5th of june 14:23 pm
Arrived from JHB airport. Simphiwe came to fetch me with his car. We drove directly to that place in Kensington. The weather is cold for them apparently. 14°c on day time. There is an unusual wind blowing through the city that brings the cold. Tonight it going to be 0°c.
On the photo you can see the view from the terrace of the patio where I live. The people from this neighborhood are mostly immigrants. Tessa, the landlord, tells me: "see the towers on the left ?", "this place is not friendly, don't go there alone".
She went to meet a future tenant in the small cottage next to mine. Her dog "Tark" feels unsecure while waiting for her.
At Nikki's Oasis
11th June 2014 15:00
I met Ariel during a concert in the new Orbit jazz club of Joburg.
We jammed together with Ayanda this afternoon.
Here's a small excerpt of what happened.
Recorded in a Garage with door opened so that the neighbours can relax with the music...
Nothing to do with anything but here's THE Song. Ooohh Yeaaaah !!!
18th of june 2014
Bra Herbie Tsoaeli
I met him that night on the 18th of june 2014. He was playing his double bass on stage before the soundcheck. We looked at each other but didn't make a move until Ayanda introduced us. "Ooooh Ganesh, so you are that cat from the Rainmakers?! So nice to see you, and thank you for coming to our gig!".
He has a sound that brings you back to your roots. Where ever you come from.
When he sings... that I cannot explain. You should attend a live concert for that. But be sure that it is going to be intense.
That is not the first time I met him. We got introduced in the Orbit jazz club during a big band concert.
A young tenor player that has this discrete attitude but when on fire he can blow you off. I am happy to have met this guy. He's such a talented saxophone player. And has been so nice to me since the first day. Big up to Sisonke !
I was walking down the road towards that venue called the Bassline. I couldn't find the entrance until this tall guy waves at me. Ayanda has been talking to me about him for a long time. We talked on the phone but that's all and now we are like two old friends.
Always smiling he brings a really good vibe to band. He says to me that he likes when the music gets elastic. And now I understand more what he was explaining to me. His phrasing on montunos are amazing. I can't wait to play with that giant piano player.
I don't have to introduced him to you as he is here with me from the beginning. We were reminding us when we first met. 3 years ago. I had never heard of him and we started playing together. I knew at that time that we had to do something together. Ayanda is an inspiration to me not only in musical terms but in his way of living. He sees life as no one else I've met. Anything he can do from playing his drums, talking about music or cooking something is done with the best possible involvement. He is life !
His energy is beautifully contagious and this brought me to remember the importance of the present moment.
I am very honored to have met this soul. Our work is only beginning but is already giving me so much emotions.
Thank you Mfethu Ayanda !
This was the first time that I could hear and watch him play from the audience and I was to live that.
And the night was long...
After the gig, we all went to the African Freedom Station where Bra Steve was waiting for us. We drank tee and discussed until 4 am. The cold was there but we managed to forget it for a while.
Bra Steve is a very kind person. His voice is warm and the words he chooses are the best ones. It is such a pleasure just to listen to him. He showed me his paintings in the small room at the back and I can't wait to go and play in his "chapel" as he calls it.
I am looking forward to meeting him again.
We should go and eat something before taking Nduduzo at the airport.
Some documentaries I find interesting
I've experienced the festival because of the Rainmakers. We did two concerts. So here's some photos of the trip.
Bra Dizu Plaatjies & myself
23rd of July 2014
I will never forget this day when I first met Bra Dizu Plaatjies.
I went to see him this afternoon at the College of Music. As soon as Bokani introduced us, we had some common things going on and we didn't stop talking for 3 hours or so.
Something really special happened for me today, and as I understood, for him too. The connection went so well that we are already planning some future meetings. This will bring us to work together I am sure. No words can express what I am trying to say and it should stay like that.
I just want to say that I have a huge respect for him as a human being and as a musician.
My brother from another time, our souls know each other from long ago, Thank you Bra Dizu !
1st of August 2014
After a short break back in Joburg, here we are between East London and Lady Frere in Eastern Cape.
The road is about 3 hours.
Sheep's head with bread for lunch
The dry land around us is hiding some creatures coming out from the ground.
The roads become rocky, we drive slower. Everything is going slower in this part of the country. People don't run but they walk a lot. And it is still the best way to do it.
Ngqoko Village, my new home.
An old traditional house falling apart.
I am quickly getting a sense of the place by walking around and greeting everybody.
And the kids are happy to try an english word.
Same village but on the other side of the river. Where the grannys are living. I am standing there and watching the people going and coming back to get the water to the river. I should do the same.
In this village there is a small groups of old ladies that singing and play music in the old way. It was a tradition that everybody would do. There was competitions between villages on the best singers, dancers, umgube players. Unfortunately the tradition is now slowly disappearing. These two women are one of the last still alive. I met them on the next day of arrival. And here they are going back home slowly but steadily.
Akhona is a young shepherd from the village, he was coming to see us every morning. He just came back from boys initiation. We made friends and he told us that he didn't want to see us leave so he didn't come the last day.
6th August 2014
We are in the village of Ngqoko. There is a special meeting where all the old ladies from the village come to sing and collect money amongst them that will be used for activities like sports.
I was there with my recording device and couldn't resist to get something from this moment.
They sang and chatted for more than one hour. I am amazed on how music is always present everywhere. The songs are about events that happened in the villages, they would never forget these stories because they get together and sing them.
Some moments were really powerful like this one:
8th August 2014
I had the opportunity to attend some part of the initiation of a boy. Which is the process of growing man and being circumcised. After spending 3 weeks in the mountains the boys come back to the village. They will have to listen to the wisdom words of the women.
We drove about 2 hours with our small car through the rocky mountains and arrived late. The whole village was sitting in circle. After the greetings, they invite me into the room where the women give to the boy some wisdom words. That boy is a man now. He is listening to the dozen women that are talking simultaneously to him.
It sounds like a meditation.
One song after another and the speeches started. Most of the women inside the room gave some wisdom words to the boy sitting at the back. Here's his friend sitting with him.
The next recording was one of them. They all started very gently, with a warm voice but soon the tone would climb and the heat would go up. It is very impressing to hear this and feel this moment. I wish I could understand Xhosa.
Every women had a moment alone after that to say something to the new man.
The session is over, we are walking out. Back on the road to Ngqoko village.
The view is like this:
Back at Ngqoko, we pass by a group of people, it happens to be another boy initiation. They are coming back from the mountain, You can see them in the middle hold by one of their friends. They will walk from the mountain to the village with singing, dancing and stick fighting which is of course not for real.
I was following them trying to be invisible.
All the men of the villages in this Xhosa kingdom have been through the same initiation.
Some recordings of my two grannys in Ngqoko Village.
Tata (grandpa) joined us to sing.
Here are my two guest in front of the place we used to live in.
I love the way they play together. They have been doing this for many years.
That day was sunny and warm. We can hear in the background some people working. At some point you will hear the chicken that was waking us up every morning at 6h.
Just a few words for my two grandmothers with whom I have spend 13 days of songs, chants, and dance. I am going to miss you both really much but will come back for sure. Your voices are forever in my heart.