Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
IT was one of those lackluster days that one encounters in life when suddenly, my phone rang and little did I know that rays of light were on the way.
South African royalty had touched down. Ndebele Queen Sekhothali Mabhena was in the city en-route to Matobo for the Umtshado KaMbulumakhasana fashion exhibition by local fashion designer and founder of Ganu designs, Nkanyezi Malunga.
Meeting the Queen and her entourage was majestic indeed and so was meeting Vuyi Sax who offered entertainment at KaMaNdazi restaurant where the Queen had a detour.
At first, one would have been forgiven for thinking that Vuyi Saz, real name Vuyile Qongo was part of the Queen’s entourage. His eloquent Xhosa accent did not help his case as well.
This line of thought was sustained at least until he stood up and played his saxophone. That was a surreal moment and the performance resembled the ones one sees on reality music competitions like America’s Got Talent and Starbrite.
Those in the music business call those types of performances covers since that particular individual won’t be performing an original song, but rather, a rendition of someone else’s. So, how and when did Vuyile Qongo become Vuyi Sax and embrace the saxophone as part of his life?
“Music has always been a part of me and I believe that, since birth, God had bestowed this gift to me. Growing up, I listened to a lot of music, but the idea to be a professional artiste materialised in 2015. That is when I picked up the saxophone.
“I owe the opportunity I had to my church, Spoken Word Fellowship under the care of Reverend Nqobile Ngwenya. The backdrop of the story is that in 2011, a brass band was formed at church but at that point, I was confident enough to pick up any musical instrument and join the team.
“As a lover of music from a tender age, I would listen to music but I was not exposed to musical instruments even though I knew I had a musical ear and an appreciation of it.
After watching closely how the brass band was gaining ground, I got challenged and inspired when I saw this other lady soloing at a conference. I had to face my fears head-on.
“The saxophone spoke to me in a deep and particular way because I believe that all of us have that something that resonates to us in a special way.
In all of the musical instruments available, the saxophone spoke to my heartstrings and I knew that if I was to venture into music professionally, then the saxophone would be the one for me.
I can express myself better on a saxophone than on any other instrument. That is why I chose the saxophone,” said Vuyi Sax on what led him to the instrument he plays.
From the look of things and his love for the wind instrument, Vuyi Sax is the kind of guy who spells saxophone with a capital S. Vuyi Sax is not all sax all day.
Rather, he is a boilermaker by training, but he is not practicing at the moment and part of his broadcasting portfolio includes being a news anchor for IsiXhosa, IsiNdebele and English news at radio station, KhulumaniFM, recording gospel songwriter and artiste, arranger, voice-over artiste, music tutor, multi-lingual MC and also radio and television presenter-cum-producer.
Lately, Vuyi Sax has been busy preparing for the launch of his debut album titled Umusa to be held on the 26th of March at the Zimbabwe Academy of Music. To help him launch his debut collective project will be Hannah Mapepeta.
“We’re on course to launch the debut album and preparations have been progressing well. My fans should expect a good sound since my mission is to break language, style, and background barriers as I cover even foreign language songs and redo them via the saxophone. This gives them a local flavour that anyone can resonate with.
“My album basically covers songs done by Vusa Mangena, Canaan Nyathi, and Vuyo Brown just to name a few. The title track itself was inspired by Canaan Nyathi’s Umusa,” he said.
After the launch of the album, Vuyi Sax has a mission to have a mini-tour in neighbouring countries during the Easter season. He will take his sound to Lusaka, Zambia on April 7 and this will be the first stop for his tour which will see him visit Botswana and South Africa as well.
Later on, the saxophonist will embark on a journey to shoot visuals to launch a live DVD for the album to complement his “digitally-made album”.
The self-funded artiste lamented the lack of funding while producing the album and has extended a plea to corporates and well-wishers to lend a hand for his upcoming live DVD.
“I had difficulties conjuring up my album since I’m self-funded and this had a bearing on the amount of time it took for us to complete the album. For the upcoming live DVD which is still in the pipeline, we’ll engage corporates to lend a hand,” he said.
Vuyi Sax would want to stake a claim at being one of the finest saxophonists nationally, continental, or globally and join the chosen class of saxophonists including the first African to reach the top 50 U.S pop charts, the great Cameroonian alto-saxophonist Manu Dibango, Getatchew “Negus of Ethiopian Sax” Mekurya and South African Dudu Pukwana.
Only time will tell how far will Vuyi Sax go with his career. – @eMKlass_49
Article Source: The Chronicle