my best festival experience this year definitely was in South Africa in the city of East London, nowadays called Buffalo City, during the first big Maskandi festival on 2nd March 19….what an amazing pow wow of tribes! Ngiyabonga!
The program was spread over the whole day, from noon till midnight so I only had the change to witness only a few artists and dance groups….here is my impression of that magical day.
next saturday I will be travelling to East London, nowadays called Buffalo City, in the Eastern Cape province for the first big Maskandi festival in that era.
Maskanda or Maskandi is a Zulu folk kind of music, which has evolved and has become big in South Africa. Maskandi music is largely popular and mostly consumed in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, given its rich Zulu heritage and significance to the Zulu tribe. In popularity Maskandi is the 2nd top selling genre in South Africa, after Gospel music.
In Durban the genre is called ‘‘the music played by the man on the move, the modern minstrel, today’s troubadour.” It is the music of the man walking the long miles to a bride or to meet with his chief; a means of transport. Maskandi music tells us of many stories of society, about one’s view of life and personal experiences. This style of music is distinguished by an instrumental flourish (izihlabo) that sets the tone at the beginning of each song, in a picked guitar style and rapidly spoken section of Zulu praise poetry, called “izibongo“.
The content is not always praise, though, and with pop, house and other influences Maskandi it has become more about the story telling ethic and the modern migrant culture, than simply about the musical style.
It is the music of the man who sings of his real life experiences, his daily joys and sorrows, his observations of the world. It’s the music of the man who’s got the Zulu blues.”
This Saturday Zulu troubadour Phuzekhemisi is among the best-known practitioners of the Maskandi genre on stage. Other legendary performers are Mpatheni Khumalo and Bheki Ngcobo a.o.
National performers expected to perform include Phuzekhemisi, Khuzani, Mbuzeni, Amawele ka Mamtshawe, Nkunzemdaka, Shushubaby and Ntombethongo.
They will be performing alongside local Maskandi groups, Lumanyano cultural group, Sivuyile traditional dancers, 4×4 dancers, Ichawne Lebhaca and Gadla Nxumalo.
Also on the program is gospel music and dj’s like Naak-Musiq, Butho Vuthela, dj Welo, Blomzit, Mjazz, Yoba and many more.
The festival is scheduled to start at 9 AM. Check tickets and prices at Computicket.
Maskandi Festival 2019
2 Mar – 3 Mar 2019 08:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Buffalo City Stadium
Arcadia, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
as part 13 in the series Township Soul & Boogie I proudly present one of Letta Mbulu’s rarest albums in existence. It may be one of those records that people sometimes refer to as a ‘holy grail’. “I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi)” is without a doubt an ultra rare ‘lost’ Letta Mbulu LP, released only in South Africa on the Tamla Motown label in 1973.
Actually, this LP is a compilation of material that was previously released on several albums with some new songs added, probably recorded between 1970-1973. Parts of this album consists of songs that Letta recorded frequently as part of musical aggregates put together by Hugh Masekela – most spectacularly as part of the anonymous collective known as Africa ‘68 (which was also later credited as “The Zulus”), where she took the lead on “Uyaz’ Gabisa,” “Noyana,” “Aredze” (which she’d earler performed on Letta Mbulu Sings) and “Kedumetse.”
All tracks on this LP beautifully showcase Mbulu’s gorgeous vocal capacities and the heritage of Zulu songs stand out as proud witnesses of Letta’s South African origins.
Born and raised in Soweto, South Africa on 23 August 1942, she has been active as as singer since the 1960s. While still a teenager she toured with the musical King Kong, — but left for the United States in 1965 due to Apartheid.
In New York she connected with other South African exiles including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, and went on to work with Cannonball Adderley, David Axelrod and Harry Belafonte.
On screen, her singing can also be heard in Roots, The Color Purple (1985), and the 1973 film A Warm December,[ and she was a guest on a Season 6 episode of Soul Train. Mbulu also provided the Swahili chant in Michael Jackson’s single, “Liberian Girl”. Producer Quincy Jones has said of her: “Mbulu is the roots lady, projecting a sophistication and warmth which stirs hope for attaining pure love, beauty, and unity in the world.”
it doesn’t take much to make great music; a guitar, a synth and above all powerful voices praising the greatness of God…that is exactly that is on offer on this remarkable record coming out of Zimbabwe. Recorded in Harare and produced by Bothwell Nyamhondera. File under Gospel.
Machanic Manyeruke And The Puritans (Cook 025)
Released in 1989 by Gramma Records/Cooking Vinyl London UK