Mabaleka: Local band poised for the big time

Since 2010 local duo Mabaleka has brought their own style and enthusiasm to country-folk music with their unique sound, blend of authentic lyrics, and acoustic vibe. Now, Mabaleka is poised to introduce themselves to a greater audience beyond their local roots.

Brothers Malusi and Bukhosi Mabaleka, have grown up around music their whole lives and have each been playing since the age of five. They both started performing within their church and decided to write music and play live.

Influenced by artists like Ben Howard, Mumford and Sons, and Luke Bryan, Mabaleka has been garnering their own fresh, new sound in the music industry.

“Since beginning our musical journey we have been recognized by country superstars Jake Owen, as well as Kip Moore,” said Bukhosi Mabaleka.

After releasing two EP’s and a music video, and being acknowledged by the Juno Awards foundation, Mabaleka won the Short Film Award from the Ottawa International Film Festival for their most recent music video from their newest album entitled “Do you like like me?”

It was this award that prompted the OIFF to invite Mabaleka to participate in the 6th annual OIFF 72 Hour Challenge, a contest that pairs local musicians with up-and-coming filmmakers.

“We entered a song of our choice into the contest,” said Mabaleka. “They will randomly pick songs from contestant and give them to local film makers.”

The OIFF 72 Hour Challenge gives filmmakers a limited time frame and a specific set of requirements, like props, dialogue, pre-approved film location, and featured songs, to create their films.

Those films are then presented and judged at Lansdowne Park on Feb. 27 where Mabaleka will find out how they will place in the OIFF challenge.

In addition to the OIFF contest, Mabaleka is also participating in the Shake the Foundation Festival video contest.

“We will be making a video audition and entering it for fans to vote on,” said Mabaleka.

Fans voted on Feb. 20 through the Y101 country radio station in Ottawa, the winner will be announced on Feb. 28 where the winners will open for country stars Jordan Macintosh and Brea Lawrenson.

It’s a busy February for the duo but that doesn’t stop them from taking their show on the road.

To add to their success Mabaleka is planning a Canada wide tour this upcoming summer to play and expand their sound in all major cities across the country.

“Music has always been a part of our live and defined who we have grown into. It is almost impossible to not have a continuous tune going through our heads day to day. We can’t imagine living without a melody, ” said Mabaleka.