MASERU – An ensemble consisting of four classical musicians, Matšoanafike Chamber Orchestra, appears poised to set the local music industry ablaze. The quartet believes they are to go further and form the country’s first national orchestra in the making. Members of the group have all received training in classical music from different backgrounds and met as friends, to come together in 2020 to establish Matšoanafike.
The four members making up the group are Kamohelo Kutumela, 29, from Khubetsoana, Basy Qhobela, 42, from Botha-Bothe, Khotso Makhakhe, 26, from Sekamaneng and Zanele Nhlabatsi, 27, from eSwatini. and they are still hoping to grow. The ensemble presently performs at different occasions such as weddings, graduations, parties, church services, restaurants and hotels; they also provide private music lessons for violin, piano, viola, guitar, flute and cello.
They also plan to expand their involvement in the music industry by staring a community project to offer music education, especially to children from vulnerable and poor backgrounds. “What brought us together from the very start is the love for music. We all believe in the power of music as a tool to uplift communities and empower especially young people. This is what keeps us going ‘the love for music’ and seeing ourselves growing together each day.”
“We are so glad that we have been able to sustain our group through this tough times we all have been through. When Covid 19 started we had very few or no gigs at all, but we kept practicing and rehearsing and things have been getting better especially towards the end of last year, we started getting more shows in several occasions like weddings, birthday parties and even malls during the holidays,” ‘Matšoanafike Chamber Orchestra told Life&Style.
They also emphasized that one of the many challenges they face is building the culture of music in the country, theatrical performances and community support. Very few people support what we do and that makes it hard to even organize own shows, hence we are trying to build the culture of music and theatre as an industry as well as audience support, the group noted.
They believe that investing in young people is very key to creating this culture of music, theatre and visual performances. “We feel like there is very little or no support even though people want to see these things happening here in Lesotho. We are dedicated to offering our talents to the young, and we have started a music project that will focus on training them to learn through music – especially kids from vulnerable backgrounds.”
“We are trained classical musicians; the reason we play mostly classical music which is very educational. But we are not limited to classical music as we perform in different occasions that require us to play music appropriate for the occasion and audience. We are so diverse that we even play RnB and pop during weddings,” they said.
There are a lot of songs that are always at the top of their repertoire list, but the piece called ‘Canon’ is performed in almost in all occasions because it is their favourite. The audience easily relates to it too. “The instruments and music we play are very rare here in Africa, and we find inspiration amongst ourselves especially when we come together for rehearsals and when we have performances,” the group said.
Internationally, the group idolises many amazing players and groups. “We believe as a group that in the not so distant future we will found the first Lesotho National Orchestra. This is where we see ourselves in a few years to come. If people would love to know more about us or to enrol their children for proper music education or have an important event, we are available.”