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The Muffinz - Ghetto !!INSTALL!!


South African band The Muffinz are off to astonish Americans on a US tour - and it doesn't matter at all, they say, that they won't understand a word I first encountered The Muffinz at a concert in Bloemfontein in 2012. Their sound has stuck with me ever since, and I'm not the only one.We want our music to stay in people's heads after they've listened to it," says Sifiso "Atomza" Buthelezi, vocalist and guitarist. "We want it to influence them so much that they travel with it."Atomza's fellow band members are Gregory "Keke" Mabusela (drums), Simphiwe "Simz" Kulla (keyboard and guitar), Karabo "Skabz" Moeketsi (bass) and Mthabisi "Mthae" Sibanda (acoustic guitar).The band left this week for the US, where they will perform in Washington DC, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York City, creating more hype for their recently released second album.story_article_left1They look forward to astonishing Americans with the impact of their music despite the language barrier - their sound is a mix of English and vernacular languages such as Zulu and Tswana, plus "Kekelingo", a language created by Keke."They're only going to feel the music, but not understand a word we are saying," says Keke. The words, he says, come to him when he hears the melody and rhythm of instruments."I'm not sure I want to compare it to religion [speaking in tongues]," he says. "All I know is that it's soulful and comes out when I sing. The lyrics don't exist, I describe it as sound in the air that is influenced by Africa."The Muffinz have no wish to be classified an "African band", however. Atomza says the category limits them as their music ranges across at least five genres."By all means I'm an African. It's who I am and where my ancestors hail from. The problem is the international stereotype of how African music should sound ... We don't want to give ours a particular definition, because that will put us in a box."The trip side of their sound is a continuous evolution. The soul side is "a black man's thing", says Atomza. "Black music is soul. Look at Motown, hip hop and rap and rhythmic poetry."Their first album, Have You Heard, was released in May 2012. "The sound was shaped and influenced by a producer and we just did what we were told."story_article_right2After travelling, learning about the industry and performing in other countries, they decided they needed more input in setting the tone of their next album. Do What You Love, released last year, involves "being rebellious and doing what we love".The 15-track album features poet Lebo Mashile, Zimbabwean music legend Oliver Mtukudzi, Sonny Boy and Josh Meck. The sound and music arrangements have matured and there is a lot more focus on social and political issues.But it's hard to equal the electrifying single Ghetto from their first album. This has particular resonance for me because it is the song of a South African born and raised in the township in Thabong in Welkom, where I grew up.The song ends: I'm from the ghetto, and there's no way my children will grow in the ghetto / There is no way my mama will die in the ghetto.They will play this favourite on tour."Even though the American ghetto experiences are not the same as here in South Africa, the song aims to inspire those who grew up in the ghetto to dream bigger and better."..




The Muffinz - Ghetto

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