Chaka Chaka goes in search of a more refined sound
SHE is referred to as the "Princess of Africa" - that's Yvonne Chaka Chaka, South Africa's township pop music icon who has consistently made good music for over 20 years. Sowetan spoke to her about her latest and 22nd album, Amazing Man, which is set to be released in stores this week.
Chaka Chaka was born in Dobsonville, Soweto, as one of three sisters.
She was discovered by Phil Hollis in Johannesburg at the age of 19 and has been loved by her fans not only for her uplifting music but also for the off-stage leadership that has seen her working as a UN ambassador.
Early this year Chaka Chaka was awarded the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award for artists who improve the world through their work in Davos, Switzerland.
Sowetan spoke to her about her latest and 22nd album, Amazing Man, which is set to be released in stores this week.
"I wanted to produce timeless music with meaning for the people to relate to ... not just to record for the sake of releasing something new," she said about the album, which took two years to complete.
Her latest offering has a track titled Mama, which is dedicated to her mother, giving thanks to her after her father died. The track is deeply soulful and has lyrics that come from the heart. Stop The Pain - an a capella recording with Ladysmith Black Mambazo with hopes that these legendery voices will heal the pain. A call for a better life after being engulfed by struggles and darkness. Imali Ayikho, a track with Zulu Boy and some pop elements in it, tackles issues of the inequality of workers.
To inject relevance and excitement into her music, Chaka Chaka went for a more refined sound and roped in various artists to collaborate with her.
"I have worked with Thulani Shezi who is an amazing keyboard player," she said.
Some of the artists included the Soweto Gospel Choir, Zulu Boy and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
A mother of four, wife and businesswoman, Chaka Chaka explained that the longest she will be away from home when she starts promoting her album will be two weeks.
"I am not going to do any tours but I will be doing shows instead," Chaka Chaka said.
Chaka Chaka's firsts...
First time as ambassador:
It was in 1996. I was a goodwill ambassador for the Red Cross SA.
The first time I received an award:
In 1985; when I won an OKTV (now Sama) for the Best Artist of the Year. I was up against Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube, Sello "Chicco" Twala and Stimela.
First media article:
It appeared in The Star in 1985.
First time I met my husband was:
In 1986. My sister was a nurse and she introduced me to this young doctor that I fell in love with and now we have a beautiful family together.
First experience with a microphone:
It was just before I recorded my first album. I went to Gallo studios to audition with Ray Phiri and Stimela.