By Njabulo Dlamini | 2018-01-13
What a way to start the New Year ! Top tenor soloist Zweli Msibi and the Catholic Heavenly Voices are putting together a master-piece of an album in an historic collaboration.
The unique aspect is that it will not only be confined to gospel music but incorporates other genres as well such as classic and afro pop. After sometime waiting for his big break in the classical music scene, this might just prove to be what the doctor prescribed for Zweli who has been knocking on every door and at some point was even set for the recording of his classical music debut album in Mariannhill, which is a little suburb near Pinetown in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, located 16 kilometres west of Durban. However, this recording deal suddenly fell through as the parties apparently could not agree on certain logistical issues. Everything appears on course now with the recording in full swing for The Catholic Heavenly Voices and Msibi’s collaboration album. Sessions are facilitated by well-known legendary producer and co-founder of SA mbhaqanga group; Soul Brothers. No doubt the two outfits subscribe to the well-known adage that if you want to take a walk go at it alone but if you want to reach far travel in a group. We further engaged with the indisputably thrilled Zweli on the upcoming project as follows;
Have you decided on the title of the album?
How many tracks are in the album?
We are doing 15 tracks and it will be a classical and gospel sound with one stand-out song, which is also my best one titled ‘Somandla Uze Uyigcine Imphilo Yam’.
Are you in studio already?
Yes, we have done a few sessions and will also be in the studio this Sunday (tomorrow).
Who are you working with in the project?
‘Black Moses’ (Moses Ngwenya) from the Soul Brothers is putting together the instrumentation and ensuring production of the album is on point.
Your recording studio?
Dem Dem Studios in Matsapha.
How do you feel now that you are finally recording your songs?
It is not all my original compositions per se. We are putting together Catholic hymns and other songs from the group. I’m so happy that come Easters, everything will be in place and I can’t wait to listen to the best sounds by far.
Are you also a Catholic by denomination?
Yes, I’m a born and bred Catholic my man.
Who facilitated the collaboration between Catholic Heavenly Voices and yourself?
‘Nkonotje’ (Donatus Zwane) from Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS) who is also the man behind the Catholic Heavenly Voices.
What can you say to your fans and Swazis in general concerning the upcoming album?
The Lord will speak to you through the Catholic Heavenly Voices and Zweli Msibi collaboration album. This is what I’ve been waiting for and God has finally showed me the way of going about it. The good thing is that I’m in Christ and will do all this because of Him.
What other tracks or songs will leave many marvelling at Zweli and Catholic Heavenly Voices’ combination?
‘Ikhona lendaba’, ‘Ngempela lo uyindodana’, ‘Inhliziyo’, ‘Sinenjabulo’, ‘Ngomelele amandla kaThixo’, ‘Sethembele’, etc.
About your music classes or lessons; have you abandoned them?
No. I’m still on it this year as I will be pursuing my music career whilst busy with my studies too.
What can you say to ‘Nkonotja’ who roped you in this project?
I’m so grateful for the love and care he has showed me. By the way he is my stepfather if you were not aware, so I respect and appreciate his work. May God be with him because he gave me my lifeline in music; the big break I had been itching for. Music is my life brother.
‘Nkonotja’ on upcoming album:
What can you say about Zweli’s talent? I have known him for almost 10 years and have been following his progress since then. He is a very good and exciting talent. Zweli is growing as a musician. Last week during our rehearsals, Sibusiso ‘Mahewu’ Dlamini confessed to the group that Zweli is indeed an exceptional talent and ahead of him in terms of leading songs.
Remember these two (Sibusiso and Zweli) are the best two higher tenor soloists in Swaziland who have been decorated with medals. They fight for the number one position always. Yes, Zweli needs to be patient and understand that things may not go his way at times. If he embraces this attitude, he will certainly go far in his career and of course with everybody’s support. One thing which is an added advantage to him is that he loves what he does; singing. As the Catholic Church, we are proud to have such a talent and I’m sure even Pope Francis would love watching TCHV (The Catholic Heavenly Voices) with Zweli on stage (chuckling).
How long has he been with you guys?
Zweli has been with us since late 2012 or early 2013 after a few guys left the group, namely another soloist Sibusiso, Buhlobo and Linda. They later formed TOTI. That meant growth for the Catholic Heavenly Voices. I must say it was a mutual understanding because they wanted to sing another genre instead of being confined to church music. Coming back to your question, .it’s a good thing that Zweli is part of the lead singers in the group, taking over from where ‘Mahewu’ left. Zweli will benefit from the group by being exposed and the choir too since he provides that higher tenor, which completes the sounds of the group. We also have other equally gifted guys in the group; Cece Ndwandwe who conducts us and is also responsible at St Joseph’s Mission where he works with the music team. We also have ‘Dibo’ who is another very good tenor soloist from Lwandle Catholic Church and Mkhize, who leads with Zweli. They are an equally gifted lot. Besides, we have guys who serve part-time in the group; ‘Juice’ Ntimba, ‘Tshwara’, John and two keyboardists in Mphile Fakudze and Sifiso Mabuza. The combination of all these quality voices will produce a massive record or master piece album. We are currently working on it with the help of the old guards of TCHV; Sibusiso and Buhlobo who are making sure everything is in place for a wonderful album.
Is the genre still gospel?
With this upcoming album we are looking forward to beat one of our best albums ‘Engelosi Engilonda’ and most recently where Zweli and ‘Tshwara’ were leading ‘Sisendleni siyeza’ which is the title of the 2015 album. We are not solely focused on gospel but also afro pop and classical music
When can we expect the album?
It should be out by end of April and latest beginning of May. Remember, we work with the legendary ‘Black Moses’ Ngwenya of the Soul Brothers who does not rush things. He is a perfectionist and takes his time until he is satisfied with the product.
Yona itoba mnandzi kakhulu ngoba it also includes our compositions. This album follows our last one titled ‘Sisendleleni’ of 2015, one of our lovely releases thus far.
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