Festival Highlights Video
The Festival took place at the Ulundi Regional Sports Complex on Saturday the 27th of December, 2008.
At the onset the Onkweni Royal Cultural festival is to salute and celebrate the life of the great general, statesman Zulu warrior and a royal prince, His Royal Highness Prince Shingana, son of King Mpande.
Joe Nina sings the kind of music that takes you back in the day. His music shows growth and transformation without doubt and compromise. It’s a journey of creation, tone of its own mode and purpose that roves within the senses of an artist whose desire for fresh values keeps him on his fingertips and toes all day long. It shuttles between the melodies of the piano and the gentle strumming of the guitars. They sway gently with the rattling and the raving of the African drums and the improvisations of the synthesizers. Then you have the sweet and romantic vocals.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo represents the traditional culture of South Africa and is regarded as the country’s cultural emissary at home and around the world. They are a national treasure of the new South Africa in part because they embody the traditions suppressed in the old South Africa. The traditional music sung by Ladysmith Black Mambazo is called ISICATHAMIYA (Is-Cot-A-Me-Ya).
Madala Kunene is a professional musician, who is undeniably one of the best guitarists to ever come out of Durban. He has, time & time again, proven to his audience that he is truly the “King of the Zulu Guitar”. This eclectic musician has an aura of calmness & wisdom which is meticulously replicated in his music. His music is deep-rooted in spiritual and traditional rhythms.
The Mahotella Queens represent so much of what is the best in South African music: the finely honed art of passionate singing, the latticework of funky rhythms and the breath-taking art of spectacular live performance. “World Music Artist Of The Year” at WOMEX 2000, the Mahotella Queens are South Africa’s fore-most Afro-pop singing group. Known in their native land for their distinctive ‘mbaqanga’ genre of music, the Queens firmly sealed their place in the legend of urban music in the early 60’s, whilst backing the ‘Lion of Soweto’ Mahlathini in the formidable group Mahlathini and The Mahotella Queens.
To interpret “Life” in Swahili you would use the word “Maisha”, and that is what this new band is all about, “Life” in Africa. The band’s music provides an important message of peace and love in a world that needs as much understanding and genuine commitment now more than ever. Maisha is a new 5 piece band that plays easy listening soulful and meaningful music from the heart of Africa. The songs reflect the life and times of modern Africa, with messages of hope, peace and love for all.
Phuzekhemisi, which translates as “drink the medicine” is widely acknowledged as the king of the indigenous genre known as “maskanda” Maskanda is a literal translation of the Afrikaans word for musician, namely musikant and one could equate a solo maskandi as the local equivalent of the European “wandering minstrel”. Phuzekhemisi could, I suppose, be described as a neo-traditionalist. Despite his albums having sold in the hundreds of thousands of units he remains true to his rural roots, still choosing to live in his traditional Zulu kraal in the rolling hills around Umkomaas. Being a very humble man, whose upbringing revolved around tending his families livestock as a herds boy, Phuzekhemisi remains among the very few musicians from KwaZulu Natal to draw on the social ills that plague his fellow villagers in the songs that he composes.
Shabalala Rhythm was formed in 1998.”We started talking about it while we were on tour in America, when we discovered that we had a lot of time on our hands. When we got back home that year, we started rehearsing a few songs that I had written; the first song[s were] “Ubuhle Bakho” and “Intombi Ingalile. We rehearsed a few weeks and called Maqhinga to come and join us with his guitar. Later that year we recorded three songs as to just [test] how they sounded and then I wrote more songs. We kept working on them until we had ten songs all together-enough to make a CD and then we took them to the record company in 2000.”
These and other bands such as; Amageza Amahle, Living Legend Production and Zero Khumalo, peformed on the main stage of the Festival.