IT STARTED WITH -
An endless passion for music, for voices,
for discovery, for people, for life.
Satori is a South African Band made up of seven members – the five Ally family members come from an accomplished musical family, a family that has produced many musicians. The album “Satori” is a tribute to Frank Ally, the late father of Erol and Ashley, and grandfather of Kevin, Lisa and Zara.
In addition, Eddie Steyn and Ezra Erasmus are accomplished musicians in their own right. Satori consists of own compositions that reflect a local feel that is South African, but appeals to a wide range of audiences.
The band is made up of seven members:
Vocals: Zara Ally, Lisa Ally, Ashley Ally
Guitar: Erol Ally Keyboards: Ezra Erasmus
Bass: Eddie Steyn
Flute and saxophones: Ashley Ally
Drums: Kevin Ally
Zara won a gold medal in the South African National Championships of the Performing Arts in 2006 at the tender age of 13. The same year, she represented South Africa at the World Championships of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, the Olympics of the performing arts world. She brought home four medals, a gold, two silver and bronze. At 14, she joined a girl band called, Atom, which went on to make history as the youngest ever South African band to be nominated for the SAMAS. Their hit single, Gone by the Minute, was on Highveld Top 40 for a few weeks. She has also been a member of the all-girl group, Stiletto.
Besides being an accomplished singer, Zara is also a songwriter. One of the highlights of her young career is as a guest on the Smooth Jazz Cruise in the Caribbean in 2013, with a line-up that included Jonathan Butler, George Benson, Marcus Miller, Bob James, David Sanborn, Angie Stone and Candy Dulfer.
Lisa studied classical piano as a child but chose singing as her interest in music progressed. Her exposure to music developed her love for performing. She started off singing in the St Georges Grammar School Choir in Cape Town. Spending much of her time as a toddler with father, Erol, Lisa has imbibed music much as one learns to speak ones mother tongue. Once when Erol was rehearsing for the Grahamstown Arts Festival, Lisa fell asleep on one of the speakers and sister Zara on the other. Renowned Jazz singer and vocal coach Ilene Pilot was her next stop. Lisa, who is a student, naturally fell into the fold of Satori when it was formed.
Ashley, one of the founding members of Satori was inspired by the family influences, particularly by his father’s absolute dedication to the art form. He embarked on a project to promote music in the townships. Ashley studied music with Ms Katt in Port Elizabeth. Ashley, through his involvement in political organisation, was one of the founding members of Imvaba Arts Association. He focused on music in the organisation and played an important role in the continued education of artists such as Zim Ngqawana, with whom he had studied. He was also taught, tutored and inspired by musicians such as Dudley Tito, Robbie Jansen, Winston Mankunku and his dad, Frank.
Ashley lived in Germany from the 1980s to the 1990s where he played in, and he led, various bands ranging from rock to jazz. After a 20-year break from active music, Ashley collaborated with various artists, including recording with Louis Jean, an internationally acclaimed reggae artist, with Thutukani from the Lucky Dube band and Paul Hanmer.
Erol was thrust into the professional music world at the tender age of 12 when he had to learn an entire repertoire on the bass guitar in his father’s band. Daily exposure to music of all genres was the norm, Erol and his siblings were catapulted into a life of music. In the mid-1980s, Erol, his brother Ashley and sister Merle were instrumental in starting a local jazz club, Razzmatazz, in the inner city of Port Elizabeth. It is here where they honed their skills and played with some of the best talents South Africa had to offer, including, acclaimed drummer, the late Lulu Gontsana, Trumpeter, Feya Faku, internationally acclaimed pianist Paul Hanmer, saxophonist Robbie Jansen, Abdullah Ebrahim, who paid regular visits to their home in Port Elizabeth, and international recording artist Jonathan Butler and saxophonist Winston Mangkuku, to mention but a few.
He moved to Cape Town in the early 1990s, the Jazz capital of South Africa, where he joined a fusion band called Loading Zone, headed up by internationally renowned drummer Frank Paco. The most memorable highlight of his career, though, was performing at a Celebration concert on the release of Nelson Mandela. It would take years for Erol to team up with his brother Ashley again, this time joined by their offspring to whom they had imparted the love of music that their father had inculcated in them. And thus, Satori was given life.
Ezra was born into music. He discovered his innate talent at the tender age of 3 when his father, the late Pastor James Erasmus, bought an organ for the family home. At 6, he took classical piano lessons at the local primary school in Saldanha Bay. He furthered his piano lessons with the Royal School of Music after he matriculated in 1997 and joined the Saldanha Community Choir as the keyboardist where he worked with international gospel artist, Hezekiah Walker.
In 1999 he moved to Johannesburg and gained experience as a sound engineer and session musician. Ezra met and worked with established kwaito and afro-pop/soul artists like Mandoza, Sliq Angel and Zola, as well as house music pioneers, Oskido and Dj Cleo. Ezra has performed with a range of artists such as Swazi Dlamini and Loyiso Bala with the Young, Gifted and Black project, Jazz maestros Allou April, the late Robbie Jansen, international award nominee Zamajobe, Danny K, Miss Lira, and the late Lebo Mathosa.
He prizes most collaborating with Erik Paliane, producing Phola legendary trumpeter, Bra Hugh Masekela’s album. Extensive travel across the globe has seen Ezra share stages with international artists Joe, Bebe Winans, The Manhattans, Akon, The Black Eyed Peas and John Legend, among others. Ezra finds no appeal in the high life, the glamour and the glitz that often goes with this industry. It is a deeply spiritual experience in which he has taken a conscious decision to make the kind of contribution to music that will be his legacy.
Eddie Steyn is a Producer, Composer, Session Musician and owner of Black Stain Productions.
He started playing Drums when he was 5 Years old and also started playing guitar at 6 years old in
his local Church Sunday school. At the tender age of 8 years old he recorded with the Lighthouse
Christian Centre youth band and the album was play listed on radio Fish Hoek now called CCFM in
Cape Town. At the age of 12 he joined the Senior Band of the Lighthouse Christian Centre where he
played with the likes of Trevor Ray Parker and Eldred Schilder and he started taking formal private
music lessons from Alistair Andrews who currently teaches at the University of Cape Town
After high school he Studied Performance Diploma in jazz studies and later change to TLD in Jazz at
the University Of Cape Town’s College Of Music where he majored in Bass guitar and Piano as second
instrument. While at UCT he also gigged at various Restaurants, Jazz Bars and Night Clubs in and
around Cape Town with an array of different musicians covering Jazz, Pop, RnB, Latin, Gospel and
He was also a founder member of Innerchild with whom he Co-wrote “Souled Out” featuring Heinrich
Frans on Vocals, the song was play listed on P4 radio now Heart 104.9fm and was also included in
the Generations Café Compilation Album featuring Various Legends in the Cape town music Industry.
In 2005 he relocated to Gauteng to work with award winning Opera and jazz singer, Sibongile
Mngoma, and just after 2 months in Gauteng He also started working with SAMA AWARD winning
Drummer Vusi Khumalo form Hugh Masekela and Dondo and also with African Jazz Guitarist Maxwell
Vidima. He also join Urban Reflections a corporate band with whom him played various Festivals and
corporate functions like Nedbank Golf Challenge, Vodacom Fun day, Gold Reef City, DTI, Transnet,
Eskom etc and the Presidential Awards Ceremony. Urban reflections also recorded a single that He
co-wrote with legendary SAMA winning producer Alexis Faku and it was Play listed on East Coast
radio and Metro FM respectively
Kevin took up drumming as a hobby virtually when he was just out of nappies. His hobby, percussion and drums, extended into school life, the church and university where he played in, and led various contemporary school bands across a range of genres, Jazz, Orchestral and Rock, and participated in musical and theatrical productions, both as scholar and educator. He has been professionally trained and mentored by internationally renowned session drummer, Neill Ettridge (Mango Groove) on an ongoing basis since 2005. For Kevin, highlights of his budding career include performances with local composers Paul Hanmer and the late Errol Cudumbey.