Edgar Mfaba and Hlalefang Nomganga are the poster children for perseverance. Known to the public as Edsoul and Fang DaRhythm, respectively, the pair make up one of the most exciting additions to the South African house music scene: The Rhythm Sessions.
Their debut album, Music Is Love, has already received rave reviews and cosigns from the likes of the legendary Little Louie Vega. It has also cemented why they were chosen to be a part of the traditional radio disruptor, Sound Supreme - a slot on Kaya FM. But they didn’t start out with all this praise.
Having met in school, Fang and Edsoul “used to listen to the same music show - Oskido’s Church Grooves, which was on YFM back in the day - and we used to just share ideas about the show,” says Edsoul.
“We used to record the shows on cassette,” Fang quips, “and funny enough, we still have the tapes. We’d also buy a lot of music on CD and cassette, and we introduced each other to a lot of music. In high school, we weren’t really friends but we had a mutual respect for each other.”
That respect saw them check out each other’s DJ gigs, then play at a regular night together at a popular eatery.
The Rhythm Sessions was the name of the event and it became the name frequent partygoers began referring to them as. Aside from playing together, Edsoul and Fang found themselves working as technical producers at prolific radio station, Kaya FM. Almost a decade later, they have perservered to be on the mic as well as in music stores.
The lead single off Music Is Love is Touching You, featuring a singer called Oscar. Typical of vocal house songs, it carries with it a derivative message about how touching a loved one feeds one’s soul. But the way it is sung, there is an effervescence that mirrors The Rhythm Sessions’ presence in the game.
“The inspiration for the song came from a good friend of ours, George - who is a part of Deep Escape - and that’s how we actually met the singer,” Edsoul explains. “The song was initially just a beat. Just a foundation we had made with George and then we took it and laced melodies on it, and Oscar just fed off what he was feeling at the time. The lyrics came from him. I don’t know if he was going through something,” he laughs.
While this is their debut, The Rhythm Sessions collaborates with artists who have brought plenty a house song to life. Artists such as Tumelo (on Be My Reality Part 1), Portia Monique (on the sublime Cure) and Wanda Baloyi (who appears twice on songs that find her disillusioned by love).
“When we work with musicians, we don’t limit them and say: ‘You have to write about this or that,’ ” Fang says. “We do the music, the beats, the melodies and then give that to the artists, and then work off that. We’re all about love and that’s what we’re selling.”
Edsoul adds: “We actually did No Love with Wanda first. She’s really creative and from hearing the beat for Love Illusion, she came up with different lyrics. We had done music for a remix of No Love and had sent it to her. But she said she was hearing something else - which was Love Illusion. That’s why the hook is the same but the lyrics are different.”
Then Fang says: “We’ve been making a lot of songs with Wanda, some that you haven’t heard yet. There’s one where she sings in Portuguese.”
The Rhythm Sessions are fans of pan-African vibes and made it a point to include a song called Kwese Kwese, featuring George Munetsi, aka the broadcaster who was popularly known as Georgie.
Fang tells me: “Georgie is singing in Shona and the song basically means ‘I am here and I am there.’ That’s what I remember from our conversations.”
The song seems to be a call to ubiquity and if you listen to the radio long enough, The Rhythm Sessions are fast becoming a ubiquitous band. Their love for music is so strong there’s no telling how far they’ll take it.