46664 ambassadors are musicians, artists and sportsmen and women who are committed to supporting 46664 and the mandate its takes forward to find new hands to lift the burdens.
“The future of Africa is in the hands of the women. If we fail to realise this we will fail to realise our future.” (Masauko Chipembere / Blk Sonshine)
Masauko Chipembere and Neo Muyanga are collectively Blk Sonshine one of the most exciting and talked about groups to emerge in South Africa. They blend melodic and sometimes percussive acoustic guitars with hip-hop, jazz and folk influences, as well as a huge helping of soul from their African motherland. The result is emotional music that owes no allegiance to any one culture but instead combines and then enlarges musical boundaries.
During concerts Blk Sonshine involve the crowd, sometimes inciting a call and response that echoes the tribal traditions of their families in Malawi and South Africa. Masauko is a dynamic and gifted performer, fierce and passionate one moment and surprisingly tender the next. Neo is a polar opposite in many ways, a gentle but strong on-stage personality with a wicked sense of humour.
For some songs Neo sings in his native Sotho tongue. Common to both songwriters is a finely developed sense of pop melody and African rhythm.
Masauko was born in the US of Malawian politically exiled parents and grew up there where he developed the potent and unique hip-hop influences that give Blk Sonshine their street edge. On a two-year sojourn to Central and Southern Africa he met up with Neo and a growing friendship developed into a musical partnership.
Their debut album Blk Sonshine was recorded at House of Blues, Encino California during a US tour that saw them performing at the Tribute to Archbishop Tutu concert in LA alongside Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez and Hugh Masekela.
The group performed at the prestigious Womad festival in 2000, the only new SA group on the bill as well as blowing a hardcore R&B /hip-hop audience away on the Mary J Blige/Kcee & Jo Jo tour.
Blk Sonshine have played with world-renowned jazz guitarist Ronny Jordan who caught the band on breakfast radio and was so blown away that he invited them onstage to jam on his opening night. They have also opened for Peruvian diva Susanna Baca at the Arts Alive festival and wowed a hardcore audience at the hip-hop underground stars Dead Prez concert.
In late 2004 Neo and Masauko took a break from touring and recording as a duo to concentrate on solo projects. Neo released his debut album The Listening Post in 2005 while Masauko worked on writing new material. In March of that year they reconvened in George, South Africa, to perform on the prestigious Nelson Mandela 46664 concert bill alongside the likes of Queen, Annie Lennox, Will Smith and India.Arie.
Blk Sonshine were a logical fit with 46664. The band were known in Joburg for supporting women’s causes. They produced the first all-women’s poetry reading in honour of Women’s Day in Joburg.
The band are known in South Africa for creating music that supports the lives of Africans.