Lindelwe Ngonelo was born in 1986 in Gauteng, and the age of 10, she and her family moved to Durban and she then started playing the piano at the age of 12 when her parents started a church in 1998. In April 2013 she graduated with a Bachelor or Practical Music (Honours) from the University of Kwazulu Natal majoring in Jazz Performance, where she studied under Mr. Neil Gonsalves. Ngonelo is a versatile pianist whose music comprises strong elements of jazz, and ventures into different time signatures and textures.
Lindelwe was part of the all-female jazz band Heels Over Head from 2009 to 2013 which won a Yamaha competition in 2010, and was nominated for a SAMA (South African Music Award) in 2011 in the category Best Contemporary Jazz, alongside the likes of Jonathan Butler and Carlo Mombelli for its debut album, Could It Be. In 2011 and 2012 Heels Over Head made a TV appearance on Morning Live, SABC 2’s popular daily breakfast show. Lindz, as she is popularly known, has performed with Heels Over Head as well as other artists at many different venues, events and corporate functions. Heels Over Head’s music is also play listed on several radio stations.
Ngonelo is strongly influenced by the likes of the late Moses Taiwa Molelekwa, the late Bheki Mseleku, Nduduzo Makhathini, Themba Mkhize, Robert Glasper, the late George Duke, Michel Camilo, Cyrus Chestnut, Oscar Peterson, Eliane Elias, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Roy Hargrove, Richard Bona, Gregory Porter, Herbie Tsoaeli and Marcus Wyatt, to name a few. She believes these musicians have helped her find her own direction, carve her path and solidify her identity as a musician.
In addition, she is a session musician who has worked with the likes of Swazi Damini, Tshepo Mngoma, Nothende, Siphokazi, Brenda Mtambo, Thandiswa Mazwai, Nomsa Mazwai, Tu Nokwe, Lex Futshane, Herbie Tsoaeli and many other musicians.
Furthermore, Ngonelo is on her way to making a name for herself as a pianist, with some newspaper publications referring to her piano playing as ‘listening to humming birds on a spring morning’. She said of her chosen genre: ‘Jazz is fundamental to all genres of music. I love arranging.
Lindi was a part time Ensemble and Improvisation lecturer at the University of Kwazulu Natal from January 2012 to June 2013, after which she relocated to Johannesburg. She also heads up her own quintet which she formed in 2013 where she performs her original compositions and popular standards and covers in which she displays her keen and avid love for arranging. She is currently a music teacher at the East Rand School of the Arts, situated in Benoni and is in addition doing her Bachelor of Music Honours (B.Mus. Hons) through the University of Pretoria. Ngonelo believes music is about feeling more than hearing. She utilises the platforms on which she performs to display her musical flair and passion with the audience.