The Bala Brothers are part of the good South African story.
They have made it against great odds. Boy, can they sing! Wow!
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The Bala Brothers are a true representation of the values that our Founder, Nelson R. Mandela, stood for. They are men of integrity who have always been willing to selflessly serve the causes of our charity over the years, and are great ambassadors for their country, South Africa. We have always been proud to be associated with this immensely talented family
– Kathi Scott, Executive Director, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK
The Bala Brothers – Loyiso, Zwai and Phelo – are a household name in South Africa, thrilling audiences with their fusion of operatically-trained voices, rich harmonies, R&B energy and traditional South African melodies and rhythms. Emblematic of the transformations wrought by Nelson Mandela, they rose out of poverty on the strength of their musical talents, and broke the color barrier of the famous Drakensberg Boys' Choir during the depths of apartheid. For their self-titled debut album on Warner Classics, they perform an inspiring live program of music ranging from The Lion King to Paul Simon, with special guests The Drakensberg Boys Choir, in their hometown Johannesburg’s beautiful Lyric Theatre.
Bala Brothers will be released on CD and for download on March 3, 2015, and the DVD and Blu-Ray will follow on March 24. The program will be part of a national PBS pledge special beginning on February 28.
Songs on the album include the anthemic ‘Circle of Life’ from Elton John’s score for The Lion King, the Paul Simon hit ‘Under African Skies,’ from his seminal album Graceland, their own Xhosa-language love song ‘Masebuyelene,’ and the album’s centerpiece: the anti-apartheid anthem ‘(Something Inside) So Strong,’ a performance made all the more powerful by the presence of Winnie Mandela in the audience.
The Bala Brothers were born in the Kwa-Nobuhle township under the rule of apartheid. In 1988, eldest brother Zwai became the first black member to join the then-segregated Drakensberg Boys’ Choir at the age of 12. Overcoming the resistance of many of the white children and their parents, he persevered, and later on the choir also welcomed his brothers, Loyiso and Phelo. Ultimately the three gained acceptance through their strength of character and singing talents, and their careers grew from there to the point where the Bala Brothers thrilled an audience of 55,000 when they headlined a spectacular concert tribute to Nelson Mandela in December 2013.
The Bala Brothers will tour the U.S. in May 2015.