MASERU — If you are an aficionado of local jazz band Moshate and have been wondering what happened to them, you will be more than excited to hear that their lead vocalist Maile Miles Matlokotsi has gone solo. He has just released an EP to his upcoming album Afro Songs to My Kingdom which will be released towards the end of October. “I have dropped the three tracks as a way of testing waters and enticing people who are preparing for the King’s birthday. The album is dedicated to His Majesty. It is also my way of telling the fans what to expect from the whole album,” Matlokotsi told XpressPeople on Tuesday.
Matlokotsi’s style includes combining both cultural and modern elements of jazz drawn from among others Bhudaza, Tšepo Tšola and Sankomota, to South African legends Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbuli, Hugh Masekela and Themba Mokwena. He is particularly drawn to the sounds of southern Africa, as well as Latin America, but says jazz remains his first love. His numerous original compositions fall within the tradition of what has been loosely termed Afro-Jazz. “The album was inspired by the king’s birthday and it is my way of paying homage to my beloved country, Lesotho.” The first single Lesotho Haeso is already turning local fans into a frenzy.
It talks of a Mosotho man who is far away from home and is homesick and then he starts singing about the Mountain Kingdom and how he wishes to be home. Other tracks are You make me feel special and Bana ba Africa. Matlokotsi composes, writes and sings his own crafted material. He has worked with different artistes from guitarists Tsietsi Koetle (Bass) and Mongali Nthako (Lead and rhythm), Meisi Rakhongoana and Thabiso Motebang as the backing vocalists.
The album was produced by Thato Mokoena, who also plays the keyboard.
“Afro Songs To My Kingdom is more than just a music compilation but an introduction of my new music brand Melupe Afro Vibes which will serve as a platform for imminent jazz artistes,” he said. When asked why he decided to do a solo project, he said: “We did not have the same views at Moshate regarding ways of making our music grow. “I perceived it as a drawback towards my career as I always compose songs which ended up being unused. I had to ensure that they reach the audience.”