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THERE'S a breath of fresh air blowing through the Cape Town music scene in the form of Mtika and her eight-piece AfroSoul band.
Sowetan caught Mtika performing live at the Fine Women Business Network in Cape Town's Century City on Saturday night.
The growing Afro-soul genre and Mtika's strong vocals and mature sound take her band's music way beyond the AfroPop sounds of Freshlyground into the realm of Miriam Makeba and Angélique Kidjo.
For a band this good it is astonishing that Mtika has still not been signed up by a recording company.
Though she has played at Cosatu's May Day celebrations and the Mandela Day music festival in the city, it has mainly been a lucky few who have seen her perform at corporate events.
That is likely to change, though. Mtika heard this weekend that she and her energetic, vibrant, and hugely talented band have been selected by the City of Cape Town to play at Fifa World Cup events.
Born Ncumisa Tshetu in Langa, Cape Town, Mtika grew up playing the marimba and performing in cultural groups.
"That's where I fell in love with the indigenous sounds of African music," she says.
Three years ago she was at a women's event in Langa and grabbed the microphone to belt out a few tunes. She ended up singing with that instrumental band for two years before starting her own group last year.
"I work independently, with no agent or record company representing me. So I do not have the luxury of having a team that handles marketing, sources work, manages my band and finances or liaise with clients" Mtika said.
Holding down a full-time job in environmental health, she says handling all the work of her band on her own is "quite a heavy load of work".
She gets her inspiration from various musicians and different genres, especially Makeba and other women who came before her, Mtika says.