Its independence day in Lesotho, the mountainous landlocked kingdom celebrates 51 years of freedom from the British rule and there is a lot happening, as far as entertainment is concerned that is. There is arts week (kick started on Monday the 2nd) with a symposium and fashion dialogue held at Limkwokwing University of Creative Technology and a fashion show today (oops that just got postponed to a date yet to be revealed); celebrating all the beauty of the fashion and modeling industry of this green country. There is also the Lehakoe Art Exhibition from today till the 13th, and then there is music and a wide variety of events serving different purposes but all largely recognizing the unique culture of the Basotho Nation.
It will be almost suicide to mention music in Lesotho and leave out one particular lady, Linkeng, whose steady rise to the top is nothing to be missed. Her PR team surely knows what they are doing, she has been in and out of the country for the past two seasons recording tracks and shooting videos to her recently released debut album NG’OANA MOSOTHO, making collaborations with local and South African artists; somewhere in there creating a balance to be a mom to her 36 months old daughter and a wife to her husband of 2 years.
Linkeng allows a PR team of 4 equally vocal and knowledgeable guys called BBMJ Media to run her image, and put her out for the rest of us to enjoy. We see pictures of them together as they post on social media in attempts to promote her further, and the tenacity with which this is done is hard to miss. She is signed onto Wisdom Entertainment, that’s the cherry on top. The way these 3 teams come together is enviable. Linkeng has won the Entertainment Category at the Finite Women Appreciation Awards for two consecutive years and this year alone has been nominated in the Ultimate Music Awards in 3 different categories (Best Music Video, Best Female Artist and Best International breakthrough artist)
The Mahobong, Leribe born singer came to the mainstream by borrowing her strong vocals to house and dance tunes like Found (Sicknature, which went on to be remixed by SirSchaba), Your star and Yonkinto (Zagro Deejays), also sailing (The Cosmix). Now Linkeng fuses emotion, passion and culture into her music and this is made evident by the kind of songs you find on NG’OANA MOSOTHO. My all-time favorite “4:30” depicts a story of the strongest form of love. She sings her lungs out in telling the listener how glad she is to wake up at that hour of the morning to find her partner next to her, and how grateful she is. It is also the first neo-soul song she ever recorded, and it acted as a pace setter for her to transition from house to what she is doing right now. There is also ‘’Ka itholla’’ which beautifully paints the strength of an African man and her joy in having found such a man for herself. She sings with so much poise and ability it looks and sounds effortless. She goes to rock King Letsie III in a song called “Khoronkhotjo”, borrowing from the Basotho culture and paying her respects to the nation that helped make her who she is today, through honoring the man they hold so dearly in their hearts. However there are songs that kind of take her away from that soft, soulfully rooted songstress and thrust her into the bubble of a fast paced, smoke-filled surrounding. Take for instance “Mina Nawe”, alongside fellow Wisdom Entertainment artiste Megga…
“Since I started doing house and hip hop vocals, the tempo/pace of the beat has never been a problem for me hence I’m comfortable in transitioning and switching from genre to genre.”
Mina Nawe takes us through unison between two totally different cultural backgrounds; and still about love, it goes on and throws intimacy, preferences and breaking cultural boundaries together to form an unforgettable hit. True to its natural point, the song comes from Linkeng (Lesotho) and Megga (Kwazulu Natal).
The affectionately termed vocal goddess speaks to us about her ability to transition so well, her inspirations, the connections, family, and the team that held her hand when she was unknown and would go to war for her.
On Family and going away to record and shoot and not always being able to bring them with….
It gets really stressful being away from them for too long but knowing what I’m in this music business for, and maintaining constant communication with them helps keep me going. Also knowing that I’ve got my family’s utmost support is even more reason to keep going.
I’m mostly inspired by the love I continue to receive from supporters, knowing that there is a possibility that the message in my music could change someone’s live out there. Also the goals I have as a musician to put talent from Lesotho, in Sesotho, on the map and performing on international stages.
And making connections…..
It’s important that the world and international stages get to experience the talent that Lesotho has, so the cross border connections really come in handy towards further promoting Sesotho music.
Linkeng’s debut album Ng’oana Mosotho is available in music stores nationwide and on iTunes, and word on the street is that there is a big launch coming our way soonest…
Photo credits: Facebook.