It hasn’t been long since she hung up her earphones in exchange for the microphone but former East Coast Radio presenter Nelisa Kala has been wowing audiences across South Africa with her original sound and powerful lyrics, following a six month sabbatical from the airwaves to focus on her music.
With a voice that has been described as reminiscent of that of Roberta Flack, Kala’s production, The Awakening, will be performed at four venues in Port Elizabeth this month.
The Awakening is a multi-art production which comprises spoken-word poetry and pensive afro-jazz/soul fusion music written and composed by Nelisa Kala which makes its debut appearance at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, running from 30 June – 10 July 2011.
Kala has surrounded herself with an array of acclaimed performers and art-innovators for this project. She will perform with some of Port Elizabeth’s most revered musicians and members of top local bands; John Andrews (Bassist – Jam Room), Rob Thompson (Lead Guitar and Sitar – The Jack Rabbit Slims), Kristo Zondagh (Drums and Percussion – Vudu) and Rhonewin Jansen (Trumpet).
Kala and her team of talented musicians will perform in the Grahamstown Fringe Festival at the Cuervo Room on 2 and 3 July at 22h30 as well as at the Urban Lounge from 6 to 10 July at 11h00.
“The production promotes a spiritual awakening of emotion, positive creative expression and change. It amalgamates several styles of art into one production and explores emotion as it moves through anger, passion, pain, love and finally spiritual growth,” says Kala.
This combination of various genres of music with traditional Xhosa, Zulu, French and English lyrics appeals to a mass audience. Coupled with moving poetry, this production is slated to lead the way in avant-garde artistic movements. It comprises all of Kala’s original poetry and music.
Nelisa Kala is a highly experienced performer and previous radio personality on East Coast Radio. This twenty-four year old is an avid writer whose poetry is often featured online and in print media. Most recently, her works have been a regular feature on dotonline.co.za and Uncut Magazine and she has also been featured on Ses’khona (SABC 1), Studio 53 (M Net), Amazing Time Detectives (SABC 2) and more recently appeared on Top Billing (SABC 3).
She performed at the Women’s Empowerment Conferences, sharing her poetry with audiences of five hundred and more and has also performed at numerous private and corporate functions.
Kala started the trombone at age nine, and has performed at a national level, including performances at the Grahamstown Standard Bank Jazz Festival where she was chosen as a member of the National Youth Big Band annually for a period of four years.
She also has a parallel career in theatre and has played in several productions ranging from one act plays to full scale musicals.
Kala says that; “The Awakening hopes to challenge negative perceptions and instil a message of beauty through poetry and song. The production also aims to share a message of strength, endurance and perseverance by motivating change. The high level of audience interaction makes Kala’s performance light hearted and entertaining and guarantees a foot-stomping good time for all. ”
Catch Nelisa Kala at these Port Elizabeth venues:
- 12 June – Warmer Gardens, 1pm – 5pm
- 15 June – Verses and Sounds Youth Day Music Fest, Warmer Gardens 7pm – Late
- 17 June – Toni’s Place 7pm – Late
- 18 June – Richmond Hill Street Music Festival. 10: 00 am to 10:00 pm
Kala will return to East Coast Radio in July to host the Weekend 5pm – 9pm slot.
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