From house music to maskandi

Ngqwele Dube, Life Correspondent
WHEN a musician sets out on producing an album she usually is firmly aware of the genre the final product would be but for United Kingdom-based Sisasenkosi, it was a different journey as she switched from house music to maskandi before releasing her debut offering.

After being cajoled to release her own album by friends and fellow artistes, Sisa felt house would be the most appropriate because of her love of the genre but working with Zimbabwean maskandi muso, Zinjaziyamluma (Mxolisi Khulekani Nkomo) resulted in change of plans.

“I was working with Zinja initially in Bulawayo and then we went to record in Johannesburg, South Africa unfortunately or fortunately because of his links with maskandi several maskandi musicians were coming in and out of the studio adding their voices here and there only to realise latter this would make a good maskandi album,” she said.

Sisa, full name Sisasenkosi Mnkandla, however, revealed she was pleased with the album and was comfortable changing to maskandi because it is a genre she fell in love with at a tender age adding she was happy to be one of the few female singers of the genre.

She released the album Thandolwethu on 28 February which she hopes marks the start of a journey that will catapult her into being a full-time artiste.

The eight-track offering features several top maskandi musicians that include Zimbabwean Zinjaziyamluma and South Africans, Sifiso Mkhize and Gearbox (Sibusiso Mtshali).

Sisa who is based in Bristol said she will polish up the house music she had already made and put it on the market in the near future.

The eight tracks on the album are title track Thandolwethu, Emambale, gospel tracks, Amagwala and Shwele Baba, traditional song Amathambpezinyoka, Highlanders praise song, Amahlolanyama and two instrumentals.

Sisa was in the country last week to shoot videos for Amathambhezinyok” and Amahlolanyama while in South Africa she had begun the production process of the videos for Amagwala and Shwele Baba.

She said the production process is likely to be completed in two weeks, although they are still to set the availability dates for the videos, which are not going to be released at the same time.

The album is already available at Carol’s Sports Shop and at the National Gallery in Bulawayo and through online music stores.

Born in 1984 at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo, Sisa leaned towards the arts at a tender age joining Magwegwe Primary School drama club and continuing with her passion at St Bernard’s High and Townsend High and it was natural that after finishing school she would simply glide into the world of arts. It didn’t take her long before she found a home at Grassroots where she cut her teeth in the arts and with dancing being her strongest point it was inevitable that she would play leading roles in dance productions.

She was later to join Siyaya Arts before leaving for the United Kingdom in 2007 where she did arts as a freelance while she got a job at a restaurant. She continued working with the group whenever it embarked on tours in the UK at country. However, she later grouped with other UK-based Zimbabwean artistes that include former Iyasa, Tsungi Tsikirai, Muz’omkhulu Ndlovu, Owen Ncube, Nixon Nkomo and Botswana artiste Otto Gumaelius to form Flame Lily Arts.

Besides being in the arts she has pursued other vocations that include being a chef and mental health support worker. Sisa, who is married with one child, said the job is meant to cushion her income during the time when the arts scene is in a lull during winter periods.

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