Singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Mthakathi (a.k.a Ema), conjures up music that is undeniably and unflinchingly Rock, but bespeaks a more prismatic World sensibility. It is music that draws from a lifelong immersion in South African culture; music that reflects a keen absorption of eclectic world elements; music that explores expression beyond borders; and music that rocks. An innovative song-smith, compelling lyricist, arresting guitarist and a spell-binding performer, Mthakathi - the "wizard," the "witch doctor," the "magic man," the "inyanga who mixes things that shouldn't be mixed"- is a rock artist of world citizenry, one who defies the confines of simple categorization and smudges the boundaries of culture, genre and time.
Equally at home "clicking" in a traditional Xhosa song in rural South Africa as he is unleashing a scorching Strat solo in a NYC club, Mthakathi began his rock / world fusion adventurism touring and recording with many notable African artists in both, Africa and the US. The development of his signature, cross-pollinating style - combining diverse cultural elements to create music that is mesmerizingly unique and magically universal - eventually earned him his endearing Zulu title by his South African "muso" family.
Recorded in the US and South Africa, Ownership boasts a host of veteran African and American musicians who have logged in touring and recording stints with artists ranging from rock legends Paul Simon, Sting and the Rolling Stones to South African luminaries Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Johnny Clegg.
The break-out single and video Jozi was deemed "a tribute to all things beautiful" by radio host Angela Ludik of Jo'burg's Radio 2000 and Donald Paul, editor of Cape Town's The Big Issue proclaimed, "The Wizardry, very apparent on this album, proves it's been a worthwhile journey."
The journey continues...
With the launch of his debut solo album Ownership (released under his a.k.a Ema), Mthakathi steered the rock / world fusion movement into the realm of Safro-Rock. Ownership is a fiery 12 song, multi-culti mashup of finely crafted rock, vibrant African infusions & magnetic story-telling. Mthakathi's thought-provoking lyrics and dynamic voice are girded on each track by striking ethno-sonic landscapes, packed with South African voices, dizzying percussion beds, searing guitar solos and soaring sax rides.