Joyous Celebration singer Ayanda Shange launched his debut album in East London at the weekend.
The 15-track album, titled The Praise Altar, was launched at the City Life Church in Quigney on Saturday night.
Shange brought fellow Joyous Celebration members Phindile Phoky and Takesure Ncube along and the trio performed some of their most popular songs.
Other artists who attended, include Ndinguthandiwe hitmaker Thina Zungu, Takie Ndou, Zwelitsha-born and former Lord Comforters lead singer Veliswa Skeyi and East London’s Butho and Yolanda Vuthela.
Shange’s fans sang along to Sihamba Ngomoya and Uyisihlangu Sami when he took to the stage. Both songs are already receiving extensive airplay on national radio stations.
Although the venue was not as full as expected, Shange said the event had not been about a sold-out show, but rather about building his career as a solo artist.
“I feel blessed, I feel honoured. The album is still new and some people still do not know that I have my own album. I have done my own show … away from my comfort zone – Joyous Celebration,” he said.
“I am happy with the direction my music career is taking and I believe that the time has come for me to show the whole of South Africa my capabilities without being in the shadow of Joyous Celebration.”
Joyous Celebration has produced successful musicians, such as Ntokozo Mbambo, Mahalia Buchanan and Zaza Mokhethi, who have since left the group to focus on their solo careers.
“I thank them for everything they have done for me since I joined the group seven years ago, but unfortunately I will no longer continue with the choir. I have been with them for too long. People have seen my talent while I was there,” he said.
Shange also thanked his East London fans for their love and support. — firstname.lastname@example.org