A Heaven On Earth gospel experience
The group consists of six members (Thandinkosi Kwenyama, Sithabile Khumalo, Vusani Khumalo, Khulekile Ngubo, Fanisile Kwenyama and Londela Mbhele - four cousins and two friends.
And yes, they met at church and were members of their church choirs. I spoke to lead singer, Vusani Khumalo about the group and what to expect at the performance.
You are one of the few female gospel groups in the industry. The only other female group is Women In Praise. Are you ready to deal with the pressure of being compared to them?
I think we are bringing something different to the gospel scene. We are a young, six-member group and we have amazing harmonies. We realised that there was a gap in the industry, hence us forming this group. We love Women In Praise because they are amazing singers and worshippers. So being compared to them is a compliment. But we know that we can’t always be likened to them, so it does give us a bit of pressure to make sure that we bring something totally different to what they are doing in the industry.
You all can sing very well. Why choose to form a group instead of pursuing solo careers?
Our background is in the church. Some of the members are children of pastors and bishops. We’ve known each other since we were very young, so there’s a bond that has always been there.
How have people reacted to your music and performances?
While we love the support from our church, we appreciate support from people we don’t know and those in the industry. Their critique and feedback means the most to us, because they don’t know us - they only know our music, while our church knows everything about us.
Gospel is a major genre and it’s fairly saturated. What will Heaven On Earth bring to the genre that will take it up a notch?
I think it’s important that we stay authentic. We actually live and experience what we sing about, which is so important when it comes to gospel music, or any religious or spiritual music. It needs to be genuine so that the message is carried across.
Any dream collaborators?
We’d love to work with maskandi musician, Bahubhe. It would be interesting to see how well we would work together and the music we would come up with through that collaboration. Of course we would love to work with Joyous Celebration, Dumi Mkokstad, Dr Tumi and Benjamin Dube. We actually warm up our voices with Benjamin’s songs, so it would be a dream to work with him.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s a mix of traditional and contemporary gospel. We give you the best of both sub-genres.
So why should we not miss the Heaven On Earth Musical on Saturday?
It’s going to be lit. (laughs) No really, it’s going to be an experience that many will be seeing for the first time. We called it Heaven On Earth Musical because that’s what it is - a musical experience. So expect some acting, dancing and singing. Expect a show because that’s what we are getting ready to serve.
* Catch the Heaven On Earth Musical at the Bat Centre at 12pm on June 23, 2018. Tickets cost R200.