Zahara is going places real fast

Rising star: Guitarist Zahara
Rising star: Guitarist Zahara

ZAHARA Mkutukane, the simple but pretty girl from Eastern Cape, is something positively astounding - musically, that is

A cross between Tracy Chapman, India Arie and Nigeria's Asa, Zahara nevertheless still manages to be unique and touch the souls of her audiences.

The stunning acoustic guitarist was the opening act for Chante Moore on Sunday at the M1 Studios at the SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

The sophisticated audience lost its inhibitions and begged her to give them more - again and again.

Zahara even managed to elicit sing-alongs from the audience on her unknown material because her debut album offering, uLoliwe, was only released yesterday.

Aside from nimble fingers that drop those amazing riffs, her voice is her greatest asset.

She can be soft and hoarse - soft as an appealing, irresistible child - and then forceful, passionate and insistent on your listening to her captivating voice.

Impressively mature for a 23-year-old, Zahara says of her electrifying music: "First and foremost, I feel blessed to have been the opening act for an amazing artist like Chante Moore.

"The previous day I had opened for Judith Sephuma. The audiences' response on both days took my breath away.

"I enjoy playing my guitar and singing. Though I've always had dreams of going professional, I never dreamt it would happen this soon.

"Thanks to TK Nciza of TS Records. Had he not heard me play I am not sure what would have happened to me and my career.

"At the moment I just want to share my music with as many people as possible," a laid-back Zahara said off stage.

There is no doubt that the title track of her album, uLoliwe is going to be the anthem for the spring and summer seasons.