One of the most heart-warming success stories of the past year has been the growing number of Khayelitsha artists making their mark on the entertainment scene.
A laid-back native who’s been soaking up the energy of Khayelitsha is Liso Sindo who goes by the stage name Liso the Musician. Her musical career took off in 2015 and she has just released her first album, Zaf’ingane.
The seven-track Zaf’ingane was inspired by #FeesMustFall campaign that shook the country in 2015.
At the time, Liso was a student at the University of Cape Town, studying drama and social science.
The lack of funds to cover tuition fees and the struggle of a black child inspired her to pen the title song.
The album includes modern jazz songs and Afro-pop.
However, she laughed at the suggestion that she cannot go beyond Afro-jazz.
“I am an artist and cannot box myself. I sing all kinds of genres but on this album my focus was Afro-soul and jazz. I call my music afro-ancestral jazz,” she laughed.
She speaks highly of her grandmother who she describes as her mentor.
The young Mdantsane-born woman said had it not for her grandmother, a traditional music writer, she would not have been where she is today.
“She was a brilliant composer. We stayed together and I had to go with her wherever she went. She would compose ingoma somngqungqo.
I learnt from her. I took this gift of composing and writing from her. She always encouraged me to use my home language. That is why this album is in vernacular,” she said.
Liso believes social injustice needs to be addressed – and she aims to do that through her songs, many of which condemn how shack-dwellers are treated by the current regime.
She also touches on unemployment, saying there will never be progress as long as young black graduates remain jobless.
“I mostly write about social issues. My title song talks about the dying children fighting for education. I also wrote Portaporta after people were given them to use as toilets. Those things should not be used by people but because no one cares for shack dwellers, they were provided with such,” she said.
Liso, however, is not only a singer also an actress – and a mother who is passionate about educating children.
She and her husband, Mandiso Sindo, who is also her manager, currently teach acting skills to Zwezwe children.
Liso is handling the distribution of her music herself and it is not available in stores. For more information, you can contact her at 084 038 1900.