Diasporian News of Thursday, 21 March 2013
Source: Mmegi Online
Local nifty music group from Botswana, Wizards, have succumbed to the Azonto fever that has gripped Diaspora communities and now intend to spread the style across the nation.
Over the last two years, the much-loved dance craze has dominated Ghanaian dance floors and further made waves across West Africa and beyond. Azonto went viral in 2011 and became the West African country's first pop culture phenomenon to have gained global appeal.The basic movements of the dance move originated in a community along the coast of Ghana's capital, Accra.
Wizards have since bought into the fad and titled their new album to be released in exactly a fortnight after the dance. Wizards co-founding member, Lloyd Mwape, said their new album was already done and will be in the market in exactly two weeks. He revealed the highlight of the new offing would be the famous dance style.
"We have adopted the style and added some local flair to suit the local dance floor. It will change the dancing culture in Botswana for the next couple of years," Mwape told Showbiz. Although the eight-track album is titled Azonto, the first single is Musique Du Afrique, which means African music.
In December, the two-member group, Wizards, released a single Azonto and launched the dance. Mwape believes the heartening reception is a sign the dance will take Botswana by storm. "The reception of Azonto was perfect, people loved it. So the album will be called Azonto even though the first single will be Musique Du Afrique. We have become a household name among music lovers in the country and we are aware of the expectations of music lovers, so this is big enough for Africa. I think other artists must follow in terms of quality and staying current," he said.
He revealed they learnt the dance when they performed in Accra."We were impressed with the hype and felt southern Africa would needed to adopt the dance. We are on a mission to spread the dance to other parts of the region."
The group is set to shoot a video for Musique Du Afrique this weekend.Wizards have proven versatile over the years after starting off as a Hip-hop group. Mwape said reinvention is fundamental and of profound importance if one wants to last in the industry. "People enjoy something for a certain period. R Kelly is quite a good example of that - he has stood the test of time. He has done it all, whatever is current he is a part of it."
Mwape said they would no longer use guitars in their music after realising their fans are tired of the musical instrument."We love guitars because deep down in any African person the guitar makes sense, but we spent nine years doing the guitar and people grew tired. It became monotonous. They told us it was enough and they needed something new," said Mwape.
The group was formed 16 years ago by a Hip-hop quartet, and had three albums under the genre. Their maiden album was Sangoma and then they released Kalahari's Most Wanted, which won two awards. The third was called The Khoisan Aristocracy.Thereafter they switched to House-kwasa with a trial album Koko. Their next offing was Phokoje - to date, the highest selling Wizards album. It reportedly sold 28, 000 copies.
In 2006 they released Kilimanjaro, which was followed by Voo and Bo Thokoloshi. Africa and the most recent Mokento were their last two albums.The well-travelled outfit has performed in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Singapore, Namibia, Ghana and Nigeria.
Mwape attributes the prolonged existence of the group to 'staying fresh' and mutual desire to succeed between him and his partner, Kealeboga 'KayLo' Leruele, as well as keeping their dancers motivated.Wizards are the only dance group to have a white dancer and are in the process of recruiting a Chinese performer.