TUMI MOLEKANE / “Tumi Molekane Mixtape”
A while back, I wrote about Tumi and introduced his music. Here is a brief thumbnail bio from that write-up:
Tumi Molekane, who was born in Tanzania in 1981 when his parents were in exile, and who moved to Soweto, South Africa in 1992, is the poet and leader. The Volume is a power trio of Tiago C. Paulo on guitar, Dave Bergman on bass, and Paulo Chibanga on drums. They have two albums. Their debut, At the Bassline, is a recording from a live session at a famous South African nightclub. Their sophomore effort, Tumi & the Volume, is a studio album that is similar to Meshell’s Cookie in that it mixes poetry and music, and also uses the voices and images of previous generations. The incorporation of the views and voices of older generations that preceded hip-hop is a common and significant element in both Ndegeocello and Tumi.Tumi has two new albums out. They were released within months of each other and they illustrate a crossroads that Tumi is trying to negotiate, a crossroads similar to The Last Poets. In Tumi’s case one album, Whole Worlds, is a solo project and the more recent album, Pick A Dream, is with his band, The Volume. In an interview Tumi said that he wanted to make an album that his nephew would want to listen to—that’s the solo project, which is full of guest appearances and its music sounds like what you would hear on the radio in South Africa, or, except for some of the foreign language, sounds like what you would hear on the radio in the American South. Although I like some of the cuts, it’s a bit two schizophrenic for my taste. There are snippets of Amiri Baraka speaking but Amiri’s points are not obviously driven home by Tumi’s music that surrounds the Baraka quotes. Pick A Dream, on the other hand, really, really is a dream project mainly because the band is strong enough to hold its on and thereby sort of forces Tumi to step up his game. It’s not kwaito (sort of like the club music of contemporary South Africa), and it’s not strictly hip hop but it is slamming. Of course I have a bias in favor of musicians playing instruments but it’s not solely about the traditional instruments (guitar, bass and drums). The whole aesthetic is one of an ensemble working together rather than a bunch of sounds providing support for a solo artist with garnishments by guest artists. I was going to skip a feature on Tumi but when I heard Pick A DreamI changed my mind. I think there is a lot more to consider than whether Tumi is better as a solo artist or with his band. Although there are numerous examples of a powerful individual significantly affecting the development of black musical culture, in the long run, the strongest music is made by ensembles of people interacting. Plus, Tumi is a strong storyteller with a firm grasp on making interesting drama out of ordinary life. Yeah, I know about Stevie and Prince but I also know that over the long haul, the essence of the music is sustained by ensembles and not by individuals working alone. But wrap your ears around Tumi’s music and see which has the stronger appeal to you. —Kalamu ya Salaam Tumi Molakane Mixtape Playlist Live @ Womex 2008 - Tumi & The Volume 01 "Time Keeps Rolling" Live At The Baseline - Tumi & The Volume 02 “People, People” 03 “Yvonne” 04 “People of the Light f/Pebbles” Tumi & The Volume 05 “Once Upon A Time In Africa” A Dream Led To This (EP) – Tumi (solo) 06 "The Inner View" Tumi & The Volume 07 “What It's All About” 08 “Afrique” 09 “Basement” 10 “In a Minute” 11 “Sticks and Stones” Music From my Good Eye – Tumi (solo) 12 “That's How It Remains - hidden track” 13 “What They Want” 14 “The Now Rich featuring Ngwenya” 15 “Maria” 16 “This Is Not Love featuring R.J Benjamin” 17 “Blink Twice featuring Zaki Ibrahim” Whole Worlds - Tumi (solo) 18 “Bambezela featuring Bricks & Tracey-Lee" 19 “Family Plan featuring Mxo" 20 “Mr Gogetit featuring Pebbles" 21 “Villages And Malls featuring Tairo” 22 “Health, Food, Shelter featuring Zaki Ibrahim” Pick A Dream - Tumi & the Volume 23 “Asinamali” 24 “Limpopo” 25 “Moving Picture Frames” 26 “Reality Check” 27 “Through My Sunroof” 28 “Play Nice”
This entry was posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2010 at 7:55 pm and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
2 Responses to “TUMI MOLEKANE / “Tumi Molekane Mixtape””
Leave a Reply
| top |