Let’s talk Refentše Solo...the lady from Pretoria with the angelic voice, power and emotion in her words and the open, gentle & empowering energy who is not afraid to put her hand up and want into a collaborative project.
In April during our Blurring Lines exhibition Refentše reached out about what it is that we do, with a ‘ hey I'd live to be apart of what’s next!'. Refentše is a singer/songwriter/ music maker based in Cape Town who layers vocals over melodic tunes to create soulful, honest music.
What will continue to amaze me, humble me, fuel me to fight for the work/impact I want to create- is coming across artists/ humans/individuals that are not afraid to be untouchable, and who want to impact a community through collaborating in an allowing, diverse space. Exposure for an artist/artists of any kind is one thing; but exposure when someone, namely Refentše, has a sense of community and bringing people together at the base of her heart, and a big reason why she does, what she does...we value this entirely!
The hard thing about the arts is that many struggle to understand and quantify the importance of something they can't explain on a spreadsheet. In Spanish there is a term 'duende' which describes a state of heightened emotion when interacting with the arts - 'moved/passion fuelled/experiencing an outlet of heightened emotion- an almost out of body experience'. In a World where life is so demanding, we would question why we don't find time to find that 'state' more? For many of us- who are privileged enough to have social lives, social 'safe' spaces and feel you have the confidence to walk into a creative environment and be vulnerable; you may raise your eyebrows at that statement, because you do! The reality is that the majority of people don't have access to these environments for various reasons (political and social conditioning being a big one, never being exposed to self expression could be another) and the reality in that is both sad and exciting... because change is empowering and possible.
Amongst all the changes needed to provide equal opportunities for all in this magical & tragic World that we live in; the one thing that I can commend the youth of South Africa is that they aren’t afraid to cross boundaries in creating diverse new genres in supporting ‘non-scriptural’ lifestyles, societal injustices and inequalities and finding voice, enlightenment and encouragement in using creativity to challenge just that.
So our question is how can we celebrate our local talent in more inclusive environments?
Refentše has launched a new song called 'Ocean Deep' ( video below..you're welcome) & we can’t wait to work with this beautiful talent when Miss H Collective returns to Cape Town for future projects! (hint hint)
(M.H)You are a Cape Town based singer/songwriter/ music maker- how did you get into music?
Music has always been important in my life. Mama used to play her favourite tunes for me when she was pregnant with me and the love has stuck with me ever since.
As a child I was always involved in the drama and music productions at school. One day a teacher of mine pulled me aside at a production rehearsal and asked if she could teach me some things about vocal control, reading music and performance. It was then that I noticed that my ability to use my voice was a gift and I’ve been making music ever since.
(MH) How would you describe yourself as an artist in one sentence?
I would say “as an artist I am here to hold space for myself and my community”.
(MH) Miss H Collective was founded on the premise on making art ( of all forms) accessible to everyone in communities- How accessible do you think local art is in Cape Town?
I have been living in Cape Town for 6 years and making music here for about 2 years. In the short time that I have experienced the scene I’ve noticed that there are many platforms that are inaccessible largely because of affordability and reach.
However, there are spaces like “Free Film School” that make it their mission to take art into communities and to have exchanges with people from varying backgrounds. Blackroots Marimbas have been doing great work over the years not only sharing their work all over Cape Town but creating space for young people to learn how to play and express themselves creatively in the kasi’s that they come from. This is important work and I admire them so much.
(MH) WHAT IS ART to you?
Art is free and creative expression. It allows for us to say the things that burn us inside and release them. Art is healing. Art is sharing. Art is the archive that we all need. Art is love.
(MH)What influences your work?
Everything influences my work. The things I experience, see, hear, the conversations I have with people are big contributors. Survival influences my work. I am interested in what it means for us to be ourselves and to be kinder to the parts of ourselves that we’ve been taught to hate. We have a responsibility to learn from one another and to share that knowledge.
(MH) Future projects we can expect from you?
Some visuals for “Ocean Deep” , a song off of my latest project “Moretiadi” will be out on the 1st of September. It’s a collab between Hlohi Ndlovu, Ezra Mokgope, Simeme Mthembu and myself - I am so excited about it!
I am always writing and making music as practice. When there is something that I feel called to share I will.
(MH) We chatted about having you being apart of the Blurring Lines events and exhibition series at Gallery One11 (next time forsure!) Until then what would you like to see more of in the Cape Town creative scene?
We need more spaces where black people can share their art and enjoy it without having to package it commercially. We need more spaces where black children can access art. I would love to see more collaborative spaces that are open to having these important conversations.
To working together in the future and to recognising, supporting & thanking you, for doing what you do.