Sounds featured on the listening posts in the Music Section in the Cape Town Central Library. Basically, the hits on PASS radio (www.panafricanspacestation.org.za)
Udaba, Live At Grahamstown National Arts Festival, 2008 (Unreleased)
Udaba (The Matter at hand) is a collective of scholars, artists and cultural entrepreneurs engaged in the production of a musical project, their debut album Umculo Buciko. Their music is a politically engaged, slamming jazz poetry that fuses vernacular lyricism, Xhosa praise singing and African indigenous music.
C2, F4, M3
Kamau Braithwaite, “Negus” – from Praise Poems, 57 Productions
Kamau Brathwaite is one of the major voices in the Caribbean literature. His poetry comprises experimental linguistic (and often multilingual) explorations of African identity. As a historian, Brathwaite went in search of the African roots of the Caribbean people, with the aim of formulating a common identity.
Brathwaite’s poem “Negus” speaks to the need to create a body of knowledge other than those of empire; another language that would allow him to “refashion futures”, to find words with which to think and speak otherwise.
C3, I1, I4
Jayne Cortez (feat. Ornette Coleman), “There Are No Simple Explanations” – from Find Your Own Voice, Bola Press, 2003
Poet, musician, activist, and entrepreneur Jayne Cortez lives in New York City and Dakar. Her work provides a literary link between the chilling fire, super bitchiness and dignity of jazz and blues queens like Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington and the empowered voices of the later black feminist poets. Her voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic, dynamic innovations in lyricism, and visceral sound. She is the author of ten books of poems and performer of her poetry with music on nine recordings.
A3, C5, D5, I3, M1
Franco, “Na Lingaka Yo Yo Te” – from Franco Et Le T.P.O.K. Jazz A Bruxelles, Visa, 1980
The grand master of pan-African music and one of the inventors of modern Congolese music, Franco’s songs combined humour, warmth and social commentary with fiery dance rhythms. His pan-African outlook and down to earth humanity made him a star across the continent. When Franco died in 1989, Zaire (now DRC) went into national mourning for four days, while the radio played only his music. Nuff said.
B3, F6, R6
No Pass but 6 Passports – the life and work Miriam “Mazi” Makeba, PASS radio (www.panafricanspacestation.org.za), 2008
No Pass but 6 Passports – the life and work Miriam “Mazi” Makeba is a tribute mix to Makeba performed live on PASS radio (www.panafricanspacestation.org.za), Sunday 23 Nov 2008. The mix features interview excerpts and nuggets from Mazi’s songbook selected by Ntone Edjabe.
B7, M2, W1
Victor Gama, “Huyra y Coma” – from Periferico: sounds from beyond the bubble, Sonic Arts Network, 2007
Angolan composer, theorist and performer Victor Gama creates music using a method he calls the Golian Modes where the construction of the instrument is introduced into the writing process. His theory draws on traditional instruments, technology and knowledge systems, particularly from Angola, whilst employing cutting edge technologies.
This track comes from the tenth installment of Sonic Arts Network CD series, Periferico: Sounds from beyond the bubble curated by Gama and explores music from ‘threatening zones of silence’ where the west has created a sphere of military, economic and cultural dominance over the rest of the world.
C6, F3, F6, L3, M2, R6, W3
Njabulo Ndebele, live at the Writer Festival, 2004 (unreleased)
Njabulo Ndebele is an academic, a literary critic and a writer of fiction. His highly influential critical essays were published in South African Literature and Culture: Rediscovery of the Ordinary (1991) and Fine Lines from the Box: further thoughts about our country (2007). In this excerpt from his interview at the 2004 Time of the Writer Festival in Durban, he speaks on fact, fiction and writing The Cry of Winnie Mandela.
B5, D5, I3, R7, S9
Johnson, Linton Kwesi, LKJ A Cappella Live, LKJ Records UK, 1996
Few artists have married poetry, politics and music with such single-minded precision or career-spanning dedication as dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. His lyrical verse and reggae combines rhythm and roots to articulate everyday oppressions and struggles. He has performed extensively touring countries as far apart as Japan, South Africa, Italy and Canada with the Dennis Bovell Dub Band. A Cappella is from a compilation of his readings from the 1990s.
B7, M2, W1, C2, D5, R1
Boikutt & Ramallah Underground, “Taht il Ankad” – from Periferico: sounds from beyond the bubble, Sonic Arts Network, 2007
Ramallah Underground, a collective of artists and musicians based in Ramallah, was born from the immediacy of musical experimentation and the need to give voice to a generation of Palestinians and Arabs who face a turbulent and uncertain political landscape. Boikutt is one of RU’s founders (with Stormtrap, and Aswatt).
B5, L1, P9, R6
Amina & Amiri Baraka, “Nightmare Bush’It Whirl” – from Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective, Public Transit Recordings, 2007
A poet, playwright, critic, novelist and revolutionary political activist, Amiri Baraka is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism. With influences on his work ranging from musicians such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Sun Ra to the Cuban Revolution, Malcolm X and world revolutionary movements, Baraka is renowned as the founder of the seminal Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s. Here Baraka and his wife Amina perform a flip of Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do”.