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Riding on a music wave



MASERU – LIKE his gospel singing parents, Wave Rhyder is making it in the music industry through satire, romance, and a bit of Afro-pop gospel music.

It is the way Wave Rhyder laces romance with humour in many of his songs that has attracted hundreds of young people to follow his music across the country and beyond.

Singing in Sesotho, Wave Rhyder (born Thato Molupe), has just released the latest of his typically humorous songs. The song promises to be a hit with less than a month on air.

In the song, the notorious bad debtor in legendary satirical songster, the late Senyaka’s early 2000s hit has come back to life – only to borrow money from yet another humorous muso, Wave Rhyder.

Kwaito followers will remember Senyaka’s hit song, Romeo wa Nkolota (You owe me Romeo), in which he comically depicted the imaginary Romeo dying without settling his debt.

Senyaka died in March 2015, but after announcing in another hit that Romeo had paid his dues because he had prayed that Romeo should deposit the money in a heavenly bank.

Last month, Wave Rhyder released a Romeo song featuring Ntate Stunna, in which they accuse Romeo of spending money on women instead of paying his dues.

In the song, Wave Rhyder is asking rhetorical questions: How do you afford to buy alcohol, spend money on girls, throw parties when you owe me?

Wave Rhyder, in another humorous song called Tšela bo Tlale (Fill it to the brim), asks for help because he is so drunk that he believes he has gone nuts.

In the song, he is instructing the shebeen queen, ’Malibuseng, to fill his beer mug to the brim so that he drinks enough to be stoned. But he is unable to finish it due to drunkenness.

The effect of the beer is so strong that he asks his friend Mokopu to offer his shoulder to lean on. He is so drunk that he decides that ’Malibuseng should be his wife – for the sole purpose of brewing beer for him.

In another humorous song, there is an abundance of sexual undertones in harmony with Sesotho culture of shying from being explicit during sexual conversations.

The song, U Ntima Ntho’e Monate (You deny me a nice thing), depicts a man complaining and telling his wife that “you refuse to give me a slice of cake”.

“Even at night when I pretend to be sick, pretending to be sleep-talking and when my hand goes near where the nice thing is I abruptly stop because of how you look at me,” he sings.

He yearns for the love he sees next door.

“Just listen to the neighbour, his wife has prepared dinner and I can hear the clattering of dishes,” he laments.

The 23-year-old humorous singer is contributing to the world of Afro-pop music in the vernacular Sesotho, in a way that brings together emotions and satire.

In his song Wa Nkutlwa Na (Do you hear me), the young muso uses rich Sesotho poetry, with some lyrics in English, rhetorically asking God if he hears him when he prays.

In a humorous way, he indirectly quotes Psalm 23 from the Bible, prayerfully referring to himself as a sheep that requires to be taken to the green pastures to graze.

What makes the song unique compared to his other songs is the emotional prosody – the tone of his voice that changes pitches followed by a near hiss with a light but hoarse sound.

Wave Rhyder was born in Morija on April 7, 1999 to gospel singers Ngateng and ’Mathato Molupe, both lead singers with the famous Tehilla Africa Gospel Group.

His father is a songwriter of note.

Their famous songs, Uena u Molimo, in which his mother leads, and Luluetsang by his father are hits that give many churchgoers motivation on Sunday mornings.

Wave Rhyder says his parents gave him enough support to make it in music, encouraging every step he took and guiding him so that he avoids the pitfalls of youth.

“My parents are my role models,” he said, adding that he does not know when he actually started singing “because I started singing from an early age”.

“I grew up playing a makeshift guitar and drums, mimicking my then role models, Stlofa and Damario. At the time my grandmother would tell everyone that I would grow up to be a singer,” he says.

After finishing high school at Sefika in 2018, Wave Rhyder told his parents that he wanted to try making a life out of music rather than pursuing higher education.

His parents agreed to support him.

He had already recorded his first song while at school in 2013, highly motivated by his maternal uncle who gave him the stage name ‘Wave Rhyder.’

The Rhyder was originally spelt Rider because his uncle had told him that he would ride on something which at the time he did not understand.

“I only understood the meaning of the name later in school when my comprehension of the English language was improving,” he says with a laugh.

He changed the spelling to Rhyder.

Unlike his parents, Wave Rhyder does not focus on gospel music because he believes that “music is a talent and no one chooses what they want”.

“That is why my parents supported and guided me regardless of the type of music I chose,” said the song writer, singer and producer.

Wave Rhyder says he writes his songs with the intention to make people happy and revive their hope.

“I believe that when we all go through some rough patches, we need motivation. That is the other reason why I wrote some of the songs.”

“Every artiste wants to be out there and get recognised. It doesn’t always go that way so the only way out is one’s artistic mind to know that even when things don’t go your way you still have to keep pushing,” says Wave Rhyder, confessing to being “a big fan” of Afro music and his wish to one day share the stage with artistes like Davido, Wizkid and Teckno.

“The biggest gig I had so far was in Botswana at the Maun Stadium. Performing in such places keeps an artiste motivated,” he says.
But he wants more.

“There is no time we would ever feel like we have reached where we want to be. Hence we always work harder,” he says.

Caswell Tlali & Mpolai Makhetha

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