It only takes Vuyiseka Maguga aka Lovechild a moment to form a connection with her audience. Everyone who sits before her is made to feel like a friend and family member through the nostalgia her music invokes. Her offering is one of love. The singer captures her audience with her beaming smile and booming voice.
Her small stature tells nothing of the power of her vocal capabilities. Her command over the dynamics of her voice and her ability to change her tone, taking her audience from one feeling to the next, is nothing short of amazing. Black Roots Marimba (marimba band) plays with unmeasurable zeal. Their whole bodies are transformed into musical instruments. From amanqashela, which adorn the ankles of the founder (Sibahle) to the strokes of the arms of every member- every movement is deliberate and produces sounds that add to the spirit of the atmosphere.
The unconventional pairing of a marimba band and vocalist is perhaps the most striking feature of her set. Lovechild admits that this was an idea which seemed crazy to some, but it yielded an eclectic acoustic experience, with incredible performance value. Her ability to feed off of the energy of her band creates an electrifying mood. The mood created is further strengthened by her lyrical content which conveys the validity of dreams and imparts hope.
In the words of her song Enkosi, “[u]galela amanzi emhlabeni owomileyo” (her music is like a drop of water to the sand of a desert). Her set is a journey. She details her own experiences, invoking in her audience a nostalgia an obligation to reflection and reframe one’s own experiences.
Her music is a spiritual offering that beckons that her audience see the good in their own lives; while recognizing the difficulties of life and the different paths it forces us to take. She engages with her audience with an openness that draws one in.
We are all with her on stage sharing in her journey and getting to know her band. Her voice is an instrument which she uses to transport us through a wide array of feelings. It is impossible to avoid being carried into another realm as her voice moves from belting out carefully planned staccato notes to softer, more vulnerable sustained notes.
By her own admission, it is not so much that she is unrivaled in her vocal abilities but more the purity of her delivery. Her music comes from a good place, a place of warmth and love. She acts as validation for the dreams and aspirations of many artists who have been called crazy for pursuing their dreams. Her music brings healing and validation.
By Nhlakanipho Mahlangu