The Bala Family wows star-studded audience

The Bala Family wows star-studded audience

A new South African Gospel supergroup was born on June 20th, when The Bala Family took to the stage at The Market Theatre.

There to celebrate the theatre's 30th birthday, the performance by the group that many are calling South Africa's equivalent to America's Gospel royalty, the Winans family, left the star-studded audience smitten.

Among those witnessing the first live performance of the group were Lebo Mathosa and Sibongile Khumalo, and they joined a near-capacity crowd in giving a resolutely rousing reception to the repertoire of songs on offer that more than proved that South African Gospel music can be uplifting, fresh and cross into genres, among them ragga and kwaito.

Most of the material was drawn off Genesis, the debut album from The Bala Family produced by performer, songwriter, musician, arranger and the all-round talented, Zwai Bala. Also on stage was R&B star, Loyiso Bala, as well as the brothers' sister, Pinky, and their mom, Nowatuse. Cousins Notuna, Yolisa and Vuyokazi rounded off the line-up of this true family affair.

The live show was peppered with star guest appearances, including a spirited performance by Hugh Masekela (pictured), but the moment that had the audience at its most entranced came just before interval when Zwai and Loyiso's younger brother, Phelo took to the stage.

Just a teenager, this member of the Drakensburg Boys Choir has a remarkable voice that marks him out as one of the country's stars-in-waiting (a fact he confirmed by encouraging the wild claps of the audience whilst tackling opera!). When Phelo was joined by Zwai and Loyiso to sing 'You Raise Me Up', the audience was on its feet, in raptures.

* The Bala Family album 'Genesis' is out on Chissa Records now.

Date Posted : 22 Jun 2006