Yemanya Biography by ajizai



Yemanya is a unique Afro-European café outfit, performing a groovy and glamorous fusion of classics, with an
African flavour. The brain child of pianist Marleze Smit, this exciting collaboration’s debut album “Two Roads”
(produced by Gabi le Roux and Helmut Meijer), was launched in 2011, and has been well received by the
public and media alike.

Consisting of piano, drums, marimba, violin and cello, Yemanya creates a unique aural experience by using
French, Spanish and Argentinean melodies, with a strong African undertone, which adds a unique twist to the
popular European café sound (made famous by Buddha Bar).


Frank Paco
Drummer and percussionist Frank Paco is no stranger to the South African music scene, having performed with
artists such as Jimmy Dludlu, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie, Hugh Masekela, Judith Sephuma and Jonathan
Butler. Frank is also the founder member of the popular Afro-fusion band Tucan Tucan.

Bongani Sotshononda
Bongani is an internationally acclaimed chromatic marimba percussionist and composer. With over 20 years of
experience in the music industry, he has performed in many countries, from Belgium to New York to Japan,
and has been involved in numerous successful collaborations. His love for the marimba has led him to put
together the The Marimba Extravaganza, a 26-piece marimba orchestra which tells of the history of marimbas;
narrated and directed by Bongani.

Elina Koytcheva
Elina's violin career has taken her across the world. Haven taken up the Violin in Europe at the age of 6, she
has decades of experience as a professional performer, and has taken part in concerts and recordings across
the world, accompanying well-known artists such as Oleta Adams, Gino Vinelli, Steve Vai, Herbie Hancock, Al
Jarreau, and Tim Ries. She has been based in Cape Town since 2005, where she performs a wide range of
styles from classical to gypsy, with an electronic twist.
Natasha Otero
Natasha is a versatile young cellist, who has performed with numerous orchestras and bands. In the Classical
world, she has performed with the National Youth Orchestra, International Chamber Festival Orchestra and as
a member of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, while also “crossing over” to more contemporary music
genres by having performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, as well as with several popular
bands such as George Benson, Foto Na Dans, and Isochronous.

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