Zakes Bantwini


Durban-based music mogul Zakhele Madida, stage name Zakes Bantwini, has released yet another album that is not only nostalgic but has a crossover appeal that will mesmerize you. He describes his music as Sophisticated Dance Music – a Cosmopolitan lifestyle that talks about different lifestyles. He says: “I wanted to crossover to other markets and compete with the international market. The South African name in the house industry has to be something that’s appeal to everyone who appreciates good music. Zakes is armed with a Diploma in Jazz and popular music, and currently studying towards his degree with University of Kwazulu-Natal. He studied at Natal Technikon, now known as Durban University of Technology. He formed Mayonie Productions in 2004 while he was completing his final year at technikon. It is rare for music students to even think of forming their recording labels, but Zakes did because he wanted to become a businessman, other than being a musician.

“I didn’t want to go to a record company with my demo tape and ask for them to sign me as their artist. It made sense for me to look for talent and then after signing the artist, I would go and negotiate for their deal – while at the same time I am actively involved in promoting my artist,” says Zakes.

That’s how L’vovo was born, and after mesmerising fans, he won a couple of Metro FM Music Awards. Then other artists were signed at Mayonie Productions like Beezory (Kwaito), Shon G (Hip Hop), SAMA best new comer of 2008 the late Andile Mseleku (Jazz), DJ Sndara (House Music), Dj Snazzy, and Museeq IQ who will be releasing his album in 2011.

Zakes Bantwini is one of the people who introduced what is today known as Durban Kwaito Music (DKM). The genre is a mixture of house beats blended with kwaito lyrics, something that has never been offered to the kwaito fanatics in the past.

He says he puts together a house song with paton lyrics, that are positioned satisfactorily and also harmonized the chorus. The idea is to have a song that has a crossover appeal that still has a kwaito feel. Zakes introduced this new movement to expand kwaito as a genre and open new opportunities for up and coming artists, and it is evident that the genre is here to stay, despite the prophets of doom who think otherwise. He said the problem with kwaito was that the tempo was a bit slow from that of house and it became difficult for DJs to mix such songs with what they are playing. He DKM fills offers DJs a kwaito sound that they can easily mix with a house song, he says.

Teaming up with the top producer and award winning Dj Black Coffee , Zakes Bantwini’s album is different in a sense that it not the type that you will just get anywhere, but the uniqueness makes it to stand out. “We’ve been friend with Black Coffee for so many years and the success of our collaboration on JUJU, we felt it was time for us to work on an album together” says Zakes. The album is collaboration between Zakes’s Mayonie Productions and Black Coffee’s Soulistic music.

Apart from being released in South Africa, Zakes’ ambition is to have the album released in the whole African continent and overseas countries. Zakes, a respected dancer and choreographer, in Love, Light and Music he has worked with different artists like Tumelo, Xolani Sithole (Joyous Celebration),The Album is produced and mixed by Black Coffee with contributions by other producers like Abicah Soul(USA) ,Mindlo ‘n Essential I, Culoe De Song and Zakes Bantwini Himself.

In his new album, Zakes features Tumelo on the song hit song “Bum Bum”. The track will get you hooked and the strings on he background will want to make you get up and dance – as a sign of appreciation.

Some music critics have suggested that the song “Clap your Hands”, featuring Xolani Sithole, is the type that will make music fans appreciate good and quality music. The song is just in a class of its own, and you will be mistaken when you think its a song done by musicians who live in the US.

There are traces of jazz music on the song Sunrise Tell, where he features Culoe De Song on production. This is a sign that Zakes Bantwini used to listen to jazz legends like Miles Davis, Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and Bheki Mseleku, hence the jazz influence.

The influence of the New Orleans jazz from the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday, and his favourite artist, R&B legendary singer, composer and producer R Kelly also made Zakes to look forward to become a musician. His first instrument that he learnt at technikon was the piano. He wants to emulate R Kelly, and as they say, the sky is the limit if you want to achieve things in life.

And when you listen to the song uNomathemba, featuring Shana, you will realise that Zakes Bantwini’s offering is different. On vocals, Shana and Zakes compliment each other in this song about love. It’s a song that tells you not that SA house music has grown and is on another level.

The lyrics of the song Wasting my Time. This is something that is being experienced by many people who are in love and have challenges. There songs like Take me there, Butterfly, Juju Remix, Summer to mention just a few.

This album will make sure you dance to the music after having listened to the mellow sounds and the messages delivered from the opening song until the last one. The rock guitar on this song will I suggest you get your copy this is one album you need in your collection this Summer.