Soulful Sani, Another Lady Singing the Blues
Sani GamedzeSani Gamedze is no hurry for that big recording contract most young musicians dream of. At 30, she feels she still has ten years , at the least, of learning to do. "I'm pretty green with the scene, and only just getting to know the inner circle".

Her reluctance may also be a result of hindsight. Her first recording deal with BMG, a single "Star" with different mixes (ragga, house, rhythm 'n blues) by the likes of Marvin Moses, did not work out well for her.

"I'm not sure what happened. The track recieved a lot of airplay, and was featured on stations like Metro and5, but there wasn't a single copy in the stores." Star was a song during her stay in Manchester, United Kingdom, where she went to pursue her career after winning a Shell Road to Fame Talent Search.

She is quick to point out that it was a "one off thing" and broke off ties with BMG, fortunately ending the relationship amicably, not needing to be reminded that she was working in a small industry afterall. But she may not readilly admitit, her ease of mind may have a lot to do with the fact that she has the luxury of considering recording deals with two local companies.

"One is an acid jazz thing and the other is a jazzy project, with a strong local flavour", she says, sitting in her small flat, the sounds of Johannesburgers rushing frantically home., doing what she enjoys doing best, writing songs.

"It took (musician) Hugh Masekela to tell me before I realised I was a songwriters," she recalls. Masekela's observation changed her direction, it was a point in her life where she was just getting to grips with herself becoming a singer."

This was not the dimunitive young girl I went to school with in Swaziland. That person who was somewhat shy, but would light up any room with a bright smile, ready made for an toothpaste advert. She is now a mature, confident young woman.

Knowing the Gamedze family where musically inclined, one should have suspected that the Bochabelo-born youngster would turn to music, but she went to a nondescript college where she immersed herself, studying nutrition.

For most, Johannesburg's Zoo Lake Arts Alive concert may be remembered for the controversy over the noise and disturbing the peace of those who live around the Zoo area. But on a personal note it was seeing Sanelisiwe perform. Through the pleasant din of the encroaching summer's noises and smells. Barely visible or audible, Sani did her thing, weaving across the stage to the acid jazz sounds.

Guitarist Kevin Drummond, who writes most of the music to Sani's lyrics and melodies, drummer Rueben Samuels and bassist Derricks Ferner are the nucleus of this band.

The other band she plays with, she describes as "souly, jazzy with a n ethnic flavour" , features pianist Andile Yenana, drummer Morabo Morojele and bassist Herbie Tsoeli.

She now adds Arts Alive, the Blue Note and State Theatre in Pretoria to a growing CV, in addition to the small functions and jingles that pay her rent while she writes more songs.