Soweto Marimba Youth League (SMYLe) Project

Soweto Marimba Youth League (SMYLe) Project

This past Sunday my wife and I decided to go to the Roesbank rooftop market, something we had not done for a long while.
We spend most of the morning looking around the market and even finding some new art for our house…we got to meet the artist as well which is always a “deal maker” for us…but I digress…
I thought we were leaving but my wife decide that we needed to “refuel”  before going home.
We chose one of the venues that looks onto the old carpark between the Mall and the Firs.

And what a surprise awaited us!
Playing in front of our chosen coffee shop was the Soweto Marimba Youth League Project…and how joyous they were.
A blend of Marimba, jembe drums, steel drums and a brass section…and MUCH better than the Salvation Army bands that tend to make our eardrums bleed at this time of the year!

The project was started as a musical outreach project that helps the under-privileged children in Dobsonville,Soweto. Using music they seek to better themselves and the community they live in by promoting certain core values that include Education first, avoid drugs and alcohol and respect for others.
I got to chat with the founding trustee…a very proud Michael H. Rea and he was only too keen to tell me about the group and what they are trying to achieve. (

The group is comprised of both young boys and girls of varying ages, but all very talented and passionate about their performance and abilities.
It is extremely difficult NOT to tap your feet while listening to a SMYLe version of Mama Mia! Who would have thought that Abba could actually sound better on steel drums!
If the audience that gathered was anything to go by, this young group made a LOT of new converts…
As it is the festive season, no performance would be complete without the ubiquitous Christmas carols, but these were interspersed with some South African classics like “Special Star” (Mango groove) and the “Click song”.And even a Boney M song or two!(Luckily not a version of “Little Drummer Boy”)
Although most of the songs were instrumental versions, their CD, “Rhythm under African skies”, that was on sale featured the voices of the Orlando Children’s Home choir.At only R100.00 it will make a great gift for any occasion.

Next time you are in Rosebank on a weekend, look out for this very talented group.
Your year will not be complete until you hear their version of “Amazing Grace”
My wife and I spent about an hour enthralled by their passion and lively music and it got so quiet when they eventually took a break that we used that opportunity to leave.
In fact as I type this, I am listening to the album…and you have NO idea how difficult it is to type and NOT try to keep up with the infectious rhythms.
I do hope that they find the sponsorships that they are working towards in 2011.

To Michael and his group, big “THANK YOU” for a wonderful and entertaining morning!