WASHINGTON DC —
Twenty-three year old Afro-pop sensation, Berita Khumalo, who last year walked away with the Best African Pop Album for her debut album – Conquering Spirit – in the Metro Music Awards ceremony has released a new album titled Songs of Empowerment.
The Zimbabwean-born artiste based in Johannesburg, South Africa, released the album Thursday which has nine compilations - Sukundixhesha, Uthando Lwami, Ubuyile, Lindokuhle, Mwana Wa Mai, Lindokuhle, Ubuyile, Sophinda Sidibane, Bulawayo, Back to You.
Khumalo says the album is another piece of art set to rock the airwaves as she curves a niche in the music industry.
The Bulawayo-born artiste recently obtained a degree in financial information systems from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape.
AFRICAN MUSIC TAPESTRY
Khumalo, whose original name is Gugulethu, hails from Nketa 6 suburb. Her parents, who are both teachers, are currently living in New Zealand.
Songs of Empowerment expresses a multi-layered, Afro-soul styling that boasts rich melodies and rhythms, expertly curated from a wide African music tapestry. While subtly refining and enhancing upon the qualities of Conquering Spirit, Songs of Empowerment is an electrifying song suite, marking an exciting new chapter for Berita.
The new album boasts an impressive collection of new songs, mostly written by Berita, with notable highlights including the lead single Sukundixesha, already charting on several major local radio stations in South Africa.
On Mwana Wa Mai (Revisited) Berita collaborates with two of Africa’s favoured music giants in Oliver Mtukudzi & Grammy Award winning trumpeter/ composer, Hugh Masekela.
Songs of Empowerment was recorded and produced by Thami Mdluli at Studio 12 Recording Studios in Johannesburg and is released by Next Music in association with Tammy Music Publishers.
Berita is embarking on a national promotion and live performance tour throughout November and December in support of the album release.
BERITA ON SONGS OF EMPOWERMENT
She said, “I wanted to make music that people can consciously dance to. Music that evokes happiness in people and shares truth as well. Hence, the album title Songs of empowerment. I know that people will relate to this album, because I sing about life as I know it. I personally struggle to find strength in everyday life and I pray daily for strength from God. I pray too that these songs give strength to people from all walks of life”.
“On the new album, I sing about personal struggle, to find worth, patience through hard times. I have a song about true love, a song about the return of a long-lost loved one, a song about the death of a loved one. I sing about the Unity that our African continent needs. In song, I ask young people in our society to seek proper direction from the elders. I sing to encourage my society to find the strength to embrace freedom through action”.
She further said, “I call my sound Berita Afrosoul, because I believe that my music is distinct, unique and originating from my heart and soul. Truthful Afrosoul, with a sound of its own. Rich with soulful melodies, mostly penned in my home languages and driven by guitar rhythms with groove”.
“On Songs of Empowerment I worked on guitar rhythms with modern contemporary grooves, inspired by traditional Xhosa, Ndebele and Shona music, as well as 50’s Marabi music, as my aim is to unite and empower people by mixing the new with the old. The album is inspired by contemporary music and the soulful world music of Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba, Oliver Mtukudzi, Dorothy Masuka and Hugh Masekela”.
“I've been fortunate to spend quality time in and out of studio with Oliver Mtukudzi and Hugh Masekela. We sang, we ate, we laughed together and I fully embraced being a child seated with elders. In the process, I learned to be free as a musician and that inspired me to write Songs of Empowerment.”