Boitumelo Molekane – aliases Tumi, Tumi from the Volume – is an artist who has comfortably found that groove, that spot where everything just happens the way it should. Having recently released his second solo album, Whole Worlds, and signed with a major, Sony Music, for the first time in his musical career, he is at the start of a new chapter in an already rising career.
Tumi has systematically built that career, through his company, Motif Records, over the years and has established a strong following beyond South Africa, particularly in Europe. The music he creates is insightful, intelligent and wonderfully creative but, to truly appreciate the artist that is Tumi, you have to see him live. As one part of the 4-man group, Tumi and the Volume, he has come into himself as a performer, and he has carried this into his solo work.
I went out to check him last week at the monthly Analogue Nights at The Rock in Moyo, Melrose Arch perform music from Whole Worlds and, in maintaining the focus on artistry that he embodies, he has put together a new band for his solo work.
Whole Worlds is look into the different Worlds (people) and how they interact. To Tumi, each of us – and our lives – is a world and Whole Worlds is a snapshot of our lives.
A quick side-note: the listening session for the album was held in the Johannesburg Planetarium where we experienced the music beneath the stars. Awesome.
The band he has assembled is truly reflective of his dedication to his art. They rotated between instruments, switching at whim, yet each playing each instrument wonderfully. Each is an accomplished musician: Richard (on keyboard above) is part of rock bands Isochronous and Kid of Doom; Alex (in the hat) is keyboardist for Isochronous; and Peach (on lead guitar but was also on the drums) has a one-man band, Yesterday’s Pupil, and is a producer who is able to produce for rock and hip hop. The small stage could barely contain Tumi as he stalked the front delivering his special brand of truth and wisdom. Tumi kicked off his performance with a dedication to Michael Jackson with a song he wrote as a reaction to the death of the King of Pop.
This was followed by the title song Whole Worlds after which he invited the inimitable MXO to perform the track he featured on, Family Plan. He also performed Riot, which is a fiery and powerful song that had the audience in full voice, as we jostled for room in the small, yet intimate, space.
Tumi grapples with the fact that he does not fit into the traditional SA music mould and, as he says, his little cousins feel a DJ Sbu or Brickz more than him musically. This was one of the reasons why he collaborated with Brickz on the first single Bambezela. Brickz made a surprise appearance and performed Bambezela with Tumi to the delight of the majority of the audience.
I wanted to hear the hidden track ‘Usain Bolt’ (don’t know if that’s the name, that’s what I call it) which features Zubz and is my theme song for 2010. In the track, they both lay their souls and thoughts bare. There are some who feel it is a diss track, but it isn’t…. just honest and truthful.
While a short performance, it was totally worth the night out and DJ Kenzhero took us into the wee hours of the morning with a classic set that took us into hip hop history.
Note that Tumi is on a mini-Whole Worlds promotion tour over the next couple of weeks including:
- 5 February – Mahala’s Big Gig – Jubilee Hall – UKZN – Durban
- 6 February – Live In-Store Promotion – Munks Store – 7th Ave, Melville
- 7 February – Evoloxion Sundays – Aldo’s Lounge – Naledi Mall – Voslorus
- 13 February – Live In – Store Promo Ritual Stores – After Party – OST (111 Bree Street cnr Henry Xhumalo St – Newtown
*note: additional clip of Tumi performing song Whole Worlds on my youtube channel*