As a child growing up in Decatur, Tebe Zalango had his hands on a violin before he left kindergarten.
One day he heard Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" on the radio and told his mother, "I want to do that!"
Zalango's mother took her son's proclamation at face value - he immediately began learning violin - even though he would rather have been playing with the neighborhood kids instead of the many hours of practice. Zalango may have grated at the practice then, but now he relishes his musical gifts. He is getting steadily closer to a year-end release of a debut double album that has been the work of a lifetime.
It may be his commercial debut, but Zalango been selling CDs for years. He personally burns thousands of them during his travels to play across the country, and even in places like Mexico and the Bahamas. It is the mode of his travels that is unusual.
Zalango has no agent. Like a troubadour, he simply travels to distant cities - Atlanta, Chicago, New York - and hits the streets, bringing about "5,000 flyers and 500 burned CDs" wherever he goes. During the day he talks to people, whips up interest, hangs fliers and sells CDs. At night he performs at the nearest open mike, wherever it may be.
"I make connections," Zalango said. "They let me know where and when the shows are. Sometimes I'll be asked to open up for a well-known performer. I let God lead me. The decision to travel comes out of the blue, and I don't fight it."
‘Music is my life'