Lungiswa Plaatjies or Lulu as her friends call her,
was born in 1973 in Cape Town, Langa Location where her grandfather was
the traditional healer. It was he who encouraged her to develop her
talents, teaching her to sing and dance. Music was an integral part of
her childhood and family life. At the tender age of seven she joined
her uncle Dizu's famous group Amampondo, giving her invaluable musical
inspiration and experience. With them she recorded their first album at
the age of ten called 'Uyandibza' which soon became a
big seller all over the world. Whilst she was attending school she
became a member of both the school and the church choir, which she
attended with her grandfather while the group was on tour.
After a long
break with the group, she happened to be in Johannesburg where she
became interested in the traditional songs of different tribes, mixing
Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho. "This was quite fun for me because I grew up
listening to African music. My favourite artists are Letta Mbuli, Miriam Makeba, Salif Keita and Fela Kuti."Then Lungiswa took a music course, firstly in Johannesburg for two
years, then in Cape Town, in the same school that Simpiwe Matole and
her uncle Dizu Plaatjies were attending. It was here that she began to
mix with people from different races during the apartheid regime.
Lungiswa later returned to Johannesburg and teamed up with two ladies
to sing her own material. Then "a blessing came through". She met up
with some of the best musicians in South Africa at the 'We Have to Mix'
concert at the Baxter Theatre in 1993. It was there that she met with
Robert Trunz. Entranced by her voice, he offered her an album deal on
the spot. "Thanks to him for being so open-minded, encouraging, and
believing in me. God bless him for making this dream come true." It was
through his encouragement and vision that she was able to collaborate
with the luminous artists from as far apart as Switzerland, France and
of course South Africa on the M.E.L.T.2000 label. This connection also
led to her meeting the producer of her album Tony Thorpe,
whilst singing at the baptism of Robert's son Nico. Her message to him
is simply, "Thankyou my brother, I hope we can do it for the second
time!" Lunigswa has been a part of many M.E.L.T.2000 projects and is an
invaluable artist. With Amampondo she has recorded many superb tracks-
including those on the award winning album 'Drums For Tomorrow' and
"Vuyani". She has also recorded traditional vocals for projects such as
Madosini, tracks for the maskanda band Skeleton and added her
exceptional voice to the Swiss guitarist Max Lasser¹s album 'Between'.
Lungiswa joined the 'Between' tour. Lungiswa became an important
contributor to the Madamax album - the unique collaboration between Max
and the intensely spiritual South African musician Madala Kunene.
Lungiswa Plaatjies is the first ever South African artist to attract
the attention of producers Tony Thorpe, Language label owner and
correspondingly her album reflects her outstanding voice. On her debut
albumproduced by Tony, she says "Thanks to everyone who was involved in
this project. Thanks to Amampondo because, without you
guys, I really don't know ... The album 'Ekhaya'(BW2016) is simply
sensational and eclectic. It includes the original and wonderful
reworks of the South African National Anthem and a version of Marvin
Gaye's 'Inner City Blues' with her own lyrics in the Xhosa tongue.
Since her debut album for MELT she has recorded a further two albums produced and released by Don Laka. Lungiswa gathered in Switzerland with Max Laesser, Madala Kunene and Bernard Sibusiso Mndaweni for the recording of the second album by Madamax called Bafo released in October 2005.