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Album encourages Basotho to re-trace roots

by Sunday Express
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Lerato Matheka

 MASERU — Budding poet Pitso Ramakhula has released a 10-track debut album titled Ntsoana Tsatsi (Our origins).

The album, which is a clarion call for Basotho to go back to their roots, was released on August 1, a significant day on the Basotho cultural calendar.

The date marks the beginning of the Basotho planting and harvesting season.

Ramakhula told Xpress People that the album is a fusion of poetry and music and encourages Basotho to go back to their origins.

‘Ntsoana Tsatsi’ means the place where we all came from,” Ramakhula said.

He said the album was aimed at educating young Basotho who were slowly drifting away from their culture and traditions.

“The gap between young people and their elders is growing,” the 27-year-old Ramakhula said.

“I am focused on educating young people to take pride in Lesotho and Sesotho culture. It’s an edutainment production with strong words that are likely to touch everyone who listens.”

The album features modern instruments with background sound of livestock on tracks like Toloka.

“I wanted to tap into an unexplored sphere and I knew the fusion of jazz with Sesotho poetry would set a different orb of production.

“The live production is meant to breathe life into the music, something that people would be able to imagine while taking bliss in,” Ramakhula said. 

He said the album’s unique aspects were meant to take art to a new level.

The album features tracks such as Phalafala li fapane, Toloka and Sentu se nkha kae which have been receiving generous airplay on local radio stations.

Ramakhula said he roped in the likes of Thato Mokoena and Tsitso Matsipa from Bhujazz band, Maranatha Nkoati and Mohau Tšolo from Moshate jazz band and Jobo Sekhonyana who is a freelance jazz artist on the production.

“The album’s use of Sesotho is meant to internationalise our beautiful language and the cultural aspects I have touched on,” he said.

The album also touches on social issues like love, knowledge and the need to respect and honour God all expressed in strong Sesotho idioms.

“I wrote all the tracks with music in mind but only realised I have written rhythmic poetry that works well with musical instruments,” Ramakhula said.

He said he had encountered huge challenges in coming up with the album.

“My biggest problem was funding but when I eventually overcame that I also encountered serious problems with the quality of production,” he said.

“I found myself jumping from one studio to another trying to find better quality music production and eventually I found what I had been looking for.”

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