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Local band set to perform in Denmark

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — Sotho-Sound, a little-known local music band, has been invited to perform at the World Music Expo (WOMEX) 11 in Denmark in October.
“We will be showcasing our music at the WOMEX 11 in Copenhagen, Denmark from 26 – 30 October 2011,” band member Richard Mohale said.
WOMEX is an international music support and development project based in Berlin.
Its main event is an exposition held annually in different locations throughout Europe.
It integrates a trade fair, showcases, conferences, film market, networking sessions and awards.
This year’s expo will be held in Copenhagen.
Mohale said this year they beat over 1 000 bands from different countries in an online bid for a place to perform before thousands of music industry professionals at the festival.
“The past years we were invited but this year we had to compete and this proves that we made an impact the last time we performed at the festival,” Mohale said.
He however said Sotho-Sound is battling to raise funds for the trip and is appealing for assistance from local companies.
The 11-member band which is based at Malea-lea in Mafeteng encompasses traditional dances and music.
Sotho-Sound makes musical instruments from scrap metal, tyres, wire and wood.
Mohale told Xpress People that the group, which was founded in 1997 by eight shepherds, has made their international mark in exposing Lesotho.
“We started out as a small group of young men wanting to stay off the streets and just make music. We are self-taught musicians,” Mohale said.
He added, “Our journey saw success when we were discovered by the manager of Malea-lea Lodge who invited us to entertain tourists.
“Then in 2003 one tourist from the United Kingdom saw us and was impressed by our type of music.”
Mohale said the tourist then connected them to the World of Music, Arts and Dance international festival in 2003.
Sotho-Sound made their first visit to England the following year.
They have also been invited to conduct workshops for children in Australia on how to make musical instruments from raw materials.
The all-male group uses use guitars, drums as well as Sesotho traditional instruments like Lesiba and Mamokhong.
“We decided to keep the band an all-male outfit because we felt if we included women we might lose our focus,” Joseph Chaka, another member told Xpress People.
He said their music is based on life experiences.
“We find a way to share our songs with the world beyond the mountains. Our music is based on our life experiences,” Chaka said.
Although they have been around since 1997, the group was only recognised this year and is a partner to the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival on the development and exchange of the artistic element of the festival.
Sotho-Sound believe their music can unite individuals from different languages, cultures and generations.

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