Counrty music duo dusty and stone
Third time Tihlabani Awards nominees, country music duo, Dusty and Stones have made an astounding impression on every stage they have graced. With two Tihlabani Awards to their name, they have firmly established themselves as one of the leading group in country music in the country. Their talent in balancing heart-breaking ballads and message songs with good tunes that leave country music fans begging for more has established their brand. Inspired by the likes of Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam and Buddy Masango they have always wanted to be extraordinary.
Owing their existance to the fact that they grew up in a country music environment, Linda Msibi and Gazi Simelane started performing in their early teens in 2002. They said they grew fond of playing the guitar and from there their passion grew. "I started by playing the guitar and I taught Linda who is my cousin," Gazi says. They gained popularity after playing at the Nandos outlet in Mbabane. "It was there where people started listening to what we had to offer," Linda says. They performed there for special occassions, on mother’s day and Valentines Day. From then they gained exposure at the quarterly Country Music Jamborees held at Lituba Lodge, where a large number of seasoned country music players in Swaziland meet. "We learnt a lot from these sessions and we think it is because of them that we have come so long," Linda says.
The message they relate with their music is that of appreciation and caring for the people around you. "Country music is at the end of the day all about positive living and it centres around family," Gazi says. They say another factor that contributed to their growth was the fact that they have always received a positive response form the audience everywhere they have performed. "This inspired us to pester on," they say. They performed at the Lowveld Party last year in July and those who where present warmed up to them. Their video is on You Tube and it has been viewed over 3 600 times.
Despite their successes, they have been marred by a number of challenges which include among others the lack of country music instrument players. "We have had to learn to play different instruments which include the violin and the flute because there aren’t many instrument players," says Gazi. They add that they have had financial challenges which have resulted in them not releasing their debut album. "We started recording the album in 2009 and it will be released in February," Gazi says. They have been lucky enough to be financed by the US Embassy for the release of their video, ‘Ride with me’. Their future plans include them working towards being established musicians locally and trying to infiltrate the international market. Their advice to aspiring musicians is "Research about the sound you are going to specialise in and link up with the right people in the genre. We are also still learning."