Silapha

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Jim Morel discovered and nurtured these five enthusiastic young South African music artists from the townships of Knysna where they were living in shacks on the fringes of an informal settlement. They were fusing opera with traditional vocal styles and instruments to great effect. Jim introduced them to Howard Butcher who was already working with a township group called Spice Ghetto Life.

During September 2006 the SA music artists put together some demo recordings. They were heard by a young UK volunteer worker, Sarah Cowen. When Sarah returned to the UK she arranged a tour with funding from the British Lottery’s ‘Opportunities For All’ program and, along with generous help from the Pezula Group and Warwick Butcher’s Clearing Support Services in Cape Town, on the 31st December 2006 Silapha – Joint Effort jetted out to the UK amidst the festivities of the new year with their debut album in hand. Some of them had never traveled further than from Knysna to the Rheenedal studio, a ride of little more than fifteen minutes. The unlikely combination of their classical and traditional styles works well, particularly within the context of their barber-shop vocal delivery.

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