My teacher went above and beyond to guide me into music
28 July 2015
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Welcome to Old Mutual Live Radio, I am your host, Aphiwe Mahono and as usual, we bring you choristers and choir conductors in and around the SADC region. Today we bring you chorister Mlungisi Malahla who is part Matswana Melodies based in Klerksdorp. Hello Mlungisi and welcome to the show.
Mlungisi Malahla: Hello sisi, kunjani.
AN: I am well thank you my brother. Let’s get into it. You are a chorister, how long have you been singing?
MM: I started singing when I was at primary, I think it was 2005, until today.
AN: And what exactly drew you to choral music, it’s not a genre that young people are likely to be drawn into, so what inspired you to get into choral music?
My teacher helped guide me into music
MM: The only thing that inspired me to get into choral music is that someone like my teacher was also my mentor. He told me that I do have a voice and I must use it because he can see that the location that you are living at is full of criminals and so forth, you see. So I listened to him and took his advice. I’ve realised that when I was signing the small ensembles and so forth, it was 2009, I was in high school at that time, I went to Cape Town.
AN: What was the journey like for you? I mean there’s so much, I’m sure there’s so much that goes into preparation and finding your voice and knowing how to belt out these tunes. What are some of the processes you go through when you are preparing for big events?
MM: The problem was the time, you see, as the teenagers, we like to play and so forth, you know. But our teacher, he was always there for us, advising us and inspiring us. Like fetching us after school, collecting us, like now it’s time to sing, no time to waste.
AN: And when it’s time to perform Mlungisi, on the 23 of August we have National Choir Festival coming up, what kind of preparations are we looking at. What kind of preparations is the Matswana Melodies doing?
Preparation underway for the National Choir Festival
MM: It’s very hard, we are working very hard, like we are doing these songs opera, African songs, they’re both opera, like this one is African opera by and it’s very difficult. We only left it one month.
AN: So you’ve mentioned the songs and the opera songs that you will be performing at the choir festival. What else have you been doing to prepare?
MM: Like we are using the weekends to make something like an effective weekend or camp, you see, that’s really helping us through this, really.
AN: And financial support for choirs, do you think there is enough of that in the industry?
MM: No, it’s not enough cause we are spending, like to go to some lodges and so forth, spend from our pockets, but ja, the love of choral music and opera, we are doing. Even though it’s recognised, this genre of ours, like some genres like hip-hop and so on, but we love it.
For the love of choral music
AN: You do it for the love.
AN: Anything important that you think you would want to tell someone who is interested in getting into choral music?
MM: Choral music needs time, management and you must do it with passion.
AN: And discipline hey? You need to understand your cues, you need to understand your lines, how you stand and how you sing. So would you say discipline is also a big factor when you are looking at getting into choral music?
MM: Ja, cause our conductors are struggling because of that tendency of some choristers who don’t respect them, so ja, discipline is very crucial.
AN: Thank you so much for your time Mlungisi.
MM: Okay, thank you.