The album ‘He O Oe Oe!’ by the Sotho singer Puseletso Seema, backed by the group Tau Ea Linares, translated ‘King of Buffaloes, was originally released in 1985 by Globestyle, the UK label of Ben Mandelson and is long out of print. The recordings on this album are unique because Ben, as a passionate music aficionado, arranged for the meeting of Puseletso Seema and Tau Ea Linare, who normally record separately.
Sotho traditional music is an integral part of Sotho social education and traditionally links hearing with the understanding of the natural and social worlds. The Sotho describe instruments as either liletsa tsa matsoho (those sounded by the hand) or liletsa tsa molomo (those sounded by the mouth). The former category includes the moropa and skupu drums, these days often made from oil cans because of scarcity of wood. The latter category includes the lesiba, a mouth-resonated stick-zither sounded by blowing. The primary use of the lesiba is in cattle-herding; bird sounds and actions are seen to affect cattle; these sounds can be imitated on the lesiba and the instrument is thus used to control the animals’ behaviour. The whistles and yipping are herdboy’s calls as recorded for the particular song.
‘thabo’ is a name given to a Sotho boy and by adding ‘ma’ it means ‘mother of Thabo’ and also has the meaning ‘to ever be glad’
translated means ‘lies’ -the song is about the fact that lies get one in trouble especially lovers
translated means ‘land can’t be fat’ -the song is about land that cannot receive rain or nourishment or proper care, cannot yield food to feed it’s people
Traditionally there was no professionalism in Sotho music, although this has developed in response to changes in Sotho culture. Broadcasting and exposure to other styles of African and international music and the demands of the pop music market, even the introduction of the accordion, all have their influences on musicians and singers.
excerpts from the original linernotes of ‘He O Oe Oe!’ by Puseletso Seema & Tau Ea Linare. Globestyle ORB 003 UK 1985