Sikelela is the eagerly anticipated debut album from
Amabutho, seven young men who grew up in Kwa-Zulu
Natal, Durban, and the dusty streets of the Johannesburg
township of Soweto. Their name is taken from the term for
a regiment of Zulu warriors, but these are the gentlest of
warriors. They deliver their soulful message of peace and
unity via the sweet sounds of marimba, percussion, and
effortless vocal harmonies. Voices and instruments conduct
a seamless dialogue that in turn is sure to have the world
music community talking.
The group features lead, tenor, and bass marimba players,
augmented by conga drums, bass drums, djembe, shakers,
and cow bell.
On Sikelela, the group add a contemporary freshness to
traditional South African music. Their original compositions
incorporate elements from Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, and Tswana
musical traditions. Lyrically, they deal with themes rooted in
their daily reality, whether it be the crime that plagues their
community, as on "Tsotsi" (Gangster) or their spiritual faith,
as on "Sikelela" (Blessings).
Amabutho have been chosen to perform on
the World Cup opening ceremonies in the smmer of 2010, both by
themselves and as part of UMOJA, with whom
they remain active. From the Label