Meet the singer/Conveyor of song/entrepreneur:

Having ditched a career in medicine to follow my musical inclination as a singer/conveyor of song, it is with great pride and joy that I present my debut offering, “Luanga Who?”

When music calls...

The road towards fulfilling her musical dream has been a long and winding one for Luanga Choba, who showed early musical promise but opted to make a detour into medicine – the so-called “back-up plan” that many aspiring artists are urged to have – before finally acknowledging where her heart lay.

Kimberley born and bred but now Rustenburg based, Luanga always maintained a passion for music and the art of expression through song. Her first venture into music was when she was voted runner-up for her song writing in the hugely popular Shell Road to Fame talent show in the early 1990s.

Luanga’s musical aspirations were put on hold while she studied and graduated with a medical degree from the University of Cape Town in 1999. On completion of her trainee years and after completing a Diploma in Anaesthesia, she moved to the UK to practise Medicine  for a few years, but the soul of her beloved South Africa and her burning desire to write songs and sing from the heart maintained a hold on Luanga. It was for this reason that late in 2012, Luanga finally stepped away from her profession to redirect her focus exclusively to completing her album and performing full time. “Medicine is a rewarding privilege to practise, but it was never my first love,” explains Luanga. “It was always music that flowed through me most naturally.”

Fast forward to 2013, This go-getting singing doctor launched her debut album “Luanga Who?” in June 2013 followed by the premiere of the video to her first  single “Leave Me” on September the 14th at the Bassline  in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Luanga Choba, born Sibongile Mhlongo, penned all 14 tracks on the album - predominantly in her mother tongue, Setswana- and released it under her own label, Xhimvani Records and Publishing. She says she coined the term “gonzo soul” for her world-music inflected sound after failing to find a “box” for her particular genre. While it is hard to box it, it is impossible to miss the Afro centric influence in Luanga’s sound“I think I speak for most composers when I say genre is a prison. It’s a stifling of creativity. So, after a good bit of research, the word ‘gonzo’ felt just right.”

Of course, the term originated as a description for the writing of maverick journalist Hunter S Thompson, who used subjective first-person narratives, emotions and experiences in his writing and shunned conventional objective reportage.

Drawing from her distant  Zambian ancestry, the songbird explains that “luanga choba” means “this charm it is yours” in Zambia’s Chikunda language. “Charm as in a traditional healer’s charm to bring you wellbeing or healing or ward off evil spirits,” she explains.

She hopes that combining her natural talent for music with her medical background will allow her o to explore the healing magic of music and touch the lives of many.

Luanga counts local legends like the late Anneline Malebo, Brenda Fassie and Busi Mhlongo as powerful sources of musical inspiration. While deeply connected to her roots as an African woman, Luanga’s music also reflects elements of earthy international artists like Tracy Chapman and India.Arie.

With her distinctive sound and songs reflective of her free spirit, energy and eclectic musical sensibility, Luanga Choba promises to be one of the freshest acts to hit South African entertainment landscape in 2013. “Music is like breathing to me and my purest reflection of self,” says Luanga. And SAFM’s Richard Nwamba is of the view that:
"Luanga Choba's music is fresh and daring in its originality. She is definitely not a follower!"

With a bag full of tough industry lessons and her skin a few inches thicker, nearly a year since her album release as an indie, Luanga forges ahead in promoting her music and building her brand while practising Medicine part time. “It’s not for the faint hearted but I’m precisely the type to want to be in the midst of things learning the industry ins and outs”, she asserts. She recently signed a Distribution Deal with Bigboy Records which should see her CD on the shelves shortly. Luanga Who? is also available online through iTunes and other online stores the world over. 


Luanga Choba: The healer’s charm

Record label: Xhimvani Records and Publishing