Connecting Stars

IT’S always a breath of fresh air to meet people who do things for the right reasons. In this case, I’m referring to Durban folk, country, pop and rock duo, Connecting Stars (pictured) comprising Cheryl and Martin Engel (who are also a happily married couple of 10 years).

And after decades of experience in the music industry, the pair have decided to officially release their debut album.

It is self-titled and features a melodic sound combined with their blended vocal harmony and a down home acoustic atmosphere.

The album will be launched at The Barnyard Theatre on Monday and will feature guests Tresor, John Ellis, Rowan Stuart and Nibs van der Spuy.

Their story is touching and their music and lyrics have significant meaning. As the songwriter of Connecting Stars, Cheryl reveals where she gets her inspiration: “We’ve had a very sick son and he was in hospital for a long time. During that time I started writing songs.

“During the worst time, I found myself picking up my guitar and writing songs and it was a therapy for what I was going through.

“Connecting stars has multiple meanings – connecting people and connecting them to their dreams. Every one is a star, and everyone is special.

“Our vision is to help people reach their dreams and inspire people to be authentically themselves.”

Martin was a former member in the contemporary Christian band, Tree63 and owns a recording studio in Westville. So doors are opening for them because of their experience in the business.

“Everything has been falling into place with Connecting Stars. The song, Pieces, has been playlisted on East Coast Radio and Jacaranda.

“Our songwriting comes from the heart. It’s about being real and vulnerable and letting people into your soul. And people are attracted to that,” he shares.

As for the guests who will perform at the Barnyard Theatre, Martin says the artists have all recorded at their studio over the years: “They’re friends of ours and will be supporting us.

“They’re playing with us on the night and it’s going to be some first-time-ever stuff happening.

“Having been involved for so many years in the industry, it’s a lot easier. It’s almost as if we’ve helped so many other people build their dreams and their music careers, so now we’re collecting.” (laughs)

Besides the rave reviews, Connecting Stars have been receiving locally, the duo have also made an impression on the international market.

Martin explains: “We’re the No 1 artist in our genre in South Africa on ReverbNation, a global music artist website. There are 3 million artists around the world on it.

“Also, our fan base has increased through the website and the music gets straight to the fans. To me, that is the true measurement; not how much money the record company has put into it, but how many people are enjoying it.”

Connecting Stars plan a national tour and to hit the US later this year.

• Don’t miss Connecting Stars on Monday at The Barnyard at 7pm. Tickets R80. Bookings: or call 031 262 9372. Tune into ECR tomorrow at 7:30pm for their on-air interview.