Choirmasters have work cut out

By Munya Vomo Time of article published Apr 8, 2013

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Johannesburg - And then there were three. With the departure of Judith Sephuma last week from Clash of the Choirs, it was obvious the competition was about to get fierce. When it was announced that this week’s episode will be about kwaito and house music it was natural to think that it would be the best episode, but that wasn’t the case.

While it wasn’t the worst showcase we have seen so far, some performances could have been much better. It took a while before we realised this would be another week where there were no eliminations.

In fact, right to the end of the show you kept wondering why the contestants went through all the rehearsals since they were not going to evict anyone.

A colleague of mine suggested that it would have been better if the producers invited the old choirs as a surprise send-off and perhaps even bring back one clique into the competition to heat things up.

But we agreed that perhaps this was yet to come and we might be getting ahead of ourselves.

Overall, each choirmaster had his hit and miss moments, but it all turned out alright. Perhaps it wasn’t out of this world because they all knew that there were no evictions this time around.


When all choirs merged their voices and their choirmasters started ad-libbing, things were slightly awkward. You could tell who had the finest voice and technique among the three remaining choir leaders, Zwai Bala (pictured), Khaya Mthethwa and Zakes Bantwini. Bala, coming from his classical training, did a little improvised dance that got people cheering, so that when he started singing he had won them over.

He did his bit, but when Mthethwa stepped on the mic, the bar was raised. Placing his R&B flavour in the mix, the man gave us an interesting improvised humming tune reminiscent of a Stevie Wonder technique.

But that’s King Khaya for you. From day one the man has been doing his best to ingratiate himself with the judges and he had them eating out of his hand.

But it was when Bantwini’s jazzy roots came out that he got everyone to get up and dance.


It was really sweet to see Melanie Bala and her kids come through to support the head of their home, Zwai. It was even special to see Loyiso come out to help his brother with the choir. They chose to do a song, Fiasco, which the brothers and the TKZee family made a hit years ago. The result was something that made even master composer Lindelani Mkhize envious.


Now is a bad time to choose sides because everyone has a chance. Part of the advice that the judges gave was that the choirmasters needed to know every one of their members’ strengths and weaknesses. They need to know which voice works for what song at what tempo.

They need to know if the said voice will blend in well with the next one and at which parts. Essentially it has just got serious and the choirmaster that sees music like Ne-Yo sees the Matrix and takes it all home.

Kudos to Mzansi Magic and all involved in upping the stakes of the prize money from R500 000 to R750 000. It just means a few more rand per member and the choirmaster can ask for some, too.

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

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