The newly formed Maskandi group Abafana Bengezo #IBIG aims to shake up things in this highly competitively genre.
The group has released a 12-track album titled Omafostana which has received major air play on radio stations across the province.
The group was formed by Samkelo Kati known as, Magnet, Alisa Debese known as Diliza, Samson Bhatsa aka Phantsukwenzakala and Aseza Silerha known as Minus at the beginning of this year. Before this, they had all released solo albums.
Magnet says for the group’s album they adopted a different style and rhythm as they wanted to bring something fresh and new. He explains their songs and style was a combination of Zulu and Xhosa as they do not want to limit themselves and want to reach a wide audience.
He describes the albums as one of the best album he has ever worked on and he believes it will change how this genre is perceived. He believes that Maskandi enables them to tackle many issues and gives them the freedom to use their own African languages creatively.
But most importantly, he says, this genre enables them to preserve their culture and plays a key role in promoting the love of culture and customs.
He says as young people they wanted to change the narrative that Maskandi was for old people and was an outdated genre. “We are here to stay. Each and every year we will release an album. We will also release our single album but we are not going to stop pushing this group.
“We want to be known everywhere. We want to be a beacon of hope to other young musicians. “We want to strive to reshape this industry.” Diliza says they would like to unite all people who listen to and love Maskandi music for the diverse genre that it is.
But things are not always easy. He highlights getting bookings and a lack of financial of back-up as some of the key challenges they face. But he says their supporters have bombarded them with messages of support and love which is encouraging. Phantsikwenzakala says the sales have been pretty convincing, with 100 copies of the album having been sold since it was released a month ago.