SA trio The Soil is hunting for a new female singer

If you're an up-and-coming female vocalist in South Africa, here's a chance to get that big break! Popular acapella group The Soil is looking for a short-term replacement for Buhlebendalo Mda.

The Soil is looking for a temporary replacement for Buhle Mda (centre). Photo:
The Soil is looking for a temporary replacement for Buhle Mda (centre). Photo:

Buhle is taking a break to respond to an ancestral calling. The calling from the ancestors (amadlozi) typically results in one undergoing training to become a traditional healer (sangoma). Buhle is by no means the first South African musician to do get the calling. Other popular artists who have done so over the years include Blondie Makhene and his daughter Letoya Makhene, Benjamin Ball, Condry Ziqubu and the late great Miriam Makeba, whose mother was a sangoma.

The Soil's unique ‘kasi soul’ acapella style has earned them a loyal following across the globe, including performances in 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and the prestigious Apollo Theater in New York. Following the release of the hit album Nostalgic Moments on the Native Rhythms label in 2014, the group toured England, Russia (including winning the White Nights of St. Petersburg International Music Competition) and China. In July 2015 the band’s hard work paid off with an exclusive UK distribution deal for the album with Proper Music Distribution, as well as support from leading booking agencies, Serious, who helped get them to perform at the Womad festival in the UK in July.

Now with Buhle taking a break from the limelight, the multi-award winning acapella group has launched an online talent search for a new female vocalist to replace Buhle while she undergoes her training. To audition, simply post a video of yourself singing your favourite song by The Soil, with the hashtag #ExperienceTheSoil, on the group’s Facebook page.

The band made the surprise announcement via their Facebook page on 20 February. Buhle explained in a video: “As Africans at times we have to answer to greater beings than ourselves. Hence I will be taking time out to concentrate on my ancestral calling. So from March 2016 I will be absent from all performances with The Soil.”

Ntsika Fana Ngxanga (aka Da FanArtistc) added: “Myself and Master P (aka Ntsika Fana Ngxanga), we don’t want to do this on our own, so we are looking for that feminine, amazing voice. We’ll be on the lookout for that lady that will become part of us and experience what The Soil is like.”

According to the band, these are the rules for applications:

  • All videos submitted need to between 30 and 60 seconds long. Videos shorter or longer than the stipulated time will be disqualified
  • All participants need to sing a song from The Soil, particularly Buhle's verse. Should these rules be neglected, the judges have the right to disqualify you. Should participants sing a song by The Soil but not Buhle's verse, the judges can consider the entry at their discretion. 
  • All videos must be loaded up on The Soil’s Facebook page. No other forms of entry will be considered. 
  • Entrants must use the hashtag #ExperienceTheSoil when uploading your video
  • Participants need to be between 18 and 35 years of age.
  • All participants need to be South African with a valid South African ID and passport.
  • The closing date for all video uploads is Friday 5 February 2016.
  • The top 10 participants will be contacted through their Facebook profiles to get further contact details by 6 February 2016. 
  • Finalists should be able to travel to Johannesburg for live auditions with the band between 8 and 11 February 2016.
  • The chosen participant must be able available to travel locally and internationally from March 2016


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