It’s a bit exhausting to read the antics of the wonderfully talented Tu Nokwe, recipient of a 2016 eThekwini Living Legends award. Born into a family of musicians Tu has spent her life surrounded by music, and it seems has never stopped adding to frenetic creativity that surrounds her famous family. With a jazz musician for a father, and an opera singer for a mother, it would have been surprising if music hadn’t found its way into Tu’s life. But her artistic talents have extended beyond simply performing music, with her work crossing over into the world of theatre. Tu played the role of King Shaka’s wife in the 1980s mini-series, Shaka Zulu, and through the Amajika Youth Project, where Tu mentored children in music and drama, some of her students landed roles in the hugely successful Broadway production of Sarafina. Tu’s skills also extend to writing, both as a playwright and as the non-fiction author of My Voice, My Life, a biography detailing the life of her opera-singer mother. Another book authored by Tu, Journey of my Soul, looks at how people can add balance to their busy lives, something that Tu surely must be a master of by now!
But it’s to the world of music that Tu always returns. With three albums under her belt, her own record label, and a musical in the works that focuses on traditional African values and indigenous musical instruments (Tu first taught herself the guitar by stringing some wire between a set of two chairs), music has to be her first love! And it shows in the masterful sound that Tu produces in her music – South African spiritual new-age pop, blended with influences of jazz and funk – a mix of everything that’s made Tu Nokwe the incredible talent that she is today!
Image courtesy of www.concertssa.co.za