Phalanndwa Funanani Canly known as Ras Canly is an award winning Reggae and Dancehall artist hailing from the Reggae province of ancient Limpopo. His song scooped the coveted title Song of the Year at the prestigious Tshivenda Music Awards [TSHIMA] in 2017, making it the first Reggae Dancehall song to ever win that title in the history of the awards and in South Africa in general. Ras Canly was also nominated in the Best Newcomer category and Reggae Album of the Year category, making it a total of three nominations. The TSHIMA‘s are a strategic platform designed to recognize, promote and reward local artists who pride themselves by singing in Tshivenda indigenous language while preserving the rich heritage and cultural diversity of vhavenda people.
“I still feel honoured even today, It was the first time having reggae song winning that award,and I represented.” Ras Canly
Ras Canly describes himself as a combination of Reggae, Dancehall and Hip Hop. He says that music describes him; from the time he started listening to other great musicians and realised that he too was destined to follow in the same tracks, he had never stopped recording. He was attuned to music at a very early age and his first recording was a cover song Never Knew, by Turbulance which did not reach a wide audience but caught the attention of the very key people who heard it and spurred him on, sparking his professional singing career.
In 2016 he recorded and released his debut album Mbilu Yanga (My Heart) from which the winning track Vhutshilo rito fhana came from. The album caused such a furor among his followers that he started giving download links for specific requested tracks, but his fans were eager to buy the whole album and thus giving him the confidence and signal that he is doing something right. He garnered such a following that it came as no surprise that he would walk away with at least one award from the three nominations he got.
“Honestly speaking, I knew I had to win one award since I was nominated in 3 categories, But winning this very award was just amazing.” – Ras Canly
His popularity goes beyond his followers, as his peers too are giving him the recognition of one who is doing the right thing and bringing a refreshing flavour in the industry, judging by the number of collaborative works he does. He has collaborated with another award winning and popular hip hop artist Mizo Phyll on a Summer song Venda nga December. His social commentary lyrics and melodic voice bodes well in hip hop tracks as heard on the combination track Message to the Streets with hip hop artist Crg Courage. He lends his rhythmic melody to Acolly Mandiza’s ‘My Beautiful Girl’ and on Papa Thile’s ‘God’s Time is the Best’. He featured Mizo Phyll and Nicodermic on the track Vhakhoxedzwa produced by Top Shatters.
“I enjoy working with other artists Because I Also get to learn something new from them.” – Ras Canly
He cites Kenny Wailer as his main influence and one who he gets inspiration from, but it was Queen Ifrika who drew him deeply into Dancehall – “I am Ras Canly in dance hall because of her Music,” he explains, and it therefore comes as no surprise that his current playlist includes Queen Ifrika’s Battle Field from her latest Album Climb. The track She is Royal, dedicated to his special lady, is his all time favourite track from his Album, as he pours his unconditional love (music) to the one that he shares the passion with. Ras Canly is Music, and he would not be doing any other thing except making music all his life.
The yute who’s favourite colour is Black and favourite dish is anything with Rice, promises to give more good music and nothing else. He is constantly working on his craft, because he knows his time is coming, and he is aiming at international levels, because he believes that he has earned his stripes. Rightfully so.
“I am still growing musically so I take every challenge as a stepping stone. But Winning the Song of the year award really motivated me”. – Ras Canly
Catch him on the speakers near you and be sure to check out his lively performances around Limpopo and surely in Gauteng and the rest of Mzansi very soon.