'Thee Legacy' of Isicathamiya
After winning the acapella singing competition The Sing-Off in 2015, there has been no turning back for scathamiya group Thee Legacy.
Now four years after releasing their self-titled debut album, the band is on their way to releasing their much-anticipated album. One that lovers of this all-male group that has brought the cool back to this age-old music form, hope will cement them in the local music industry.
Thee Legacy-yes it’s spelled correctly- is made up of five members, namely: Jabulani Mthembu, Khanyisani Mazibuko, Philani Duma, Emille Ngcobo and Simphiwe Sikhakhane.
Chatting to Mthembu, one of the group members he explained that the while it may seem as though the band disappeared off of the face of the earth after their album, they have actually been quite busy.
“Thee Legacy is working on several projects at the moment. We have just released a music video for Thando, a song we did with Mlindo and we are working on our second album. We started working on the album in December and at the moment it's just being mastered,” he said.
He explained that the album is ten tracks, plus four remixes. The genre he explained is contemporary scathamiya which is youthful but staying true to its traditions. When quizzed on what the process of writing the songs is, Mthembu explained that as the writer of a chunk of the band’s music, the melody comes first, often.
“Sometimes I dream of harmony. And thanks to technology, I am often able to get up at that time of night and sort of mumble it to myself, just so that I don’t forget it. Then in the morning, I will come up with lyrics that accommodate the lyrics.
“Alternatively, I will focus on a theme or idea that’s topical, and create lyrics to match an existing harmony-that we created before. But mostly where Thee Legacy is concerned, I focus on the theme of love. A universal idea of love because I believe through it, we can conquer it all. If we all have love in our hearts, we can battle a lot of evil,” he said.
With one of SA’s proudest musical exports being Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who ironically well known for putting isicathamiya on the map, and bringing it to the world stages from the cultural trenches that it was created in, they have found themselves being referred to as a young Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a tag that he said with a chuckle that the group does not mind at all.
“We don’t mind it at all. These are our grandparents. We could never be bothered by being told that we’re similar to them, it's more of a compliment. Even Joseph Shabalala (of Mambazo) has said to me on numerous occasions that we have to take isicathamiya and grow it on our own way.
“We have noticed that most people don't regard isicathamiya with respect. And we have heard from young people that they have now become able to embrace it because of us. Again, this is a compliment for us,” he said.
The new album Mthembu said, continues with the love songs, this time mixed with the gospel, RnB and hip hop. They have also featured on the album the likes of Dj Maphorisa, Kid-X and Kwesta to name a few.
The album is expected in the next few months as the group puts final touches on it.
“We are working really hard to build this empire ka cothoza. I’ve always thought of isicathamiya as a nugget of gold covered in mud. Relegated to the back where it’s not paid attention to. And we, have come along to showcase to the public how beautiful it is.
Thee Legacy will perform with The Soil at The Arena at Emnotweni Casino in Mpumalanga. Tickets are R180 at Computicket.
Thee Legacy’s debut album is available for download on streaming platforms.