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Early success fires Tehillah’s international ambitions

Mantoetse Maama


MASERU — They were shortlisted for a national music award in 2008 despite not having any album on the market!
Yet gospel music ensemble Tehillah Africa insist their nomination for the 2008 Lesotho Haeso Music Awards (gospel category) for their hit song Fire was no fluke.
Tehillah Africa might have lost to eventual winner, Khahliso Mphephoka but the group remains confident it has what it takes to make it big not only in Lesotho, but internationally.
According to Tehillah Africa director Mosheeng Maphoi, the group is set to announce its arrival on the big stage with the release of its debut album in April this year. 
‘It’s a 12-track album titled Thola U Mamele, with such hits as Joannana and Always and most of the songs are live-performances,” Maphoi told the Xpress People on Wednesday last week.
“In addition to making it readily available throughout the country, we would also want to take our music outside Lesotho.”
The 24-member band is an affiliate of the Tehillah Socio Community Group (TSCG) — a religious organisation formed in 2008, and comprising youths from the Leratong United Church in Ha Seoli, among other ministries.
TSCG — according to Maphoi — is involved in other developmental projects, with the musical band presenting the organisation with its first major success.
“We are doing pretty well, as far as music is concerned, judging by what we achieved with Fire, which was then, only a song being performed at public functions.
“In addition, three of our  members — Mapula Matlokotsi, Bokang Motsamai and Liteboho Mothetsi— were back-up vocalists to local jazz outfit  Moshate during the Lesotho Tourism Jazz Festival held at Khotsong Lodge on December 26.
“We have performed at the Maseru Club and also hold jam sessions at Lakeside Hotel during weekends, to much appreciation from the audience,” Maphoi said.
Maphoi added their instant recognition among music followers has boosted morale among members of the group.
“That was a good sign on our part, having Fire doing well. We believe with hard work, we can go places. We would want this group to be known internationally, and we draw our optimism from the market response to our first project.”
Maphoi said Tehillah — that’s Hebrew for praise God — was mostly motivated by the need to engage the youths and get them off the streets. 
“We have realised young people are faced with many challenges these days. They have to grapple with poverty, which leads them into committing crime. We are encouraging the youths to engage in self-help projects and ultimately do something productive, through the society.”

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