zahara pulls back the roots .

by: Bulali Dyakopu


From the rural areas of Phumlani (Outside East London), the Eastern
Cape born sensational musician Zahara restored the local music
industry with her soulful music within days after her debut album,/
Loliwe was released.
The 23 year old, whose real name is Bulelwa Mkutukana, went
multi-platinum in 3 weeks of her debut album. This includes striking
gold (20 000) in two weeks time, and going on to rack up sales in
surplus of 200 000 (and counting) at an exceptional 4?000 CDs a day.
The singer, who specialises in neo-soul and Afro-pop, expected none of
this when she began recording her album a few months ago. Her soulful
music caters for the young and old, hence her hit single, Loliwe has
been sung in every corner.
Zahara describes herself as a guitarist, vocalist, sings from the
heart and loves God.  The cover of her album she rocks up the
traditional look that gives her the essence of the girl next door with
her ethnic hair pulled back, and of course always having the guitar
with her. 
The guitar symbolises the dreams she has had with that guitar since
the hard days of dreaming unthinkable dreams. And even with the
success hailing her way, the guitar is there to guide her through. In
accordance, songs like Mthwalo and Lengoma reflect her life and
what she has gone through.

Even so, as a local musician, she didn?t sprung free from the on
going piracy of albums in South Africa.The Daily Sun ran a page 3
story about Thandisile Sidina, a fan who spotted hawkers selling
pirated Zahara CDs for five rand in Johannesburg.


While most lyrics are in isiXhosa and her voice undeniably draws
comparisons to her local predecessors, the guitar and piano melodies
are international. Xa Bendingena Mama and Thekwana distinctvelly
focus on her pulling the roots back into South Africa, with a warm
feeling of wanting to a traditional dance style it called umxhentso
?a heavy downward pounding of the ground with alternating feet
usually accompanied drum rhythms and multiple-voices that you go
according to.
Thembinkosi Nciza with S’busiso Leope (DJ S’bu), owns TS Records, the
record label that Zahara is on – met her after seeing her play in East
London last year.
The TS Records team listened to her sing and told me they were going
back to Johannesburg with her. That was the first time she had set
foot in Johannesburg, or on a plane.
Local singers including Simphiwe Dana, Miriam Makeba and even US star
Tracy Chapman Z are compared to other. Though many dispute this claim
but it is undoubtedly true that she has revolutionised the music
By the end of the year she will be off to France and Holland and will
later take on US early next year.

Mastermax Films


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