Mohapeloa singers honour their founder

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MASERU — Local choral group Mohapeloa Singers on Saturday celebrated their late founder’s great contribution to music at Manthabiseng Convention Centre.

Pulumo Mohapeloa, who died in 1982 at the age of 74, was a legendary composer whose music is still celebrated globally.

According to Mohapeloa Singers president, Thabo Mokhutsoane, the event was the second to be held to commemorate Mohapeloa’s contribution to the choral music industry.

“We decided to initiate an event that will conserve and publicise his great contribution to the choral music industry,” Mokhutsoane said.

“Ntate Joshua Pulumo Mohapeloa was one of few Africans who happened to win the hearts of many due to his infinite talent, and as Mohapeloa singers we want the legacy to live on forever and his music to be sang by generations to come.”

Mokhutsoane said they were planning to build up the event into an annual celebration in recognition of his splendid work.

Minister of Tourism, Environment  andCulture ‘Mannete Ramaili said the gala opened a challenge for her ministry to organise an event that appreciates and recognises great works by local talent.

“This event poses a challenge to the ministry of tourism to hold an event that will recognise the works and infinite talent of Basotho,” she said.

On behalf of colleagues of Mohapeloa, Mpeli Mpeli told the audience how the late musician helped him learn the techniques of music composition and singing.

“I cannot say he was my friend, rather he was a mentor. He travelled with me through the journey of music composition and when he was honoured with a doctorate by the National University of Lesotho, I composed a song for him titled Thoko ea Kheleke for the talent he had,” Mpeli said.

Sentho Mohapeloa, who spoke on behalf of the family, said what started off as an evening of fireside singing and story-telling at home became a sampling of Mohapeloa’s early infinite talent.

“We never understood him that much as he always made musical melody with whatever he had in his hands and with everything he heard, especially from nature,” Mohapeloa said.

The late composer’s first anthology was published in 1937 and hundreds of other songs were also published in pamphlets.

“He wrote so many songs in the domain of choral music,” Mohapeloa said.

Speakers also hailed the late Mohapeloa as a serious and talented individual who embraced nature and loved his country and culture.

Soon after the speeches, the tempo inched to a hyper level of music by three local choirs, Mohapeloa Singers, Maseru Vocal Waves and Baeti Voice Choir, with each singing three of Mohapeloa’s compositions.

Just like a choral concert, audiences bet their money on choirs to sing their favourite songs from local song composers.

The mood changed to a higher note when Tlohang Sekhamane took to the stage to conduct Mohapeloa Singers on a song he composed while a teacher at Matsieng.

“We started off last year alone; this year we invited two more local choirs and in future we will invite choirs from in and out of the country to celebrate the legendary’s life in the choral music industry,” Thabo Mokhutsoane of Mohapeloa Singers said.

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