Maske by Phyllis Galembo -Makishi & Lakishi masquerades & more

see also even more African tribal dances; Shangaan & Makishi dancers & singers

Maske Phyllis Galembo -cover
Maske Phyllis Galembo -cover

one of the most fascinating books about African masks that I own must be ‘Maske’ by Phyllis Galembo,  a professor of Art at the State University of New York whose pictures are frequently exhibited in museums around the world. Her work is also collected by all major institutions such as the Library of Congress in Washington DC, the MOMA in NYC etc.

Galembo’s previous books include “Divine Inspiration; From Benin to Bahia” (1993), ‘Vodou, Visions and Voices from Haiti “(1998) and” Dressed for Thrills, 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerades “(2002). From Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Benin to Haiti “Maske”(2010) showcases the most beautiful photographs of masquerades from Africa and its diaspora. A well recommended photobook!

Maske Phyllis Galembo -Chileya (wise male ancestor) Likishi Masquerade, Kaoma, Zambia 2007
Maske Phyllis Galembo -Chileya (wise male ancestor) Likishi Masquerade, Kaoma, Zambia 2007
Maske Phyllis Galembo -KaJet (Airplane) Likishi Masquerade, Kaoma, Zambia 2007
Maske Phyllis Galembo -Kambulo and Kapada (they start the dance) -Makishi Masquerade, Kaoma,Zambia 2007
Maske Phyllis Galembo -Kambulo and Kapada (they start the dance) -Makishi Masquerade, Kaoma, Zambia 2007
Maske Phyllis Galembo -Kanjelela - Zambia 2007
Maske Phyllis Galembo -Kanjelela (the biggest one) – Likishi Masquerade, Kaoma, Zambia 2007

For over two decades, Phyllis Galembo has documented cultural and religious traditions in Africa and the African diaspora. Her subjects are participants in masquerade events-traditional African ceremonies and contemporary fancy dress and carnival-who use costume, body paint and masks to create mythic characters . Sometimes entertaining and humorous, or dark and frightening, her portraits document and describe the transformative power of the mask. With a title derived from the Haitian Kreyòl word ‘maské’, meaning ‘to wear a mask’, this album features a selection of over a hundred of the best of Galembo’s masquerade photographs to date. Organised country-based chapters, each with her own commentary.

Introduction by Chika Okeke-Agulu

First published 2010 by Chris Boot

ISBN 978-1-905712-17-5

for more information visit http://www.chrisboot.com

this post includes text from the original liner notes and pictures from the book

Dube Shangaan Drums Group, Princess Jokazi and her Group

This 45 rpm EP was released in the early 1960’s as part of a series on African Tribal dances, performed at the Witwatersrand Goldmines near Johannesburg. Side one features recordings by the Dube Shangaan Drums Group while the other side has 2 tracks recorded in the Xhosa language by Princess Jokazi and her Group (Witchdoctor)

See also dances from the Witwatersrand Gold Mines and more African tribal dances from the Witwatersrand Gold Mines

African drumbeat ep -His Master’s Voice 7EPJ5, South Africa

Dube Shangaan Drums Group -Tiba

 Princess Jokazi and her Group (Witchdoctor) -Tikoloshe

In Zulu mythology, Tikoloshe, Tokoloshe or Hili (from the Xhosa word utyreeci ukujamaal) is a dwarf-like water sprite. It is considered a mischievous and evil spirit that can become invisible by swallowing a pebble. Tokoloshes are called upon by malevolent people to cause trouble for others. At its least harmful a tokoloshe can be used to scare children, but its power extends to causing illness and even death upon the victim. The way to get rid of him is to call in the n’anga (witch doctor), who has the power to banish him from the area.*

*source wiki

the Bleached Zulu Pt 3 -The Shangaans -frontiers of Afrocentric Rock

If there is one white pop band that deserves to be crowned as the Bleached Zulu then it must be the South African group The Shangaans. They even adopted their name from an African tribe noted for their musical virtuosity. See previous post  for the song “Liwa Wechi”, the B-side of their hitsingle “The Click Song” (Columbia 45-DSA 612, 1965)

Now here are a few selections from their 1965 debut album “Jungle Drums”, remarkable fact is that both tracks were written by Miriam Makeba. The album was released in the UK and spawned many hit singles and a overseas career for the 5 young guys known as The Shangaans. Not a bad achievement considering the fact that the international boycot against South African apartheid then ruled the world.

The Shangaans -Ntijilo, Ntjilo

The fusion of conventional western world melodies and lyrics with pulsating African tribal rhythms –as perfected by South Africa’s top group The Shangaans –represents one of the most exciting, out-of-the-rut sounds ever heard on the British music scene. After hitting the highspots throughout South Africa, the five-strong Shangaans arrived in the UK in the summer of 1965 and immediately clicked in a big way with fans via two big –selling songs “Genzene” and “The Click Song”. Now comes their first album and the overall title ‘Jungle Drums’ aptly summarizes their unique, highly individual style of exotic, percussion-based pop music.

The use of stereophonic sound greatly enriches the never-ending cross-pattern of percussive sounds from a wide variety of authentic African instruments –including chopi piano, kalimba, and any amount of big and small tribal drums. Although basically an instrumental set –with such highspots as the throbbing revival of the Lou Busch favourite, “Zambezi”, and the kwela flavoured “Afrikaan Beat” –The Shangaans, nevertheless, are accomplished singers too, and show their paces in fine style on “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (perhaps better known in some quarters as “Wimoweh”.

The Shangaans -Jikal ‘Emaweni

Who are The Shangaans? Their names are Grahame Beggs, Alain Woolf, Mark Barry, Bill Muller and Glen “Tich” Muller. They represent the cream of the South African music scene, since all five have made their mark in the past with other leading groups. Individually, they are brilliant musicians; collectively, they make a remarkable, multi-talented outfit. Grahame doubles lead, rhythm and 12-string guitars, plus maracas and African drums, whilst Alain handles the lead, vocals, penny whistle, and a host of percussion instruments. Organist Mark is also featured on piano, celeste, chopi piano, and vibraphone, and Bill Muller doubles drums, thumb piano and African drums. Younger brother Glen completes the picture on bass guitar, doubling African percussion.


musical selections from The Shangaans -“Jungle Drums”

Columbia Mono 33JSX 76, 1965 South Africa

Tracklist
A1 Taboo
A2 Yellow Bird
A3 Afrikaan Beat
A4 Watusi
A5 Skokiaan
A6 The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)
B1 Zambezi
B2 A Swingin’ Safari
B3 Ntjilo, Ntjilo
B4 Inhlazane
B5 Jikal ‘Emaweni
B6 Voodoo Drums
Credits

Bass Guitar, Percussion – Glen “Tich” Muller
Drums, Thumb Piano, Percussion – Bill Muller
Guitar, Vocals, Percussion – Grahame Beggs
Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Celeste, Chopi Piano – Mark Barry
Vocals, Percussion, Whistle – Alain Woolf

Info taken from the liner notes written by Dave Wynn for “Jungle Drums” album released in 1965.


even more African tribal dances; Shangaan & Makishi dancers & singers

The so called Shonas (named by the Ndebeles) are a mixture of the Ndaus, Karangas, Korekore(kwerekwere). These people  migrated to Zimbabwe from Tanzania (Tanganyika) as the Bantu. They split into many groups , some live in SA, Mozambique and Zimbabwe eg the Shangaan people. The Shangaan are a mixture of Nguni language group which includes Swazi, Zulu and Xhosa, and Tsonga speakers (Ronga, Ndzawu, Shona, Chopi tribes).

Mambuaulela Makhubela & his Shangaan Drum Dancers -Park Station

about Shangaan Dance

In the Shangaan tradition, the storyteller is the grandmother or elder woman of the family who is the respected transmitter of the old stories. The old woman, called Garingani, or narrator, begins her storytelling by saying “Garingani, n’wana wa Garingani!” – “I am Narrator, daughter of Narrator!” after which the crowd cheers “Garingani”. The crowd chants her name after each line of the story.

With a love for music, the Shangaan people have developed a number of musical instruments. The ‘fayi’ – a small, stubby wooden flute that produces a breathless, raspy, but haunting sound, and is often played by young herd boys. The ‘xitende’, is a long thin bow tied on each end by a taut leather thong or wire – which runs across a gourd. This was often used to alleviate boredom on long journeys.

Amakwaya Shangaan Choir

The Shangaan is well known for their mine dances, carried out to the beat of drums and horns and wide variety of musical instruments such as the mbira. Shangaan male dancers performed the muchongolo dance, which celebrated the role of women in society, war victories and ritual ceremonies.

see also previous post Shangaan mine dances at the Witwatersrandmines

about Makishi Dance

As with most African customs, song and dance is crucial to their ceremonies. The makishi are shrouded in secrecy and it is taboo to ask who hides behind the mask. The makishi are spirits that represent the ancestors and they command the utmost respect. The makishi normally appear during the mukanda (circumcision ceremony), then return to their graves immediately afterwards. Their appearance creates an eerie but fascinating atmosphere.

Makishi dancers & singers


Makishi dancers have intrigued and intimidated audiences for centuries. The Makishi attach themselves to the world of spirits and demons and, while dancing, lose their personal identity, becoming the character they portray. The Shangaan, by contrast, are fighters and hunters, boasting of their bravery and strength in vigorous authentic group dancing, stamping their feet on bare earth, raising the dust and rushing at the audience in mock-attacks.

See video Makishi & other dances

A selection of different dances from the Shangaan, Makishi and Nyau tribes.


Musical selections taken from the EP ‘Shangaan Musa’ Gallo FP1 Johannesburg, South Africa.

Pics by Falls Promotion, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Content taken from various sources including the linernotes.

Shangaan Vocal GT Makhubele



one of the seven black languages of South Africa is Shangaan. It is spoken by a large group of people living mainly in southern Mozambique in Maputo and in Gaza Province; there is also a large Shangaan grouping in Limpopo Province in South Africa. In South Africa the Shangaan are called the Tsonga.

See also my previous post on the Makwaya Dance by the Amakwaya Shangaan tribe

The songs on the album ‘Xiverengi Nr 1’  by G.T. Makhubele are sung in Shangaan.  The disc is probably a demo or promotion copy, pressed by Gallo  in 1994. Was this record ever commercially released ?

Who is G.T.? No record cover nor liner notes to verify.  Google did not bring any further insight so the music will have to speak for itself.  Mystery record of the week!

GT Makhubele -E Hotel

GT Makhubele -Imani Mubiwa Kinari


hip to the jive

I can’t think of a better way to end  the year 2009 than with a groovy mix for the holiday season. One song chosen for each month of the year with just one more for good luck…13 songs in one mix of 35 minutes. Time to celebrate!

2009 has been a great year for Soul Safari, and I’m very happy to have met, conversed and shared music with so many kindred spirits from all over the world who are hip to the jive…

for the mix I selected several  musical styles from many different ethnic groups from around South Africa; Zulu, Shangaan,  Sotho, mbaqanga, some kwela….and I wanted the mood of the compilation to be happy, vibrant, energetic, just a great danceable jive to fit the festive days ahead.



1. Kid JoJo -Peanut Bump

2. Boyoyo Boys -Daveyton Special

3. Osiyazi -Sibaya Reception

4. Pikinini Khumbuza -Jackpot

5. Elias Mathebula & The Chivani Sisters -Ntlela A Tingangeni

6. Majozi -Ngimbonile Ubaba

7. Umakhathakhathananmachunu -Ezweni Likshaka

8. Majakathatha -Ke Saea Maseru

9. Izazi –Bayesutha

10.Dilika -Ngayishela Yavuma

11. Manka Le Phallang -Khutsana

12. Mzikayifani Buthelezi -Themba

13. Amahlokohloko -Asisangenelani

download ‘hip to the jive’ here


Happy Holidays & best wishes for 2010 from Soul Safari!



more African tribal dances from the Witwatersrand Gold Mines

YEBO! greetings from South Africa!

I just came back from a few weeks in South Africa where I was on a vinyl  safari throughout the land.  Some real great moments spent this time with a few hunters and  kindred spirits alike and brought back a big selection of rare vinyl and some books as well. Watch these pages the coming months as I will share some of these treasures …

On one of my hunting trips I found this beautiful book with gorgeous photographs by Merlyn Severn. The content is very well documented and researched as the dances have been selected by Hugh Tracey at the Witwatersrand Gold Mines. Hugh Tracey has long been known for his intimate studies of the music, dances and stories of many of the Bantu Tribes of South and Central Africa. His enthusiasm for the art of the genuine African musician, dancer and storyteller was largely responsible for the establishment of the African Music Society.

Merlyn Severn has specialised for many years in the photography of dance action. Her two well-known books on ballet placed her in the front rank of dance photographers in England many years before she visited Africa and collaborated with Hugh Tracey to produce this series of brilliant studies of African mine dances.

African country dances have been transported into the environment of modern industry and undergone a corresponding mutation, but these excellent illustrations convey at once the eternal fascination and sincerity of this age-old recreation,  the most important of  all the African arts.

here is a selection starting with the Mchopi tribe. The Chopi or Mchopi tribe may well be one of the most musical of all Bantu tribes. Their xylophone orchestras have made them famous. The skill with which they make their instruments, the complexities of the dance itself, the excellence of their lyrics, all combine to place their music, poetry and dancing on a plane well above those of most African peoples.

Mchopi tribe -Timbila dance


one of the rattle players or ‘mdoto wanjele’

*

there are three distinct dances performed by Xhosa men. The first is done by the Amakwenkwe or youths; the second is danced ritually by the Abakweta, the initiates to manhood; and the third is performed only by the Amadoda, grown men after their initiation and acceptance into full social responsibility.

Amakwenkwe Xhosa tribe -dance for young men accompanied by concertina and whistle

*

The Shangaan people are distantly related on their father’s side to the South African Nguni. They are one of the splashes thrown out by the Zulu melting pot of the early 19th century. Today they are a conglomerate of tribes speaking  three or four languages in the Tsonga group all calling themselves ‘Shangaan’.

Amakwaya Shangaan tribe -Makwaya Dance

The song with miming gestures often sung in mine patois, ‘Fanakalo’.

all photographs by Merlyn Severn, excerpts from the book ‘African Dances of the Witwatersrand Gold Mines’ by Hugh Tracey. Published by African Music Society, first edition October 1952

*

all musical selections from ‘African Tribal Dances at the Witwatersrand Gold Mines’. CBS ALD 6624