Musicians ahead of their time

- Patience Bambalele Onkgatlile Women of Africa,

IT IS rare to mention the word mature when defining the music of any budding young band.

However, with the youthful Usual Suspects, you experience the maturity first hand. The group caught my ear while performing on Wednesday for the audience at Metro Restaurant in Bryanston, Johannesbu­rg.

The group – Innocent Makhanya, Nhlanhla Maseko and Sebentile Zwane – showcased dynamic musicality.

The band played many cover versions and a few of their own compositio­ns. The trio has been performing together for a year.

Usual Suspects have proven their versatilit­y by fusing their music style with hip-hop, house, gospel and soul with some traditiona­l African sounds. Band leader Makhanya says they don’t want to limit themselves, they just play music.

He believes Usual Suspects is the embodiment of a revolution, and that they combine elements in a bold and idiosyncra­tic way.

“Individual­ly, we all love different genres, and when we formed the group we decided we’re just going to play everything. As a result, we don’t classify ourselves under any genre, we just call ourselves a band. Our style of music is unique and familiar at the same time.”

The group is currently signed to Thoho Records and has already released two singles,

and which are getting airplay on radio. Makhanya explains that each member brings their own unique talent.

He says he brings a more modern house flavour with hisrange and versatilit­y, while Zwane, the only beauty among the beasts, has beautiful and nuanced tones – and is their “secret weapon”.

“She has a very sensual and melodic style that balances the vocalist trio very well.

“Finally, Nhlanhla puts his own twist on the style.”

On August 27, the group performs at the Picnic Party at Dickinson Park in the Vaal.

Catch Usual Suspects at Metro Restaurant on Wednesday.

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