Abantwana belanga is the first live studio project by Port Elizabeth-raised (now Gqeberha) charismatic slang slinging pair. The witty slurry mumbled and thought-provoking lyrics dispensed on limping chord progression. Wavy song arrangements played by ear. Not failing to mention the ever fluid-placid and atypical tunefulness.
The project is a screech and a musical photomontage on communal issues in/directly experienced by the duo. It is a collaborative socially engaged project that compels both the scrutiny of the artist and that of an audience.
Abantwana belanga meaning “Children of the sun” is our company trading and label name, and our eclectic isiXhosa stage name is “Umle” meaning “smoke residue”.
Umle: Siphamandla Fete and Siyabonga Radu
Photographs by Ross Charnock
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Umle is an artist duo who make good music. They reside in Gqeberha and have managed to win the hearts of the intimate scene there. The aim is to grow the brand so that it has international recognition, while remaining independent. The way they describe the music is “sis ‘Today” (today’s sound mixed with all influences). As a folk band, Umle is a perfect blend of sound and melody seasoned with a pinch of soul, spiced with boom bap, hip hop and mbaqanga.
Besides Umle being an authentic home-grown name, in isiXhosa it refers to the blackish residue that leaves its mark on the ceilings of rondavels which is what we wish to do with our sound. We want to leave a permanent mark on those who come across our sound. Our lyrical content is a fluid combination of Xhosa and English, and reports on social issues that we witness around us and delivers a message of hope in a comedic manner with very lively performances.
The duo includes Siphamandla Fete, the guitarist who sets the tone for Siyabonga Radu who is the vocalist to voice the stories.
Umle have graced the stage with: Msaki, Nduduzo Makhathini, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Nakhane Toure, Majozi, Hatchetman, Zuco Collective, Nono Nkoane and Jean Grae (USA) & Dessa (USA). They have also opened Laduma Ngxokolo’s Maxhosa’s “my heritage, my inheritance” exhibition.
Brand Ambassadors: Birch’s Man – Palladium Boots (2015)
TV Appearances which include: Mikasi Sukasi (SABC 1 -2015), Sisters with Soul (SABC 1 – 2016),
Forever Young (VUZU – 2016), TurnUP (Channel O – 2016), Weekend Edition (SABC 3)
Featuring: in two tracks on Msaki’s debut Album (2016)
Standing Ovation Award: National Arts Festival (2015)
Featuring and curating playlist: The Guardian – “Alternative city guide to Port Elizabeth” (2016)
Showcasing at the Oppikoppi Festival (2016).
Social Media Links:
Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/umlesound
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Sound-of-Umle-616863815074566/
umle.sound @gmail.com | @umlesounds | 0740322321