New choirmasters liven up clash

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to Robbie Malinga

The first season of Clash of the Choirs SA was a great success and the second season is set to be better.

We thought we had seen it all when Khaya Mthethwa, Zwai Bala and Judith Sephuma showed off their choral skills, much to our surprise. It was the Idols SA winner, Mthethwa, who walked away with the top spot, again, much to our surprise, because choirmasters Bala and Zakes Bantwini were real contenders.

That’s all old news now, given that the new season is upon us. We are a few weeks into it and there is no denying the producers have introduced several improvements. To start with, the choirmasters comprise musicians from an array of musical genres which makes for great conducting styles.

There’s the Afro-centric Simphiwe Dana, whose music is deeply rooted in a traditional South African ethos. Her very being tells a story of what many would consider to be an authentic African woman.

Now with that background, imagine her trying to interpret a Jay-Z or Solange Knowles song. It would be safe to dismiss this as impossible, but as we have seen, Dana is actually a true contender.

Then there is Makaika’s Tshedi, the golden voice of the group. Like Dana, Tshedi also makes music for the African market, with a special focus on the Afro-pop fans. Yet when presented with any other genre, the songstress never backs down.

The other woman to join the choirmasters is R&B singer, Moneoa. The newcomer is unknown to the greater South African public, yet she has incredible talent. She has model looks, diva vocals and a great musical ear. From what she has released so far, her being new to the scene has nothing to do with what she has to offer.

When we spoke to rapper Shugasmakx about his chances in the competition, he was quick to remind us that his being a rapper does not mean he has no ear for melody. From what he did last week alone with the Luther Vandross number proved he obviously knows what he’s doing.

He did point out that the presence of Liquideep’s Zion made him a little uneasy. While Zion is a master songwriter and vocalist, his spark hasn’t really shown on the show. He comes across as the safe type who paces himself through the race just to make it to the end. I’d keep an eye on him.

Then there is HHP, the big man who is everyone’s favourite. The thing with Jabbaman is that he grew up in a choir with his mother as a conductor. So before the Motswako rap and the South African Music Awards, there was a mommy’s boy in choral training during his formative years, a thing he now uses in Clash of the Choirs. So far he’s miles ahead.

Then comes everyone’s biggest threat, the hitmaker, Robbie Malinga (pictured). You do not reach his level by chance and if last week was anything to go by, we know it would be an injustice if he’s in the bottom two anytime soon, let alone evicted. The show should actually be renamed to Clash of the Other Choirs Against Malinga.

No one has gone home so far, thank goodness, but rest assured someone will leave on Sunday.

• Clash of the Choirs airs every Sunday at 5.30pm on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161).


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