South African songs from the heart
This article is from 2011.
In 2008, Morgan, Lwazi, Jabu and Zensele were ekeing out a living, busking on the streets of Soweto. Hearing that a French producer was dining in a nearby restaurant, the a cappella singers headed down there to try and impress him. They did. Three years later, they have toured France as opening act for the African Footprint musical, recorded an album and performed at the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Now, these talented young South Africans are playing the Edinburgh Fringe with a show that on paper sounds sparse – no costume changes, musicians or set – but in reality is full to the brim. With enough energy to power the lighting rig, Soweto Entsha (Zulu for ‘new’) fill the room with their stage presence. Wearing sharp grey suits and their hearts on their sleeve they imbue each song with deep emotion. Their smooth, warm voices perfectly complementing each other.
Most of the time, we don’t know what they’re singing about – which is fine, they convey enough feeling for us to fill in the gaps. Then, at the close of the set, Soweto Entsha deliver a spine-tingling cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, effectively wiping the floor with the original.
Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 29 Aug, 4.30pm, £11–£14.50 (£9.50–£13).