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Mkhize, Themba (South Africa)  
Thembe Mkhize

BORN in 1957, in KwaZulu Natal, Themba was introduced to music at an early age. Beginning piano lessons at the age of 7, with an initial introduction to the classical genre, Themba discovered jazz whilst at high school, and was spotted by a local band, “Dukes Combo" In 1981 he started performing professionally with the band Sakhile, and recorded “Sakhile" and “New Life"

Three years later Themba joined renowned band Bayete, staying with the band for over ten years. During this time he took a role in the musical “Buwa" written by Caiphus Semenya. The play based in Zimbabwe, included artists like Jonas Gwangwa, Hugh Masekela, Dorothy Masuku, Letta Mbulu, Condry Ziqubu and many others. The musical later toured Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Libya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.

piano, keyboards
Genre: African Jazz, jazz, mbaqanga
On his return home, Themba performed with Bayete as part of the musical “Baby Come Duze" In 1991 he worked with Hugh Masekela on Sekunjalo this leading to a full time part in Hugh’s own band, and subsequent tours to the USA and Europe. The album “Hope" was recorded in 1994 with Themba playing an active role.

In 1994 he worked as musical director on Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba’s tour of the USA and Europe. He returned to South Africa to produce “Ancient Evenings" Sibongile Khumalo’s debut album.

In addition to music and performances, Themba co-owns a company with partner Stella Khumalo called “Thella Music" producing music pieces for various advertising agencies. He also owns Mavovo Production Studios, where pre-production work for artists like Sibongile Khumalo, Vusi Khumalo and Khaya Dlamini was done.

“Tales from the South" is Themba’s first solo release. In this CD he has utilised the experience gained through the years well. The music builds on a foundation of traditional (Isintu) vocals, abstract piano improvisations and compelling jazz grooves.

Tales from the South

One thing is certain Themba Mkhize’s debut album is a glorious celebration and releases energy without boundaries.

After having worked with the country’s cream de la cream of musicians, including Hugh Masekela, Sibongile Khumalo and Miriam Makeba just to name but three local musicians, jazz lovers will now have a pleasure of listening to Themba’s long overdue album, TALES FROM THE SOUTH.

This township arranger and composer is certainly not a newcomer to the music business. He has offered his keyboard genius to Afrobeat groups such as Bayete and Sakhile. It was his involvement with these groups that earned him a spot as one of the country’s prolific young composers along the likes of Prince Lengoasa, Feya Faku, Bheki Khoza and Thapelo Kgomo to name but four.

He first put his genius to test when he was involved in South African musicals Caiphus Semenya’s Buwa and Mothobi Mutloatse’s Baby Come Duze. He then acted as a musical director for singer and Flugelhorn player Hugh Masekela and lady of song Miriam Makeba’s tour of the US and Europe in 1994.

Themba Mkhize
In 1999 he wore the same hat in Mandla Langa’s star-studded musical Milestones. Themba is the brains behind the production of mezzo-soprano Sibongile Khumalo’s seductive debut album Ancient Evenings. The album went to win three FNB South African Music Awards. He also had a hand in Masekela’s hugely popular live recording of Hope.

Listening to Themba’s album it’s no doubt that the keyboardist is reviving something that used to be a hit in South Africa. He’s among the very few musicians from South Africa to draw on his country’s musical traditions and polish them with modern styles. In fact Tales from the South is a confirmation of his unfinished work and signals more winning colours for the artists.
  Recordings : Mkhize, Themba
Tales From The South

Tales From The South
Lost And Found

Lost And Found

click here for more about these and other recordings by : Mkhize, Themba

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