Muungu Africa is the pulse of African rhythm. The awesome trio don’t mince their words when they talk about how proudly African they are. And listening to their new single, Lerato, it’s easy to see that they not only practice what they preach but they epitomise what African artists should be about.
Set to a pulsating Afrobeat with generous doses of kwassa kwassa, a hint of highlife and the lively dance beat typical of South African house, the energetic Lerato is a potpourri of influences to thrill the young and old and those in between. The simple lyrics in Setswana, isiZulu and English make it an easy and catchy sing-along celebrating love between two people who can’t get enough of each other.
It already enjoys high rotation on a few national and regional radio stations earning them new fans along the way. Perhaps it’s the style, its maturity and playfulness and vibe that make Lerato such a hit, but whatever it is there is no denying that it boasts elements of sounds from across the continent – a Nigerian feel, the unmistakable Zimbabwean guitar and the energy of South African dance. It’s hardly surprising that the song has found its way into playlists in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
And with the single enjoying so much traction, one can only wonder how massive the album will be. Lerato heralds Show Love, the second album of the group from Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
Bongani Bongo Beats is the producer and beatmaker who has worked with some of the music industry’s biggest heavyweights, while Sindiswa is on vocals and Lionel is a vocalist and guitarist. The name is inspired by the Venda word for rhythm, as well as its Swahili meaning which is God. ‘We are the rhythm of Africa,’ offers Lionel. Sindiswa adds: ‘We are the heartbeat and soul of Africa’.
They pride themselves for having the sound of the future with their brand of dance and vibe. Their album doesn’t stray from the formula. It’s mostly love songs and they tackle whatever other issues happening in the world. They punt Lazaro, featuring Busiswa and Winnie Khumalo, as another single to look out for. It’s about a broke man dumped by his wife and the message there is to love someone for who they are and not what they have. Hello is about a woman rejecting a man’s advances at a party and Masijabuleni featuring Zulu Naja preaches love, happiness and unity.
The band got together in 2012 and their 2014 debut album boasted a single Dakalo which made them a hit in Lusophone Africa, ending up performing in Angola and enjoying popularity in Portugal, Brazil and Mozambique.
Explaining the secret behind their success Sinidiswa says they are brave and bold. ‘We’re versatile and not shy to explore new sounds.’
All the members of the group come from musical backgrounds. Sindiswa says her parents used to gather them as children around for some singing sessions, plus she sang in church. The same goes for Bongani. Lionel says they had a family band at home and it was his brother who introduced him to music something he identifies as a calling.
He joined the group when he realised that they shared so much in common and their coming together was seamless and effortless. ‘This is not a meeting of minds, but a calling. We all grew up in musical families and share so much love for everything African,’ says Lionel.
‘Our identity is African. We need people to be proud of who they are as Africans. Our music also carries good messages and we advocate for morals and respect, that’s why we don’t swear, instead we keep it clean, fresh and vibey,’ says Sindiswa.