The Jaziel Brothers give Afro-pop sound a soul

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Since the release last year of the group's debut album The Beginning, the Jaziel Brothers have enjoyed a career that has placed them among the country's elite performers within a space of two years.

The two brothers, Luthando and Ntobeko Ngcizela, who once earned a living by selling meat when doors were not opening for them in the music industry, are today whipping up a storm in Afro-pop cycles.

Born in Mount Fletcher in Eastern Cape and growing up in Klerksdorp, the duo never let the odds of the industry stand in their way. Today they are regarded as one of the greatest Afro-pop groups ever produced in this country.

With their smashing new album the Jaziel Brothers are boundto get therecognition they deserve.

Their sound is not just another Afro-pop melody. They have moved away from the exhausted and over-used sound. Their music stretches boundaries and has a much richer and vibrant energy.

In defining the style of the group, Luthando says: "It's an Afro-pop sound with a soul. When we went to the studio we wanted an Afro-pop sound but we were surprised with the final product. We believe that God directed us when we were doing the album."

This does not come as a surprise since the brothers studied sound engineering and music technology.

Ntobeko says the group's music is inspired by various influences.

"Since we grew up in the era of groups such as Boyz to Men and many others, our sound shows those influences. Our music is shaped mostly by growing up against a gospel background."

Luthando says composing and producing is done by both of them equally. The album is dominated by love and relationship songs.

"The album talks about relationships," he says. "The songs were inspired by listening to our friends. We also realised that people are scared of getting married."

After ending 2008 in style with a Metro FM Music award, Luthando says they are hoping for the best this year.

"Winning the Metro FM award was an honour for us, and it signals the beginning of goodthings to come."

Last year the group got its first nomination in the South African Music Awards but were beaten by Malaika.

"It was a great honour to be nominated but it was really tough," Ntobeko says. "We were up against the likes of Malaika, Martin Phike, Ntando and Speedy. They have all been in the industry for a long time."

The duo has produced groups such as Mandoza, Kelly Khumalo, Theo of Mafikizolo and Lesego.

They now own Jaziel Music Productions and their first artist was Lesego. They studied music at Eastside College.

After completing their studies, they came to Johannesburg - a city of hopes and dreams. They struggled to get a recording deal until they decided to go back home.