Ntombe Thongo is a musician and traditional healer, born and raised in Mthambalala village near the Ntafufu river mouth, about 25 kilometers from Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape. He became a sangoma (traditional healer) at the age of six, having undergone training which included dream interpretation, and the use of traditional plant medicines. “Seventy percent of the things which I sing about come from my dreams,” he explains. “Music and healing go together. I am healing those who listen to my music.”
Ntombe Thongo’s debut album Thokozile was released in 2012, and won the South African Traditional Music (SATMA) Award as best isiXhosa album of 2012. He was also nominated for a South African Music Award (SAMA) for best Maskandi album in 2013.
He plays traditional instruments including the Umrhubhe (known as mouth bow), uHadi, which is a bow attached to a calabash, and a 12 string guitar. He calls his music style “Transkhanda”, which he describes as a type of Traditional Trance music from the Transkei. Ntombethongo’s style is unique and the audience is totally taken in by his incredible dance moves, innocently beautiful voice, and crazy traditional beaded dress, with mini skirt and high heels.
Madosini Latozi Mpahleni was born in 1922 in Umtata, in a village called Mqhekezweni in the Eastern Cape.
She would say to you in Utando Luphelile “My son! Love has disappeared nowadays since money became the living thing. Modernism has taken us by surprise. Go anywhere in the world and you will find that people are hopeless, there is no self-reliance. People would just go past you without even saying hello. What is life then? There is total destruction of mother nature through the lack of communication, in short no love”.
Madosini’s solo album Power To the Women was released to great acclaim and firmly placed her amongst the remarkable stars of World Music.
Andrew James & The Steady Tiger
“Incredible guitar playing and percussion combined with catchy tunes and lyrics with a message would be a quick description for this duo from Cape Town, South Africa. Imagine if John Butler, Ray LaMontagne, Ben Harper and Bono decided to start a band…that supergroup would sound a lot like Andrew James.”
This duo can fill a festival stage or an intimate coffee shop. They have quickly earned a reputation as folk heroes at home and their global audience is expanding, having recently featured on the cover of Indie Music Reviewer Magazine.
Virtuosos both (in the strict sense of the word), their capacity for creating music that compliments and augments their lyrical storytelling knows no bounds.