South Africa

The Soil’s new member, Theo Matshoba, fits in acapella group like glove

The Soil New Member

It generally takes time to adjust to a new environment, especially if replacing someone who was appreciated by many. But The Soil’s new member, Theo Matshoba, has hit the ground running fitting in the acapella group like a glove.

“We gave her a call and she was up for it. Vocally, aesthetically but most importantly with her energy level, she’s always been part of this family, she is in the truest sense, the gem. She’s essential to this legacy,” said one of the founding members of The Soil, Ntsika Ngxanga.

He was speaking on Wednesday evening at the Universal Music offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg, where The Soil invited media to a listening session of their upcoming album.

The session presented itself as an opportunity for the group to officially unveil Matshoba as Buhlebendalo Mda’s replacement in the award-winning group.

“Even in the eventuality of Buhle and her stellar solo career, as sad as it was, when she came through and told us she wanted to pursue her journey we had to respect that. But we remembered that The Soil has so much legacy and couldn’t just leave it like that,” said Ntsika.

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Part of a legacy

Back in 2011 Matshoba posted on social media that her favourite group, The Soil, had an element missing – she being that element.

Five years later when Buhlebendalo took a sabbatical from the acapella group, The Soil advertised for auditions and Matshoba applied and landed the job. She filled in so well during that time, that it was a no-brainer to call on her when Buhlebendalo wanted to permanently exit the group.

“The Soil stopped being a group and it stopped a long time ago,” said Ntsika. “We became an institution.”

Matshoba, who hails from Soweto, recently graduated from UJ with a BA in Psychology.

“Adjusting to this whole thing that’s happening now was not really hard because I’ve been a part of The Soil before,” said Matshoba who is also known as The Songstress.

“The brothers and I have a relationship, as far as music is concerned. But that I’m here now, the relationship has grown even bigger and even better because we’re literally like siblings. Even when we’re in studio and we are working, it’s much easier because of the relationship we have. We play around and tease each other.”

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New music

The Soil has not released an album since 2016 and during that time all the members were focused on their solo journeys.

In 2019 Ntsika released his debut album I Write What I Dream and he also collaborated with Vusi Nova. Buhlebendalo released her album, Chosi in 2020.

“I’ve been doing some stuff,” said Phindo Ngxanga who has not released any music of his own.

“I’m a fine artist and a photographer; I have a studio in Randburg. I’ve been taking pictures … on the side, I DJ also and I had to keep myself busy with other things, business-wise because of this Covid,” said the group’s main beatboxer. Phindo also wrote some songs on the upcoming album.

The Soil performed a cover version of Miriam Makeba’s Malaika, where Matshoba showed her vocal dexterity. The song is expected to be on the album.

One of the songs they played on the night was their upcoming single Thandwa Ndim, expected to be released next Friday.

“It’s a declaration of love. The process of creating this album, we then said to ourselves …‘we were away, show us what you learnt from your journey. So we all brought in songs into the space,” said Ntsika who wrote the song, describing it as a very “personal story”.

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