Nthako scales jazz heights

Mongali Nthako

Mohalenyane Phakela

UPCOMING jazz musician, Mongali Nthako recently released his sophomore album, Melekisedeke which has much mellower feel than his previous offering.

Released a fortnight ago, the album boasts 10 beautiful tracks, six of which are instrumentals.

Those with vocals include the title track, Like Father Like Son as well as Madidi le Majisto.

Nthako recently told Xpress People that he decided to “go deeper” into Jazz to educate Basotho about the essence of blues.

“I fell in love with Jazz through playing the lead guitar so the first album was basically introductory,” Nthako said, adding, “This one is meant to show maturity and educate people that Afro Jazz can also be instrumental”.

“Few people understand instrumental Jazz hence the album and besides that, we want to show the world that Basotho are capable of producing good Jazz.

“The album is already rotating on different local radio stations.”

Born and bred in the small village of Letsatseng near Ha Tsosane in Maseru, Nthako’s musical career began in 1996, when he started playing a guitar made of an old can, plank and strings.

He later joined a church choir where he learned to play a real guitar.

He is currently one of the country’s sought-after lead guitarists and he has played for the likes of Bhudaza, Fatere, Moshate, Qiloane, Sentšo and Gudoza.

“The style which I used to play the guitar on the songs is one that gives it an African flavour but the challenge is whether the market is ready for that sound.

“I can argue that we do not have Jazz on the continent but we do something close to that. The fact that we use notes and instruments used in Jazz makes us term our music so. I think our kind of Jazz is unique hence should be labelled differently.”

The gifted guitarist further mentioned that he is currently doing music for passion and will eventually earn money from it when the time is right.

“Producing Jazz is very expensive as we record live therefore one has to pay other instrument players as well as the backing vocalists.

“I spend a lot of money on music but I believe my investment will eventually pay off when I become popular,” he said.


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