part of last year going through the same thing on Idols SA.

Jazz musician Judith Sephuma’s visit to her home in Limpopo was great to watch. Joking around about ex-boyfriends and old friends showed she was really comfortable. Compared to Mthethwa, Sephuma is more critical towards and firmer with her contestants. She has that maternal thing going on, and although she smiles all the time you can tell when she doesn’t like someone’s music. So far we can’t tell who has the better choir, her or Mthethwa.

Then there are are Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Winnie Khumalo and Thembi Seete, whom we saw last week. It is great to see uBra Hotstix show us a thing or two about music. He has the most experience in the group and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

Khumalo has also been doing music most of her life and this show is an extension of what she already knows. She has an edge over the others in the dancing department. Khumalo loves to move, so much so that sometimes she lets it encroach on her singing. A case in point was a Sama performance a few years back when her hit Live My Life was still new. Though people loved her performances overall, critics were quick to point out that she was constantly out of breath as a result of her dancing. But if she gets her choir members to dance and sing properly we’ll be in for an amazing showcase.

Still on dancing, ex-Boom Shaka member Seete is an all-rounder and obviously was looking for people like herself. Her vocals are some of the best we have heard in the country. She is a brilliant dancer who, unlike Khumalo, knows when to breathe. However, it is unclear what her experience is when it comes to choral music.

So far these are the judges we have seen do wonders with the local talent in the country. The remaining judges include Zwai Bala and Zakes Bantwini.

On another matter, there was a report on IOL’s website that one of Clash of the Choirs judges, Sephuma, was allegedly involved in a car accident whereby she hit a woman who later died in hospital. While investigations are still under way, this is what M-Net’s spokeswoman, Lani Lombard, had to say.

“Mzansi Magic’s Clash of the Choirs is a pre-recorded reality show competition. Off air, Clash of the Choirs is in the phase where the choirs face off on stage. In order not to spoil the outcome of the competition for viewers, we do not want to disclose which choirs and choirmasters are still part of the show. All behind-the-scenes information is strictly confidential. It’s not for M-Net to comment. This is a legal matter, the law should take its course.”

• Clash of the Choirs SA, Sundays, 5.30pm on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161).

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