Mahotella Queens collaborates with DJ Tira
Mahotella Queens’ Hilda Tloubatla is set on cementing the mbaqanga group’s name in history and is achieving this through strategic collaboration with new-age artists.
Formed 56-years-ago by the late Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde, the group recently released a single with Afrotainment’s DJ Tira, titled Kazet, a title taken from one of their famed albums with the same name and released in 2006.
“Being able to record with these youngsters is not only exciting for us, but proves that the group is still relevant, even after so long. It shows that the love for Mahotella Queens is still there and the work we have put in for so many years, putting out great quality music and vocals, is recognised,” said Tloubatla.
The song was recorded with two other original members of the group, as per Tira’s request, who have subsequently retired, leaving Tloubatla as the lone-standing member who has been in the industry for more than five decades.
Locally, the group has also collaborated with the likes of Cassper Nyovest, the late Hugh Masekela, and penny whistle group Kwela Tebza on their song Porompita, among many others.
“We have been really blessed to have various collaborators pick us, especially in the past few years because that has helped our name stay in the public eye locally,” said Tloubatla, adding that the group has had no trouble with international recognition owing to the various tours it has been part of.
Mahotella Queens recently returned from one said tour shortly before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Tloubatla said the world’s appreciation of their signature sound, style, and music is what keeps them going.
The results of their hard work are seen in the many annual bookings, she said, and one of their biggest recent achievements is the re-release of their tribute album in England, titled 50 Years, initially released in 2014.
“Just having that achievement under our belt is unbelievable. The excitement that the international market still expresses for our work is surreal,” she said.
While the group is highly regarded internationally, their original music hasn’t been receiving much airplay locally, something that puzzles Tloubatla.
“It is so unfortunate because we still meet fans who want our music,” she said, adding that they appreciate the love that South Africa shows them.
“This is home. We are because of home, and no one can ever take that away. That is why we carry Mzansi everywhere we go; our languages in the music and our traditional wear to the rest of the world.”@AmandaMaliba