MASERU — Fans cannot help but sway to the rhythm each time the four-member pop/classic group that is Kingdom Classics takes to the stage.
Since breaking into the music industry early last year, Kingdom Classics have become one of the most sought-after groups, featuring at weddings and parties around Maseru.
The confidence exuded by this crew is a clear indication Tuoe Hantši, 37, Motebang Koneshe, 37, Teboho Morothetsane, 33, and Mojai Madrass, 31, did not just stumble into the music business.
“We all come from a background of choral music, hence our style and type of music,” Hantši tells Xpress People.
“We all sang in choirs in high school and at national level.”
Until Kingdom Classics was launched in February 2009, Hantši was a member of the Maseru Vocal Waves, while Koneshe, Morothetsane and Madrass were with the Mohapeloa Singers, City Choral and Highlands Sounds Choral Artists respectively.
Hantši was, in fact, the brains behind the formation of this flamboyant group.
“I pitched the idea of forming a musical outfit to Madrass,” he says.
“We are bosom buddies and have always supported one another.”
Madrass chips in: “And I immediately embraced the idea and brought Koneshe on board.
“Before long, Koneshe had roped in Morothetsane.”
After playing around with various name-combinations, the four friends finally settled on Kingdom Classics.
“We settled for Kingdom Classics because it defines who we are: four men from different parts of the Kingdom of Lesotho,” Madrass says.
“Hantši and I are from Mafeteng, while Morothetsane and Koneshe are originally from Leribe district.”
The group’s music has been defined as elitist by those who frequent their shows, as it leans heavily towards the classical side.
“Our music is not necessarily elitist — maybe just different,” Madrass says.
“Our songs, which are exclusively in English and Spanish, speak mostly about love.
“Our audiences always can’t get enough of our renditions of Unchained Melody and I Believe in You.
“By singing the way we do, we are simply doing what we know best and attempting to introduce Basotho to a different sound.”
Madrass adds: “Our music reaches out to all members of the public.
“We sing for high school kids, tertiary students and senior citizens alike.”
The group does not have its own songs though, preferring to re-arrange music composed by their favourite artistes.
“We are drawn to music by, among others, IL Divo, Josh Groban, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey,” says Madrass.
“We re-arrange some of the songs to give them a classical feel, while some are already classical.”
Yet it has not been smooth-sailing for Kingdom Classics, Hantši tells Xpress People.
“Most of our 2009 shows were performed free of charge for marketing purposes,” says Hantši.
“But later people were willing to dig deep into their pockets to pay.”
Although music is obviously in their genes, the bubbly members of Kingdom Classics work full-time at different organisations.
This means they only get together for rehearsals when there are shows lined up.
Despite their work commitments, the four say they would not be abandoning their musical careers anytime soon.
“We are always humbled by the reaction we get after every show,” says Madrass.
“It shows we are on the right track, doing what we love most.”
“One fine old lady once told us we reminded her of her old song-book and the lyrics she used to scribble in it when she was younger,” says Morothetsane.
“I think we had just sung Unchained Melody then,” adds Hantši, chuckling.