“BUILT to shock you before they rock you,” so says the sleeve of new musical group Soul Bone’s new album Is it true? launched on Wednesday night in Harare.
In many ways the album and indeed the group is something of a bolt from the blue because unlike many other R&B groups, some of its members are physically challenged. Yet in spite of this obstacle they have managed to put together an offering worth its salt on the market. Soul Bone are proof of the axiom “don’t judge a book by its cover”.Â Their appearance belies the talents they possess which are revealed when you listen to them sing.
The group consists of Flinx, Jay D, Spicy B and Chris Joe but originally consisted of seven members – some of whom succumbed to medical complications associated with their disabilities. Â
Chronicling their long road from obscurity to recognition musician Tendai Mupfurutsa, who has played a mentorship and supportive role to the group highlighted how in 2001 Danhiko College offered an opportunity for the fledgling group to lay their skills bare to fellow students and lecturers.
“They were seven when they started singing acapella at assembly. Some of the songs were versions of popular songs and they sang these songs with such longing and passion.”
With the financial help of gospel singer Charles Charamba,Â Mupfurutsa adds, Soul Bone began its attempt to penetrate the music industry. However,Â Remembrance, their foray into the industry, was not as successful as they had hoped because, according to Mupfurutsa, they “were not singing the right stuff.”
It was only when the group made clear their desire to sing in a style that “matched their voices” that Mupfurutsa gave his unconditional support.
Produced by McDee, the eight-track album revolves mainly around the theme of love, says band member Flinx.Â Â
Blending a variety of styles and beats, the album has been produced with the clear intention to cater to a variety of tastes within the R&B and soul genres. For instance Let’s Party – for which a video has already been shot in South Africa – is as the name suggests, a clamour to engage in merrymaking, whilst I Wanna Know is a more laidback, slow-tempo tune.
Again This Is the Time is a fast paced song concerned with festivity whilst You Need a Man evokes the Boyz II Men type of soul from which the group obviously draws a lot of inspiration.
Mupfurutsa succinctly described the album by saying: “It is joyous music coming out of the souls of people who have triumphed over pain, poverty and discrimination. It is music from the soul, it is pouring from their hearts and from their very bones.”Â Â Â Â
BY NGONI MUZOFA