natural mystic


I have just set up a new page – on which I am asking you to send me your favourite song. I love to chat about songs, learn the melodies, understand the lyrics and in general just to have fun with music.

Playing music for me is not really about the “performance” and how good the music is played – but the “social event”.

Playing music

Click to visit the “Send me a song” page and leave your favourite music there as a comment.

“I do not see myself as a performer but as somebody who shares her heartfeelings with others. I have fortunately, by the grace of God, the opportunity to sing my message to you on your stages. And if the media supports it – fine! This is an advantage for something I feel the world needs.” says Nneka.

I agree with her – I think artists these days focus too much on being the “artist” that in the process the “art” and the “sharing feelings” part is forgotten or at least it comes second to all other tasks artists have to do for the “industry“.

And here is how she shares her thoughts and feelings about Africa in her song “Africans” shot in Lagos, Nigeria:

Other quotes:

“It has to do with sounds.
Natural sounds from far up north.
Sounds of rivers with gentle waterfalls.
Sounds from trees though still.
Sounds from the mountain in their fix.

Sounds not only from chirping birds,
Also from least thought of pigs
Creaking doors tenderly pushed ajar
Whispers of wings in the divine space
All in the likeness
of melancholy thoughts.

Many, many years will go by,
Pain will be reduced to understanding
Tears will spell out acceptance
A boy so adored will grow
to find solace in the music
of the Ancestors
for decades to heal.”

Jerry ‘Monk’ Molelekwa
Father of Moses Taiwa Molelekwa

Rouvanne says Moses is one of his favourite SA artists – you can read his posts here and here – I feel the same way – so here is a post about him – though best is if you stop reading right now and listen to his work – you will see what I mean.

Moses Molelekwa (North Sea Jazz Festival - 2000)When I heard Moses’s music for the first time – I thought – wow – and that is all I could think of – when it comes to words – and I was just sitting there listening. The richness and shades of his sounds is amazing and comes so naturally one note after the other. There are artists that don’t have to sit down and write a song – they just start talking or playing and it instantly becomes a piece – so you can’t actually tell the difference when they talk or sing. When one listens to Moses Molelekwa play – it’s as if he was telling a story about the people on the street, the trees and the sky – you don’t really need to hear the words.

When I listen to music I don’t only listen but always think what makes a musician/artist write a song or paint a picture and write a poem (or a combination of all of these) – what exactly inspired him – who & what he/she saw, where he travelled, what experience made him write a song – in other words I take music as something that teaches me about a person, a place, about a situation – that is why I started my Natural mystic pages. Moses’ music vividly explains about his life – it is not music that makes you say – “yes I heard this a million times – it is just like this other piece” – it is music that makes you think : “He is walking down this road, it’s a late sunny afternoon, the birds are singing and …..” etc. etc.

Just listen & watch this video and you will see what I mean :

Hymn for Taiwa – by Moses Khumalo

Here in the OpenCafe we work to the jazzy sounds of artists like Hugh Masekela, Judith Sephuma, Baaba Maal, Vusi Mahlasela and very often Moses Molelekwa – one of our “musical geeks” Kagiso – who is very interested in Linux projects and also plays the saxophone – has his own favourite Molelekwa song which we always play when he is around – Hymn for Taiwa by Moses Khumalo – which is a tribute to a great musican by another jazz great. This song describes the feeling of many of us who love Moses’ music and are sad that he is not with us any more.

Here is another video from Rouvanne’s video collection entitled “Moses Taiwa Molelekwa – jazz genius“:

Other posts on music:

I have become interested in different West African cultures – while I was a student in Tunis.

While we were students there – we got to meet many other students and their families from Mauritania, Senegal, Chad, Niger amongst others – there was no end to the cultural evenings, parties, discussions – especially during those Ramadan nights. The stories went from person to person – there was almost a rhythm to it – after a while one didn’t even realise who was doing the talking – all that one needed is a sip of tea – that seem to have started the stories that continued through the night.

I hope I will get the chance to discover more of the cultures and music of these places – for now here is a selection of videos as an introduction to this land that fuses Arabic scales, Afro-Cuban cultures, and much more … :

The film “Nyama”by Sol Productions :

“A documentary film in the works, Nyama explores the links between traditional West African griot music and hip hop in Africa and throughout the West. ” (See other Sol Productions videos here.)

Baaba Maal is one if my favourite musicians – watching his Palm World Voices documentary – taught me about the same essential lessons as the ones I learnt from the Calcutta trio – it is your responsibility to discover your true talents, search for your teachers and never abandon your studies since it takes a life time (or two) to acquire the knowledge that enables you to excel in what you do.

Here is the trailer – buy the DVD and CDs here:

In this next podcast Baaba talks about his home town, Podor, where the different cultures of Senegal, Mauritania, and the cultures of the Maghreb came together to create a fusion that is an amazing example of how we all influence each others cultures and traditions in so many ways without even noticing it.

A quote from Yehudi Menuhin, one of the best classical violinist ever:

“Each human being has the eternal duty of transforming what is hard and brutal into a subtle and tender offering, what is crude into refinement, what is ugly into beauty, ignorance into knowledge, confrontation into collaboration, thereby rediscovering the child’s dream of a creative reality incessantly renewed by death, the servant of life, and by life the servant of love”.

Theres a natural mystic blowing through the air;
If you listen carefully now you will hear. – Bob Marley

Kora

One is always wondering about things one can’t explain. Music has mystical powers – it influences its audience in many different ways. I have always been curious about the mystical power of music & art – and so I decided to start start gathering thoughts together on this topic.

I was busy creating a music page as part of this blog – and like most music pages of most other blogs – I was planning to put a list of links to artists I like. Then I thought – that doesn’t make sense – it has to be something different.

Since I have many many musical stories I could tell – each song I love reminds me of people I have met, places I have seen, lessons I have learnt – this blog is already becoming a collection of musical experiences – so I thought I would rather create a page that tries to put you into my shoes and tells the story of each song, each artist rather then just writing down a name and linking it to the “official site” of so and so.

So here is a bit of an introduction to all of that ….:

(more…)

“De La Rey, De La Rey sal jy die Boere kom lei? ”
“De la Rey, De la Rey Will you come to lead the Boers?”

Recently the “De La Rey song” appeared on the scene. Since it is in Afrikaans I didn’t really focus on the lyrics – want my Afrikaans is nie baie goed nie 🙂 though I understand most discussions around me by now. The tune is really catchy – one tends to hum along with the melody. (more…)

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