VARIOUS ARTISTS / “South African Update Mixtape”
I like a lot of the music coming out of South Africa, in part because it's a music rooted in struggle. Times are hard down that way. I don’t know how to adequately convey how sad I felt when I heard about the attacks on immigrant workers. South Africans actually assaulting their brothers and sisters from Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other locations in the region. Burning, beating, killing. See you would have had to be around during the seventies and the eighties when the anti-Apartheid struggle was going full bore and neighboring countries, often at great cost to themselves, were sheltering exiles pushed out by apartheid. The ANC in particular, which is the ruling political party today, was actively supported by the frontline states. ANC, yall owe all of Africa a whole lot better than this bullshit that’s been going down recently. And don’t get me started on these two-bit politicians both at home here in the USA as well as abroad in South Africa. They make Supreme Court Justice Thom-ass Clarence look like a revolutionary (Amiri Baraka told us some things get clearer when you turn them around backwards). So anyway, here is a handful of relatively recent music. Some of these tracks come with basically no info other than here it is, take it or leave it. First up is a cat who goes by the name of Brown. He’s from Tennessee, visited Cape Town to do some support work with youth in Cape Town, went on to India, returned to Cape Town where he continues to work. His focus is on street children. He raps. He’s also a writer and photographer. But mainly a human rights activist. He’s not a major rapper but some of the music is happening and for certain the struggles he highlights need to be highlighted. So check it out and the album is linked to a South African music website where you can purchase downloads if you are of a mind to get Brown’s album. Second is Hugh Masekela. Yall already know I’m into this. This is his latest creation. It's called Phola. Just want to point out that the whole recording has a mellow vibe but the lyrics are rueful reflections on some of the hardest of the hard realities of South Africa, or as Hugh says talking about putting our lives in the hands of some of these politicians: ARE WE CRAZY! (And that’s not really a question but rather a condemnation of our own naiveté.) Need I say you ought to add Phola to your music collection? Third up is my man Tumi from a solo recording called Music From My Good Eye. I like the self-criticism and the unblinking look at social and ethical ills. On a business tip, he’s trying to do an independent thing, producing his own music. Unfortunately, the company website is not yet fully operational so you can’t get it directly. For now, if you like it, just give thanks that it was passed on to yours truly who in turn is sharing the good-good. Closing out with four tracks from Baboti, a seven track EP that’s a rousing, demo-like set. The drummer is the leader. His name is Barry van Zyl. He has been Johnny Clegg’s drummer since 1999. Comes out of Cape Town and got together with some of his musical colleagues and put this one-off together. The bass player is Concord Nkabinde, who is well known in South Africa. That’s Efrain Toro on percussion, James Scholfield on guitar, Andrew Liley on piano, Denver Turner – street poetry. Paul Hanmer is featured on Fender Rhodes on “Driehoek” and Wendy Oldfield is the vocalist on “Fool For You.” BTW, I have no idea where the group name "Baboti" comes from. At casual listen, all of this might sound a long way from what many of think African music sounds like but two quick notes: 1. Most of us are supremely ignorant when it comes to the contemporary realities of Africa, especially South Africa, which is the most industrialized country on the continent. 2. Listen closely to the lyrics and despite how upful the music may sound, there is a tussling going on, a grappling with hard times and funky situations. One good thing about music… Be well. —Kalamu ya Salaam South Africa Update Mixtape From Hanging In And Hanging On by Brown 01 “All Men Stumble” 02 “Stroller Intro” 03 “Stroller Like Me (feat Uncle Frankie)” 04 “So Much Trouble (feat Zanele)” 05 “Lay Me Down” From Phola by Hugh Masekela 06 “Bring It Back Home” 07 “Sonny Boy” 08 “The Joke Of Life (Brinca De Vivre)” 09 “Hunger” From Music From My Good Eye by Tumi 10 “The Now Rich - ft. Ngwenya” 11 “Maria” 12 “This Is Not Love - ft. R.J Benjamin” 13 “That's how it remains” From Baboti by Baboti 14 “Driehoek - ft Concord Nkabinde & Paul Hanmer” 15 “Mr Do Wrong” 16 “Hola Konfyt” 17 “Fool For You - ft Wendy Oldﬁeld”
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