Late last week, as if anticipating this week’s very much coffee, muffins and sex weather, Ntsika Ngxanga member of award winning a cappella trio The Soil, released his impeccably grounded solo album. Titled I Write What I Dream the album is something of an emotional enigma, a velvety combo of cookies and cream laced with Woolworths’ tin roof ice cream. It is a tasty mesh of melodious sounds that is about to leave many singles no longer interested in being single.
While a cross between Traditional, Spiritual, Funk and Afrosoul, I Write What I Dream can equally be easily mistaken for an Afropop offering particularly with tracks such as Awundiva where Ngxanga features Afrosoul crooner Vusi Nova whose rhythm and sound prizes the cross pollination of rock, and rhythm and blues. On this track, Ngxanga seemingly experimented with a fusion of the vocal abilities he is best known for and a Nova sound; and naturally, the outcome was a typical Nova sound with explosive climaxes remnant of his yesteryear funk offering, Ndizakulinda. There are of course other, conscious yet heart-melting melodies in the album that remind one of Msaki and Simphiwe Dana such as the semi-ballad Alkebulan whose romantic sound interestingly subdues the very significant lyrics deliberating the sensitive subject of land dispossession and reform in South Africa. Cheated by acoustics, emotions are bound to somersault in the direction of a significant other as this record forces a listen of its melody more than its dwarfed lyrics. Fair warning. Another chest rocker, Vanilla Flavoured Clouds is guaranteed to cement what Alkebulan would have started. For your own safety and sanity, it is advisable not to listen to this record while inebriated, running or driving long distance. One is best positioned to give it a listen over a cup of something warm or during and after a steamy engagement somewhere in cold weather. Do consider yourself warned.
Unlike the plethora of musicians who found success and eminence while in group settings only to fall short drearily at solo projects, Ngxanga may have stumbled upon a working formula. He may very well be set for life as a solo musician with this approach as certainly; I Write What I Dream is a timeless body of work that plainly defies conventional music making and compartmentalisation. The album cuts across genres as it caters for every kind of listener there is, thus indeed putting on display the musical genius that is Ntsika Ngxanga.
The album is now available at music stores around the country, iTunes and a few other online platforms. Do bestow upon yourself a taste of this young man’s brilliance. Should you be keen on a live experience, he will be sharing the stage with Vusi Nova and The Baobab Sisters for what has been dubbed the Unplugged Afrosoul Session at the Joburg Theatre on Friday 12 April 2019 at 8pm. You could make an evening of it with a loved one and remember this piece as you sip on intoxicants there.