Johannesburg:- With his new self-titled album, “Unconventional Sol” introduces himself as an important new South African artist, with a debut that is fresh and creative while deeply imbued with a sense of tradition.
Unconventional Sol was born Solomon Shimbambu in Mamelodi, the township east of Pretoria that also nurtured another icon of South African music Vusi Mahlesela. His origins lie in the culturally rich Limpopo, and much of his childhood was spent in the well-hidden village of Giyani. His mother a storyteller and the songs she sang late night to her children were the beginning of Sol’s musical training. He taught himself to play the guitar, and began composing songs in the languages he heard in his family: Xitsonga, English, Isi-Zulu, Se-Sotho and Shona. The combination of his heritage and his contemporary influences positions him as a vital continuation of the legacy of much-loved artists such as the late Umanji and Ringo.
The record label that has released Unconventional Sol, Black Eagle Records, is committed to promoting South African music that is simultaneously authentic and relevant, particularly artists who sing in their own languages, not only preserving their cultures but using them to express their own visions of and modern life and contemporary music. The Managing Director of Black Eagle Records, Mr Mandla Maseko says: “I am passionate about the promotion of South African languages and profiling them in the mainstream. I have decided to sign artists in my stable that are admirable, sexy… and with the ability to compose songs in their home languages accompanied by modern sounds.”
On his album, Sol brings together the musical inspirations of his childhood with a crack team of Joburg city Afro-jazz pros, including the legendary guitarist Louis Mhlanga and ace percussionist Basi Mahlesela, who were also the sound engineers on the project.