Mandela inspires Elba to create album
After playing former president Nelson Mandela in the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, British actor Idris Elba was so inspired that he created an album based on the statesman.
Elba said the idea for the music compilation, called Idris Elba presents mi Mandela, came out of his research for the role.
“South Africa has numerous different tribes and each one has a musical expression, and each one has a very unique, different sound style,” he says.
Elba was inspired by various pieces of traditional music from South Africa.
He collaborated with several South Africans for the album, including renowned producer Spoek Mathambo; South Africa’s Queen of Ndebele music, Peki Emelia “Nothembi” Mkhwebane; and vocal group Mahotella Queens.
Mkhwebane’s music has taken her to the US, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Australia and France. In 1988, she performed in New York and London.
Also on the album will be international acts including British folk act Mumford & Sons, electronic music producer James Blake, British singer Mr Hudson and American R&B musician Cody ChesnuTT.
“At the time, I had my studio at the apartment I was staying in while I was making Mandela – a little keyboard, a laptop – and as an experiment to myself, I vowed to keep making music,” says Elba.
While the dashing celebrity is better known for his acting, appearing most recently in Pacific Rim and Luther, he has been making music for a while under his DJ name Driis.
Elba has three EPs under his belt and has been in several one-off rap and DJ gigs. He has even contributed to records by Jay-Z and Pharoahe Monch.