Nomfusi Gotyana

Known to the musical world simply as Nomfusi, 24 year-old singer/songwriter Nomfusi Gotyana is one of the featured artists coming to the Afrikadey! stage this August. Having blessed Calgary audiences with a stellar performance at Afrikadey! 2009, she will shine once more as a star attraction as a participant in this year's much anticipated main-stage festivities.

A far cry from her humble beginnings in the Eastern Cape province's KwaZakhele township and eventually Khayelitsha (on the outskirts of Cape Town), South Africa, Nomfusi has built a successful international musical career through her exceptional talent and by the sheer force of her irrepressible will. An expert at melding South African musical styles and influences with modern influences such as Tina Turner, Lauren Hill and Aretha Franklin, Nomfusi injects each of her songs with soulful power and fiery passion to create beautiful music while remaining true to her cultural roots.

Having lost a great source of support with the death of her mother, a traditional healer, in 1988, the twelve year-old once again demonstrated her resilience by using her personal pain as emotional motivation to compose her first song, "Uthando", which means "love". Of Uthando she says: "Losing my mother made me understand what love is and the kind of love she was teaching us, and that for me was to love myself so much that I would not let any situation destroy me, not even her death." The intrepid vocalist was recently dealt another harsh blow when her sister passed away, only adding to her brave resolve.

By now an expert at parlaying hardship into harmony, Nomfusi has stepped into the recording studio to immortalize her craft, releasing a live "in concert with" DVD. In addition, her debut album entitled Kwazibani, which was her mother's name and which means "Who Knows?", has garnered acclaim and appreciation from fans and critics alike. Swathed in the rhythms and melodies of Sophiatown jazz and inspired by musicians such as the talented Abigail Khubeka, Kwazibani was embraced by the world-beat community as a work of exceptional maturity and honesty. Nomfusi has even had her touching Xhosa lyrics translated into English as a nod to her growing international fanbase.

Armed with a strong and uplifting voice, remarkable beauty and a dynamic and appealing stage presence, Nomfusi has forged a golden reputation for entertaining audiences across the globe. Her signature Afro-soul style is described as a blend of rhythm and blues, jazz and South African contemporary music. Already a seasoned veteran of prominent concert-series such as Annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Nomfusi this year plans to embark on a on an extended international tour with her band appearing at prestigious festivals in North America and Europe. A role-model for young people of all backgrounds, Nomfusi Gotyana, the petite-powerhouse, is eager to showcase her Afro-soul delights to Calgary's Afrikadey! audience and to bring the warm heart of Africa home to the western Canadian prairies.


Afrikadey!: What have you been up to recently?
Nomfusi: I've been working on my new material for my second album.

Afrikadey!: Do you have any upcoming albums?
Nomfusi: Yes I do.

Afrikadey!: What is your compositional process: do you write a melody, and then add lyrics? Does your band show you a cool riff and you build up a song together?
Nomfusi: I always write things down ideas etc and if I feel strongly about a subject then I expand on it and make lyrics. The melody comes when I'm relaxing and happy.

Afrikadey!: What is the favourite line you've written?
Nomfusi: From my song "Nontsokolo" (translated from Xhosa): "I know your story Poverty, I know the depth of your pain Poverty and I know where you come from, because I am Poverty.

Afrikadey!: If you could perform a duet with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Nomfusi: Tina Turner

Afrikadey!: Do you have any funny stories from on tour?
Nomfusi: Our drummer Collin is very funny. He has his own unique way of seeing things. For example when we fly over Africa, and you ask him how far still to go? He'll say "we're now at the hip," (pointing to his own hip, referring to Tanzania) or "we're almost at the elbow" (Somalia).

Afrikadey!: How is it being one woman among quite a few men on tour?
Nomfusi: The guys like to go out and explore the places we visit and meet lots of interesting people. I like to go to my hotel room and lie in bed and watch movies.

Afrikadey!: How does Canada's festival music scene compare to other countries you've visited?
Nomfusi: Well all the festivals I've been too have their own distinct element but Afrikadey festival is beautiful because of how it captures different African sounds.

Afrikadey!: Are there any songs that you are particularly excited to perform at Afrikadey!?
Nomfusi: Yes!!!!! And it's a surprise.

Afrikadey!: Last year at Afrikadey! you performed a song using these fantastic, Miriam Makeba-inspired clicks and mouth-singing. How do you do that?
Nomfusi: Well it's like asking a dog how does it bark, I'm born with it and I'm an African who has always been interested in African things.

Afrikadey!: Can you give me a quick lesson?
Nomfusi: Yes if you are eager to do it then lets DO THIS THING!

Afrikadey!: Is there anything in Calgary you plan on seeing or doing while you're here?
Nomfusi: Enjoy the sun and see Mr Tunde.

Visit Nomfusi on MySpace Music & Facebook.

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