Drifters more popular abroad than at home

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Scorching scathamiya group Durban Black Drifters is in demand in the US.

After a successful international tour last year the group is heading to Chicago next week for the start of a three-month tour.

Drifters, as they are famously known in music circles, has been booked for 42 shows in Chicago, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio and California.

Though their name might not ring a bell with many local music lovers, the group has a reputable international profile and spend most of their time outside South Africa.

In the past the group toured Belgium, China, Canada, Norway, Japan and the US.

Drifters made their name when their song, Hurricane Katrina, earned them a role in the hip-hop Broadway musical Katrina A Lotta Water.

Chris Ntuli, the leader of the group, says he finds it annoying that the group is more appreciated overseas than at home.

"It hurts that we receive this kind of support outside South Africa. Wherever we have performed overseas people demand an encore, while locally many don't even know we exist. We are forced to spend most of our time travelling because this is where we make our money. We starve here at home."

Ntuli says that they are not taken seriously locally. He says even on radio scathamiya music is no longer given airplay and there are no festivals where they can showcase their talent.

When the group returns they will release their fourth album, Obaba Bethu.