what music is and is not

Background: What differentiates the music of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill ’em All Gang, Danny Brown, The Brother Moves On, Jedi Mind Tricks, Babes Wodumo, Lira, Nduduzo Makhathini, Black Coffee, Poor Righteous Teachers, Beyonce or Bokani Dyer ? Besides the varying levels of musicality, attention to detail or lack thereof and the labels that are often imposed on the artists, is there such thing as an Equal Music? In other words, if there is such thing as superior and inferior types of music, what does this mean regarding the progression or regression of our societies? Does music have any real impact on the Souls of people and state of the communities we reside in?

There is this thing called jazz. Some see it as the most austere and serious type of art, while some do not pay much attention to it. Others have called it the only real Art-form that the United States of America has ever produced. But there are so much political and sociological undertones and overtones related to its use and abuse by all and sundry.

Today, I drove through town listening to everything from A Brother Moves On to Mike Del Ferro. It is all just music. Its all just a matter of choice and our choices have exponentially increased since the age of the internet. While I still occasionally buy music at the few stores that are still miraculously standing, and from its producers, I get most of my music through electronic exchanges with friends and through downloading and online stores. In other words we share. But how much good quality music is being shared in the broader community and does this effect the behavior or the quality of our society?

Here is what I have recently shared on my Facebook timeline:

At first I was not too sure whether I should write this as a blog post in one of the sites I use, either AmaReflections or on this Green Ankh Works one I frequently post on, to little fanfare.
So I went onto the Blog and after re-reading this half-poetic, half essay, totally serious rant by the ingenious artist Nicholas Payton, it was decided that this is the platform …to put all these thoughts into perspective.
Here is the scenario.
I am listening to Carlo Mombelli‘s Stories album, with songs featuring Mbuso Khoza, among others. Its a brilliant album with many moods, textures and of course multi-storied. Earlier today after listening to Mike Del Ferro’s recordings with Khoza on vocals, I walked into the BAT Centre‘s library to meet an acquaintance, only to gush out at Xolisa Roro Gqoli-Dlamini about the beauty of the music I heard. I was particulary moved by a song called Umlolozelo, which is actually a heart-wrenching rendition of a traditional Zulu “nursery rhyme”, or lullaby…the lyrics are rather bleak and sinister for a children’s song, but as we know, there is always a deeper meaning and a lesson behind all these so called children’s stories.

“Thula mntwana / uMama akekho, uyothez’ izinduku / Azongishaya ngazo / Ethi ngidle amasi / Kant’ adliwe yinja / inja kaGogo emabalabala …”
We shall write some other time about how the immaculately talented Khoza recreates this song into a prayer to the Great Mother, to the Great Spirit, to heal the land that us rife with Child and Women abuse. He even mentions his daughter and calls her the most beautiful girl in the world, and also mentions Allende, the little girl who was raped mutilated a couple of years ago in this beleaguered country.

For now, I wanted to write about this phenomenon called JAZZ. What it is and what it is NOT. If indeed there is anything which it is not. Like the music called Hip Hop and even Afro-Soul and Neo-Soul, these labels hide beneath them far greater resources, greater knowledge systems and expressions than the names can ever depict.
How doe we label the Spirit, the Force, the Impact of Music?
But this is not even about Labelling, I am concerned about WHAT music really represents in our societies.
I often think of the varieties of so called jazz, the styles and forms it takes are as multifarious as the people who play it, the ones who use it and the ones who appreciate it for a multitude of reasons.

 

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The Language of Dance

It has been a long time since I have witnessed a contemporary dance piece that moved me so much. Just a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to witness the collective multi-disciplinary installation of the Iqhiya Artists, a collective of women who met as students in Cape Town and subsequently formed a movement of themselves for various noble purposes. Although I did not spend a lot of time at the KZNSA viewing their installations, I really was captivated by some of the work they displayed and how they articulated themselves both individually and as a collective. Their work had an implicit and also explicit feminist tone. When they showed one of their films at Ikomkhulu Art Gallery, run by Amasosha Arts Movement, it generated a very healthy debate around questions of women’s invisibility both socially and as artists. A robust debate was had surrounding matters of patriarchal dominance of every conceivable social space and how women were challenging that and taking charge of their own narratives – moving away from the predominant colonial and male gazes and conditioning.

Tonight at the KZNSA Gallery I and I witnessed two elaborate and well executed dance movements. Part of the Jomba festivals, programs called Jomba! @ The KZNSA Gallery presents; Jomba!’s KZN ON THE EDGE…

The first piece, called “Otherwise” a sort of freestyle and interactive experience where almost all the members of the audience were included in the piece. . . It actually began with some of the dancers writhing and contorting  on the floor of the courtyard while some were seated among the audience. There was a lot of running to and fro, and despite the few clear communicative and Unitarian pieces of choreography, the work was rather long and had me lost after a while. But this does not take away from the dancers erudite and dedicated moves, whose language clearly depicted the struggles of an otherwise co-existential humanity.

What moved I and I mostly was the second piece, called ISIFUNGO. An English translation would be, The Oath or The Vow. Choreographed by celebrated dance educator and choreographer, Sifiso Khumalo from the well heeled FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY, featuring a fluid team of  Durban’s “young veterans” of contemporary dance; Gcina Shange, Zinhle Nzama, Njabulo Zungu, Jabu Sphika, Kirsty Ndawa and Thobile Maphanga. This was a truly remarkable work, as intense as it was gentle and nuanced with the themes of an Urban-Afrikan wedding, the inner turmoils of the bride and the groom as well as the family and community. The live musical accompaniment by Mdu and Siya was very evocative, I could not help but move…

This sight responsive work was so engaging visually and the choreography was so intense and evocative, it made me look into the oaths I have made myself and the circumstances and consequences thereof.

 

Decolonisation: Taxonomy, Epistemology and Technology Indirections

Zulumathabo on the Internet 2.0

I have just uploaded an abstract based on my scholarly paper Decolonisation: Taxonomy, Epistemology and Technology Indirections. The paper was a keynote address lecture at the Sociological Association of South Africa at the North West University – Mafikeng. The paper tackles the difficult question of the African knowledge being excluded from the official curriculum in South Africa despite the country attaining a democratic rule since 1994. Twenty three years have come and gone and the officialdom has not found an inventive solution to the problem of African knowledge exclusion from the official curriculum.

You can read the abstract at Academia.Edu and even comment on it.

All Giza Pyramids

Alternatively read PDF here:

Decolonisation and technology indirections

 

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Whither The Afrikan Renaissance?

Decolonisation: Taxonomy, Epistemology and Technology Indirections
By Zulumathabo Zulu © 2017
Abstract
The current official curriculum of South Africa has no relevance to the African experience in the various knowledge domains like mathematics, science, philosophy and methods of knowledge.

Thislack of curriculum relevance to the African phenomenon suggests some epistemic, paradigmatic and methodological gaps with respect to the existing body of knowledge. Moreover, the phenomenon of the #FeesMustFall student movement that began in South Africa in 2015, foregrounds the fact that the official curriculum is neither reflective nor responsive to the dialectical urgency of the African students whose cultural background is premised on the ethno-pluralistic schemata of African origin of knowledge.

This scholarly paper, using ethnographic and literature review research, investigates the non-Eurocentric methods used by the Africans to produce new forms of knowledge. It is shown, herein, that the erudite ancestors of the present-day Africans possessed a vast array of knowledge and discursive schemata which made them pioneers, in their own right, in the scientific areas such as chemistry, cosmology, engineering, therapeutics and philosophy.

In addition to the above, the Africans boasted literary and oral cultures that allowed them to produce superior works of knowledge and art contrary to the Europeans, such as George Hegel and others, who dismissed the African natives as being devoid of any knowledge producing capacities.

Sign of Tehuti

Word, Sound and Power

The Seven Minds

Neter Tehuti (NTR THT)

Appearance: Tehuti is portrayed as a man with the head of an Ibis wearing a crown of the full and crescent moon of the Sun; usually writing.

Western gods: Thot, Hermes

Symbols: Ibis, pen & tablet or papyrus (writing implements), Full and crescent moon, Baboon.

Principle: Resonance – (word/sound/power)
Function: Communication

Western Astrology Dates: 22 August to 23 September

Energies

Tehuti’s powers are concerned with the recording of ‘facts’ or ‘data’ for a cosmic memory that when necessary may reveal its ancient wisdom to whoever calls for it. His energy is said to break through mental barriers; it allows information to become known and secrets or ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’ ideas to be revealed.

Tehuti assists in the discovery of ‘lost knowledge’ but he communicates more directly with the mind in such a way as is said to ease mental confusion.

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