“I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am.”- John Mbiti, African philosopher
Ksolo is an Afro-jazz singer based in Lusaka. He up on Zambia’s the Copper-belt. He attended local schools until he’s move to the capital – Lusaka to pursue his music. He then moved to Lusaka where he did his secondary education at Olympia park high school. He later went to study English, Library and Information Science at EvelynHone College. His music career started when he was a child at age 9. He could sing in a main church choir as only a minor. He sang in a quartet, an acapella, and formed and led praise teams both on the Copper-belt and Lusaka. He went solo in 2009. Released his first album in 2010 but never promoted it. Mainly because he was busy with his studies. He decided to go back to the grinding stone and started working on Umucele in 2014.
I had an interesting Chat with Kasolo, dive in and find out what he’s made from……….
Who has been instrumental in Kasolo’s music career, and which musicians have helped and inspired you?
I grew up listening to Rumba and Folk(Kalindula), the likes of Franco, Pepe Kale, Tabule, Kanda Bongo man, Koffi Olomide, Awilo to mention a few. Locally I was fascinated by PK Chishala, Labani Kalunga, Serenje Kalindula Band, Chris Chali, Amayenge, Masau Band and so forth. As the years unfolded, I started getting inspired by Fortune Nyondo, BJ Ngosa, and other singers.
James Sakala and Mumba Yachi have been playing a very important role in my music and career. They counsel me wisely. They are down to earth individuals. Also Very talented and humble friends in the Folk and Afro-jazz circles.
I allowed myself to be more and tried to discover how I can be identified as a born and bred Zambian. I eventually understood Zambia has a rich, soothing and authentic genres, that I can embrace and sing proudly and wholeheartedly. I love Zambia and everything in it, starting from the food, music and culture. It is just very sad our culture has been diluted. Dozens of people in Zambia have lost the sense of being Zambian. That gives me drive to write more about our culture through music.
Tell us about your new Album Umucele?
The album Umucele is culturally driven. Africans, Zambians are communal in nature but we have lost our former lifestyle. Extended type of family is weakening everyday. There is too much cultural erosion in Zambia. Umucle(salt) is an emblem which signifies a lot of things such as unity,fidelity,purity,love,permanence,culture and so forth. Salt has more than 14000 uses. It’s medicine, a preservative, a flavour, a disinfectant etc. My music is likened to the uses of salt.
The album brings sanity in the music industry, it preserves culture, it brings help in marriages and seasons peoples lives. Umucele album contains 13 songs.
Whats the one thing we can do to improve authentic Zambian Music?
Not only one thing but there are a number of factors attached to improving it. First, we need to appreciate all the genres we have in Zambia. Second, we need to embrace our culture, our culture is our ID. You cannot remain original if you cant love and accept yourself. Third, we should strive to record with live instruments and ensure that they sound African…..Zambian to be precise. We need to use more percussion in our songs.
My mission is to uplift and preserve authentic Zambian sound and culture for prosterity/ I believe so much in Ubuntu(Humanity) i.e corporation,unity,justice,freedom,culture and other important African philosophies.
If you could perform with any artist dead or alive, who would it be?
Internationally Salif Keita or Richard Bona. Locally Moses Sakala or Maureen Lilanda.
What can we expect from Kasolo in the next 3-5 years?
I want to own a live band, tour the nation, tour other countries, and touch many peoples lives with my forensic music.
Any advice for our young and upcoming artists?
Young artists should not be tossing to and fro. They should discover what they can do best, if not, they will regret it for the rest of their lives. The other thing is that upcoming artists must have a teachable attitude. They should not think they know it all.
Kasolo’s album will be available for purchase next month.