PROMISING afro-soul and jazz singer Thandokazi Mbete is set to dedicate her performance at Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg, tonight to the late Miriam Makeba.
Mbete, who was born in Ngangelizwe in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, saysshe will also honour her mentor Ndunduzo Makhathini with a song.
Makhathini is one of South Africa’s best jazz pianists who has worked with artists including Feya Faku, Thandiswa Mazwai and Zamajobe. In 2008 he toured Europe with the late Zim Ngqawana.
The 23-year-old singer says her link with Makeba is from the fact that her debut album Imvelaphi was recorded at a centre named after her. The Miriam Makeba Centre is part of Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape. It comprises a recording studio and lecture space offering music lessons.
She says the idea to acknowledge the late veteran singer, who died in 2008 in Italy, came to her during the recording of Imvelaphi and she wanted to recognise the role that the renowned singer played in the music industry.
Her “thank you” to Makhathini is to recognise his input on her album.
Mbete, who will also be launching her album tonight, will perform with artists including Csana, Chosen and Andile, Gunzo, Nosiviwe, Shoelace and Mboza.
“My plan is to launch the album in various provinces to introduce myself to music fans. My next launch will be in my home town, in Mthatha, next month.”
Mbete is also scheduled to perform at the Standard Bank International Joy of Jazz on September 24 to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Mbete is a young songwriter who expresses her journey of life through her music.
Her music seeks to communicate a message of love.
Her song, Ukuzazi, encourages people to be proud of who they are.
“In the song I use myself as an example of how you show that you appreciate your heritage.”
Since the release of Imvelaphi, Mbete has performed twice at the Port Elizabeth Opera House, and she also sang at the Grahamstown International Arts Festival.
She is currently signed to the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre, a newly established recording label which is owned by the University of Fort Hare to promote talent in the region.
Mbete is currently in her first year at Fort Hare studying towards her BCom in accounting degree and regards music as a hobby. She plans to continue singing while studying towards her degree.
“I have always loved music but I would never drop out of my studies because of it. I plan to continue even when I am working because I love singing.”
Though her professional music career started last year, she previously sang in various school choirs and says she was pleasantly surprised when her producers Sy Ntuli and Nduduzo Makhathini told her that she had great potential.
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