Undivided Roots: Keeping their father’s legacy alive
I was introduced to the sounds of undivided roots at the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival that took place in June at Constitutional Hill. I caught up with them to find out more about them
Q:How was Undivided Roots formed?
A: Well it started as a one man band by our late father Roots Ntsangu Cele. He was a street musician in Pietermaritzburg, some hated him some loved him, he started playing with other different groups with some guys from his area and he found that there wasn’t any seriousness, they didn’t appreciate anything he had to offer, so he formed his first three piece band with two of his older children Wadada his son who was 11 years old and Greenfields his daughter who was 9 years old at the time. He did Savuka festival in Swaziland in 1997 for the first time then toured around S.A working with Credit Indemnity which was a good experience. We’ve been playing since 2007 as new family members joined in Undivided Roots.
Q: How did you decide on the name?
A: Our father Roots came up with the name taken from his roots and all the trouble his been through with his children, he knew nobody can separate him with his children as he is a one big tree with roots that can never be separated.
Q: Have you performed outside South Africa before?
A: As a six piece band no we haven’t we still playing around SA and hoping that soon its gonna happen that we tour around the world.
Q: What do u think of African musicians and African music in General?
A: African music is good! But we think African musicians can do more, like young artist could give more positive message out there, cause life should always be inspiring.
Q: Would you ever collaborate with African artist?
A: Yeah, sure we can, I mean there’s a lot of inspiration in S.A music out there especially in reggae.
Q: Which musicians would you love to collaborate with?
A: There’s quite a lot, like Denver Jacobs,with Rock stone band from Capetown and Thandiswa Mazwai, Slave, Zahara, Prime Circle, and The Meditators from Durban.
Q: Music is universal. Do you think that is true?
A: Yes that’s true, we know its true cause that’s what music supposed to be, music is love and it covers all corners of the earth.
Q: Are you signed to a record label?
A: No not really but we try to work with a lot of people, like Mr Gavin Paul-Jolliffe. Who’s been very great to us and he understands us, he is a great manager and promoter, mostly we do street music we call busking like our father was a street busker in PMB.
Q: Who are the band members (Stage names and Real names) ?
A: We don’t have stage names but there’s our own names we named ourselves, our real names are: Wadada 30 years old rhythm guitar and vocals: Revival 23 years old bass guitar and vocals: Heaven 20 years drums percussion and vocals: Spear 18 years old keyboards guitar and vocals: Rainbow 15 years old guitar and vocals: Judgement 12 years old lead guitar and vocals.
Q: What is a normal day like to all of you?
A: On a normal day it’s practice during lunch time and than more practice and watching live music performance’s and programmes .We try to make everyday a positive day.
Q: Does everyone in the group do music full time or is there anything else that you do?
A: Yes everyone does full time music but each individual has their own thing, like Spear is a dancer and rapper, Wadada does music production in the roots development. Revival does fashion designing and is a stylist, Rainbow does beaded art craft and Heaven is a bag designer.