Razzmatazz and all that jazz

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By Nqobile Shoba & Jessica Macneil

Razzmatazz is a new and upcoming band that is making its mark on the local music scene. The band is comprised of Mpumelelo “Teddy” Memani (keyboard), Kelli-Anne Scarlett (vocalist and acoustic guitar), Terro Tyota (bass), Thando “Majesty” Memani (drums) and Mpumelelo “Afroplayer” France (lead guitar). All of the band members hail from Grahamstown, with the exception of Scarlett, who comes from East London. “The band had been together for a long time before I came along, I liked their sound and so I offered to join them and since then we just started out by jamming in the back of a garage,” explained an excited Scarlett. Razzmatazz has become a well known favourite in local hangouts, such as Savannah in Xolani .The band has a colourful array of members who behind their quiet exteriors seem to collaborate well, on and off the stage. Watching the band live one can fully appreciate their musical dynamicTheir sound is unique and can be described as a fusion of traditional mbagqanga sounds, with a heavy reggae influence. “Our sound is more grungy and raw than pop,” said Scarlett. She emphasised that Africa as a whole has been a huge influence on the material and sound that the band produces. “The message in our music is very simple and spiritual, we really just want to uplift people,” stated Scarlett. They aim to inspire and to just play music, which according to them is their passion. Their next ambition is to tour Africa, since their music is so evidently influenced by the continent. “Maybe we‘ll even make it to Europe, who knows!” Scarlett exclaimed enthusiastically. Even though they are lacking a sponsor at the moment to fund this tour and record, their attitudes are thoroughly “majestic”. Razzmatazz played at the battle of the bands and wowed the crowd with their majestic tunes. If you weren’t able to catch them at the battle of the bands, you can be sure to spot them in their local domains such as Olde 65, Slipstream and Champs. The band also played at the HIV Aloud concert on Friday August 10, with the band having very strong views on HIV and Aids. “The awareness that the country is promoting is incredible, I think everyone should consider one partner for life,” said Scarlett.  The band has had help from several sources in order to stake their claim in the Grahamstown music scene. Scarlett mentioned that Claire Martens from the Live Music Society at Rhodes University has helped immensely with promotion and getting the band gigs. Razzmatazz is seizing their moment in the musical limelight and they’re going to remain there for some time to come.

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