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Veteran musician unearths new artists to preserve maskandi

By Linda Ximba

In a bid to preserve the rich maskandi genre, veteran musician Ihhashi Elimhlophe has embarked on a mission to unearth raw talent from rural areas.

Through his Ihhashi Movement Legacy Project, which was launched two years ago, the singer and guitarist scouted raw gems in far flung areas in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

During the event at World of Yahama in Sandton at the weekend, he unveiled 10 new artists who have undergone rigorous auditioning and training.

They were awarded Yamaha gifts worth between R7,000 and R9,000, and they will record their debut albums soon.

Masixole “Mthandeninonke” Felem from Lusikisiki in East London and Bongani Mfeka from Mtubatuba in northern KZN applauded the veteran singer for affording them a chance to realise their long cherished dream.

They said they had been knocking on several doors begging for their music to be recorded but turned away.

“We will grab this big opportunity with both hands by giving our all by coming up with solid music,” they said.

Ihhashi, whose real name is Bhekinkosi Ngcobo, said by coming up with this initiative he aimed to create a legacy for maskandi music.

He is determined to see the genre not fade away because maskandi musicians have fought hard to ensure it enjoys the same treatment as other genres on radio and TV.

“Since some of these artists are new in the game we have held workshops for them, teaching them about the ins and outs of the industry. Teaching them how to manage their careers and finances is important because it is often a stumbling block for many. I urge other successful artists to give back to their communities,” he said.

Known for hits like “Nkiyankiya”, “Kulikhuni” and “Muntuza”, Ihhashi Elimhlophe has been in the industry for over 40 years. Because of his versatility and appeal, his talent has seen him collaborate with artists from other genres like DJ Oskido, Boom Shaka, Sbu Ama-Lawyer, Don Laka and Soul Brothers.

Pictured above: Ihhashi Elimhlophe

Image source: Supplied