Thulile Zama brings a Tribute to Mama Africa One well-loved African vocalist honouring another Miriam Makeba’s career influenced Thulile Zama and her band members to such extend that she found it fitting to do a tribute in the honour of Mama Africa. Her and her band have chosen songs from different era of her illustrious career including favourites like Pata Pata and Click song, but also the ballads like Promise and the heart wrenching offerings that she penned when she was in exile are included in their set. Mama Makeba was very much influential, musically as well as politically throughout the continent. Makeba was a mother to many musicians and to non musicians. She played a big role in the Apartheid time. She wrote and sang many struggle songs that sent a message abroad and within the country. Her songs addressed issues that South Africa was facing in those difficult times. Songs like in the jungle, Khawuleza and Ibhabhalazi just to name a few.
Thulile Zama Holds a BA (Music) from UKZN and is the lead vocalist of successful all female contemporary jazz band Heels Over Head (best contemporary jazz nominees SAMA – 2011). This versatile vocalist brings a wide repertoire that ranges from Jazz to Covers, to Afro effortlessly. She is well known in the jazz circuit and a well-loved vocalist in Durban. She is comfortable appearing as solo or duo, trio, four or five piece band. Her talents have taken her to Hamburg, and Berlin in Germany. Thulile has loads of experience for her age, plenty of passion for music and the performing arts. Thulile has done performances for Bona Magazine, Weekend Live (SABC 2), SAB, Top Billing (SABC 3), HIVAN, Camel, Glenfiddich and countless events companies and institutions. Thulile has MC’d for various functions in Durban and Johannesburg. Thulile Zama was a nominee (Arts, Culture and Heritage) in the 2013 Feather awards. Thulile currently works at the University of KwaZulu Natal as the Jazz Centre Administrator. The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music has been in existence since 1989 and has developed into a vibrant, international resource, performance and workshop venue.
David Smith (pianist) always had a passion for music, and started playing gospel at church. In the early 2000's, he studied music at UKZN where he initially met vocalist Thulile Zama. They played duo gigs in different restaurants and the corporate scene. He was a part of a very successful Jazz/Hip Hop band "Big Idea" that made waves throughout the country.
Portia Sithole (drummer) is a singer, songwriter, musician who has gained a lot of experience playing the Drums, as an instrument, as well as the guitar. She grew up in Port Shepstone and comes from a musical family and has always been drawn to the creative arts. She has been playing drum kit since 2004 and percussion since 2012. Since then, she have gone on to study music at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN), and have had the privilege of playing and touring with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Youth Wind Band. She has also performed with all female jazz band, Heels Over Head and the Durban City Orchestra with Gangs of Ballet at Botanic Gardens. She is a versatile performer and is skilled in playing Latin grooves, Rock ‘n Roll, Folk, Jazz, and Funk.
Louis Sbusiso Mkonza (Bass guitar) was born in Middelburg. With his flare and natural love for theatre from a young age he was easily found in community activities, as a member of the Witbank choral Music, Theatrical art club which was called Amaqwathi, and then Izodela traditional dance group. In 2006 he received an award of best Assembly singer at Sofunda Secondary School. From 2005 to 2006 He was invited as a motivational guest speaker at G.M.F.M Radio station, sharing his passions in Mhluzi or Mpumalanga province as a whole, he spoke of his vision of enabling the youth to make an honest living in the arts without indulging in criminal activities. Sbu was also part of the SS Mendi production under Keeloz Entertainment art Academy, as a Dancer, Lead singer and Actor. The production was directed by Nhlanhla Ngema, brother to the great Mbongeni Ngema who Directed, the movie Sarafina, Woza Albert, The Zulu and the potato Boycott "the Lion of the East. He furthered his education from 2010, doing his grade 2 and 3 in music theory and bass guitar at Izithethe arts institute getting distinctions in both subjects and did grade 6 in vocal studies. He is now registered at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and is currently doing his 2nd year in Bachelor of music.
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