Ntaba And The Stone
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Ntaba Vellem’s face cracks into a wide, gap-toothed smile. Life has recently been the stuff of dreams for this blind musician from the townships of Cape Town, South Africa.
Six months ago he was playing at Greenmarket Square, the vibrant central market in Cape Town. Today he and his band The Stone have produced their first album, appropriately called Too Long Travelling.
It has been a long, hard road for this talented singer, songwriter and musician who left his hometown of East London for Cape Town at the age of 17.
And it was only his strong Christian faith that kept him going when he suddenly lost his sight in 1990.
“ I want to give hope to people through my music,” he says, softly fingering his acoustic guitar that he has been playing for over twenty years.
His talent was spotted by Kelly Schlesinger of the Drum Café when she heard him playing at Greenmarket Square. She thought Ntaba and his band The Stone deserved a chance to make an album and persuaded Al Paton of Afrodrumming to work on the project.
Six months down the line, the result is an exciting 9-track album of original songs from Ntaba, lead singer on acoustic guitar, Sidney Cita on electric guitar and back-up singers Sisana Vellem, who is Ntaba’s sister and Atwell Masupa.
Al Paton, who produced and recorded the album, describes their sound as a fusion of reggae with pop - feel-good dance music.
The whole project has been a funded by the generosity of several businesses and individuals, including the Drum Café, Al Paton of Afrodrumming, who recorded the album, Mike Dei-Cont of DC Designs who did the photography and design.
Now Ntaba and the Stone are hoping that their first album will be the start of something big for a talented group of disadvantaged musicians.
You can help by buying the album.