He is probably richer, wiser and more talented than you and is not afraid to show it, that’s why he is known by a famous stage name and is launching his 13th album in a foreign country.
Unlike youngsters and the “ageless’’ who wear dropped baggy jeans, he prefers to dress in expensive classy designer clothes and occasionally sips one of the finest and expensive whiskies — Hennessey!
“Unlike these youngsters and some old people, who like American dressing, I prefer dressing according to my age and my music at least has a lasting message,’’ said Ringo who has a big female fan base.
Although he seems to live a silent, classy and expensive life, his favourite food is sour milk. That’s the life of Cape Town born artiste, Ringo Madlingozi, who has emerged as one of South Africa’s strongest and liveliest acts.
Ringo, as he has been warmly known throughout his life after he was nick-named by his mother for showing great interest in drumming as a kid, is no stranger to the music arena and has persevered through a succession of bands and session works which have had him recording with other legendary artistes as diverse as Hugh Masekela, Simply Red, Teddy Pendergrass, Caiphus Semenya and Zimbabwe’s very own, Oliver “Tuku’’ Mtukudzi as well as for the movie The Lion King.
His latest 11-track album, Jaiva S’bali, named after the hit track and is already rocking South Africa’s music charts — will be launched in Harare and Bulawayo this week at his much-anticipated show at the Large City Hall.
Jaiva S’bali was created during the first ever African soccer World Cup extravaganza although he didn’t get a chance to perform alongside international musicians such as John Legend and Shakira who arguably stole the limelight from South African musicians.
“Although I didn’t get a chance to perform at the World Cup, I’m delighted to be officially launching my album in Zimbabwe because I know I have a big fan base here and this is just to show my gratitude and love to you all. As always, my music is about love and unity,’’ said Ringo.
Asked how he felt about South African artistes only being given a short stint to perform during the opening and closing ceremonies, he said: “As you know we were all disappointed at that and it felt as though we were being told what to do in our own home. We can’t cry over split milk, other countries did not perform either and FIFA as a governing body did what they thought was best,’’ he said.
Born in Cape Town on 12 December 1964, Sindile (his real name, which he said brings success to the family), spent his childhood and school days in Gugulethu Township but finished high school in Umtata.
The name Ringo was adopted from the famous revolutionary band — The Beatles, drummer, Ringo Starr. Although he never listened to nor loved the music, he wears the name like the original owner.
“I was nick-named Ringo by my mother after she realised I had a keen interest in playing the drums. I never did like the Beatles music, while they played and danced to them, I preferred listening to Bob Marley, the Burning Spears, believe it or not, Zimbabwean reggae icon, Thomas Mapfumo, Andy Brown and Don Gumbo,’’ he said.
With a keen interest in Zimbabwean artistes, sungura king, Aleck Macheso — who he deemed the Zimbabwean Michael Jackson — Ringo, said he was interested in doing collaborations with Harare songstress Kudzai Sevenzo.
“I met up with Kudzai at a club while I was in Harare and I must say the girl has talent and I would like to record a collaboration album with her,’’ said Ringo.
Ringo was musically active from a young age and while at school, he led an acapella group, which performed at community and youth functions. He later became the lead vocalist for the group Ikwezi, but it was when he was front man for the band Peto, that his unique vocal talents were first recognised nationally.
Peto won a national talent competition in 1986 and this gave Ringo national exposure with his first ever television profile, tours and the role of support act for the King Mswati’s Trust concert in Swaziland which was led by Eric Clapton.
Ringo then abandoned ship and the members of Peto went separate ways. He later moved base to Johannesburg, where he spent the early 90s as a member of Gecko Moon. During that stint, he did a lot of studio session work — for radio commercials, film, and album recordings.
Ringo’s first album, Vukani, was released in 1996, during that year he was also asked to be a support act to Democratic Republic of Congo’s music maestro, Papa Wemba, when he toured South Africa as part of a Reconnection programme. His second album, Sondelani, was released in late 1997, with themes of reconciliation, love and national unity.
The album achieved double platinum status in sales, awards, and major airplay. This has ensured Ringo remains a much sought after act in the arts industry the world over.