WITH their debut album, maskandi duo uS'Mehlane ne Thambolenyoka are putting new zest into the genre.
The pair, whose real names are Fakazi Ngubane and Lungile Mhlanga, have just kick-started their music career with a classic album, Emandulo.
Though maskandi music appeals to many people, the diversity of the genre can be intimidating to those who do not understand it. But the good thing about it is that you can enjoy what you hear without knowing exactly why.
The album has a boring sleeve . The design turns you off and you would not buy it even if it cost R2. But a quick listen will change your mind.
The two are actually introducing maskandi fans to an old and unique maskandi sound called isiZulu. The album does not have a disco sound like many current offerings in the market.
"We knew exactly what we were doing. We wanted to be different. Most maskandi musicians imitate each other, but copying only promotes the primary singer more," says Mhlanga, who comes from Daveyton in Gauteng.
Ngubane, from Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, says they wanted to contribute to the growth of maskandi by introducing music lovers to a different style.
"If you have an original sound, it shows you have talent and that you are bringing something different to the industry," Ngubane says.
Their music tackles personal experiences and there is also a strong message to the youth about HIV-Aids.
"Our music talks to ordinary people. We try to build people. In the HIV-Aids song, we tell youth to be responsible, to be faithful to their partners."
The group was formed last year. It was Ngubane's idea.
He said: "I was not getting any solo recording deals so I approached Lungile to join me."