There’s an unassuming and yet radiant aura about singer songwriter, Ami Faku. The Port Elizabeth born crooner coos like someone with an untainted trust in the sacred strength of her song.
Her performance at the virtual National Arts Festival shores her up as an heir to a long tradition of storytelling singers. There must be something in the water of the South Eastern region of our country. A wellspring that enabled Faku to create Ebhayi, as a celebration. It’s apparent that this is where her song finds its sinew.
Whether delivering a lyric for the lovelorn, or humming a hallowed or even a harrowing hymn about the many tragedies that touch our lives from time to time, Faku is steady and never rattled. Her song never scatters, but flows, flowers and lands with a deliberate poise.
She performs with a capable band of instrumentalists who seem to share her musical values. These are guitar, KG Daniel Chuene, drummer Lungile Kunene, Simangaliso Nkosi on keyboard and Earl Baartman on bass.
There are moments when they take to the field to showcase their individual gifts. However, these are never at the expense of the ensemble’s sound and the centrality of the story being weaved by the lead singer. This is apparent on Ndikhethe wena (I chose you), a love song that is as light as it is warm. While Faku unfolds her benedictory lyric with a steady march, Chuene’s guitar flourishes like sparkling starlets’ woolly moosh of her singing.
This approach means it is possible to sit and be enthralled by Faku’s song ad infinitum. She builds a world of song into which audiences are invited, kept, cuddled and comforted. In there, the listener finds care from which one never wants to leave.
Watch Ami Faku’s performance here.