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DURBAN BLACK DRIFTERS US TOUR (article first published : 2006-12-15)

Durban’s famous Isicathamiya outfit Durban Black Drifters will jet off to the US and Canada in January 2007 to perform in a series of shows in New York, New Orleans, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Illinois, Chicago and Staten Island.

In the interim they will have a few gigs in Toronto in Canada. The group is booked for 30 shows which will be characterized by “live” performances, interviews, workshops and recordings in a non-stop eight week tour.

Formed in 1992 and led by multi talented KZN Nkandla- born Chris Ntuli, Durban Black Drifters has performed in Norway, France, Belgium and China.

Chris Ntuli has come a long and hard way with his group. When he first came to Durban in the early 70’s he spent his first few years on the streets in Point and eking out a living from shipping contractors at R2 a day. In 1994 he sang Zulu hymns in the musical play King Cetshwayo with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The musical play was later staged in New York. In 1995 Ntuli recorded two albums with the legendary group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and translated all songs on both Ukuzala Ukuzelula andThuthukani Ngoxolo albums respectively.

Other top artists Chris Ntuli has worked with are Busi Mhlongo, Madala Kunene, Mabe Thobejane, Aierto Moreia (Brazil) and the late Sipho Gumede and Jabu Khanyile, to name but a few.

Durban Black Drifters’ ongoing Isicathamiya music workshops programme will come in handy as the group is also booked to visit music institutions such as City University of New York, New Jersey University and New York University’s TISCH School of Arts. Their activities will coincide with February Black History month which is celebrated annually in America. They will be joined by scores of other African top artists showcasing all African dances, music, sculptures and workshops etc.

Durban Black Drifters are set to make history as they are assigned to record a collaboration song with world mega rock star Bruce Springsteen and also with American and Spanish born hot R&B sensation Maya Azucena who released her debut album called Maya Who?

The tour will also boost the promotion of their new album entitled Ivangeli which will also be released in New York under Progress Records. It will have additional songs such as Soon and Very Soon made famous by American singer Andre Crouch, Precious Lord, Kulukhuni Remix, New Orleans, Good Day, etc.

Produced by the late multi-award winner and world music singer Jabu Khanyile, who died several weeks ago, the ten tracks hot CD is a must for music lovers. The album is available at Reliable Music Warehouse countrywide and can be purchased on line at www.geocities.com/blackdrifters

New York based label Progress Records owned by Rudi Mbele is promoting and managing the DBD US tour. Soweto born Mbele is no Johnny come lately in South African music promotion and development in the US. She has been employed by the Carnegie Hall Global Encounters Programme. Having spent over 20 years in America Mbele has been responsible for the tour of Hugh Masekela, Jabu Khanyile, Busi Mhlongo, Tsepo Tsola, Khaya Mahlangu, and La-Guardia High School Chorus and South African All Star Band few years ago. Other acts she has brought to the US are Mtuba Thulisa Brother, Junior Mambazo, Soweto Teachers Choir, K Cap Alive Kids and Jabulani Choral Society to name but a few.

Immediately after Durban Black Drifters return from America they will embark on their annual Isicathamiya High Schools Choir Competition to be held at the Playhouse Opera on May 18 2007 sponsored by Caltex oil. The show is on its seventh year and sixty choirs are expected to compete.

Durban Black Drifters US tour is organised and managed by Progress Records in association with DBD Entertainment. For more information, e-mail afrozania@msn.com or log on to www.geocities.com/blackdrifters




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