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South Africa Music 2

Nondumiso Tembe, who cut a track with the rap architect Young Nations in her album Izwi  Lami, is one of the young artists who cast their net in international music, while their fishing boat is firmly anchored in South African waters.

Sbongile Khumalo, (see blog South Africa Music) sings in English and African languages, so does Gloria Bosman, Judith Sephuma, Lira and Freshly Ground. 

Freshly Ground is a group of young singers whose main asset is Zolani Mahola.  Her voice is rough like the bark of a tree and produces great medicinal melodies in the album Nomvula. 
The track Buttercup is butter smooth and I avoid playing it in the car because it transports me to imaginary forests with flowers and arrogant rays of sunlight, when I should be concentrating on the road.
You will short change yourself if you limit yourself to English music because you will miss out on musicians like Ntando and Siphokazi, who are extremely popular because they tell African stories mainly in the language isiXhosa. 
Ntando’s music should be enjoyed after listening to Stompi Mavi or vice versa.  Ringo Madlingozi specialises in the greatest story ever told, the love story.   The group Mafikizolo has split but their music is still popular because they sing about problems in the urban and rural areas and the test of wills between children and parents. 
The late Sipho Gumede used to cradle the bass guitar and shell music from the guitar strings, mhlaba awunoni!  This is how our ancestors regarded death.  It means the earth will never be rich although we constantly bury useful people to the society.  For example, we can say that it will never be rich for taking Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee.
Nothembi Mkhwebane, Tu Nokwe, Jonathan Butler, Selaelo Selota and Louis Mhlanga are still here, pricking their guitar strings to make you smile or cry.  We also have pianists like Don Laka who see colour in the black and white piano keys in his album Destiny. 
I cannot help you with labels because there is a fine line between different kinds of music.  Is Lira a jazz singer or folk singer?  How about Zamajobe and Simphiwe Dana?  Where do we slot them?  Bhudaza is one of the greatest saxophonists of all time.  I picked up his album Mohokare some years ago.  Is his music jazz because he blows a horn? 
My take on it is that it is influenced by musical art forms that have been in his country Lesotho since the days of King Moshoeshoe.  Bhudaza cut his teeth at home in Lesotho, with the Band Sankomota and also worked with Mandla Masuku in South Africa. 
The CD, the Best of Sankomota will put you in the picture about what happens when musicians such as Bhudaza, Frank Mooki Leepa and Tshepo Tshola use traditional music as a springboard.

So much music so little time!




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