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Selaelo's musical gold

2007-04-18 15:43
These days it seems like everything Selaelo Selota touches turns to gold. Like his 2000 debut album, Painted Faces which has sold more than 25 000 units, and his follow-up Enchanted Garden.

But Selota once worked on the gold mines.

It's an architypal South African story: Born and raised in a rural village near Polokwane (Formerly Pietersburg) in South Africa’s most northern Limpopo Province, he was inspired by the traditional music that surrounded him. He didn't have money to study further after matric, so he went to work on the mines, among migrant workers. Through them, he discovered traditional songs and dances from many other South Africa tribal groups. Apartheid was on its last legs, and oppression very powerful when Selota left the mines in 1989 for Egoli, in search of hope and new directions. He continued working in darkness, but at least not underground, when he got a job at the Market Theatre as an usher, then switched to cleaning at Newtown Night club Kippies Jazz International, where he seized every opportunity to absorb what he could from the musicians he heard performing there night after night. That year he bought his first guitar. By June 1998 Selaelo Selota was playing with his first band at the Market, and also gigging with renowned Ghananian artist George Lee and his outfit, Anansi.

Many steps took him through working at the Shell Road of Fame Competition, to teaching Jazz Guitar at FUBA Academy, to the University of Cape Town’s College of music to Study a Degree in Jazz Music, and gigs with many top musos. Selaelo then formed his band Taola in 1996 as a vehicle of his original compositions, which were and still are an energetic and emotional fusion of Pedi, music, modern elements and the traditional African musical experiences of his youth. Taola was a hit at many big festivals in South Africa and overseas.

He's definitely one to see live: “I’ve found myself restricted in my mind, but when I am on stage I let go, there is someone who comes forward and that person has been inspired by me. He is a very energetic dancer and he is very passionate when he has to sing and could even put lyrics to all instruments”, says Selaelo.

Selaelo is both an academic and a passionate, professional performer, and a producer of successful albums. He is making a fresh substantial contribution to the development of South African music and enjoys sharing his work and inspiration with the wildest possible audience. He's also launched the Selaelo Selota Artist Developmental Programme, aided by various funders, to discover and nurture new talent.

His contribution has been recognised and awarded by by numorous bodies, including the University of Cape Town, and the Government of Limpopo Province.

(Based on the info supplied by Beyond Destiny)

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From gold miner to gold-selling artist, Selaelo's story is a rags to riches classic.

Read the Selaelo Selota interview
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