Drums For Tomorrow (BW096)
A better appreciation of music requires an understanding of social and cultural contexts, which are the pillars of interaction between spirits and people. It is a great shame, in commercial terms, that in order to see and enjoy what the artists are displaying these days, you have to pay.
Modernism has taken us by surprise and we went as far as embracing that in our hearts, forgetting that no music equals the original. When a composer sits down to write music s/he is applying a medium for transmitting feelings while at the same time calling upon people to share the experience.
Music or musicians are the living archives since in Africa we do not store or keep information on modern retrievable systems. Rather, we record events in human souls and minds and share the impressions with those that didn't have a chance to hear or witness these events at first hand.
In Africa, music had the more humble function of commemorating past actions rather than glorifying individuals, whish is what we mostly see today. What we hear from the group, Amampondo, can have sustenance and inspiration from the past, but the notion that history is doomed to repeat itself.
Action and harmonies in this group are not the introduction of the
acceptance of a tragedy but lamentation and an echo of the invisible
world. It will always be the case that, when you want to communicate
with your ancestors, you have to do that through music. All the members of Amampondo come from different backgrounds and what has united them into one is their unique idea, the preserving of culture. The beating of your pulse is the same as mine, your image is mine, therefore what is need is the moving together and the sharing of ideas. this is not just enriching your mind and soul, but everybody who is keen to understand the other side of life.
The spread of education, especially Western education, has toned down ancestral worshipping. Most Africans, especially the educated elite, have accepted Western civilisation as their new form of life and through that have learned to dress, speak, behave and live Western style. They do not participate or mix with what they call 'pagan societies' because of their status in society or the ideal to which they aspire. as a result, art and tribal dressing has vanished.
The flourishing of Western civilisation and the formations of its social norms led to the foundation of the group, Amampondo, who discovered that few people are interested in preserving the dying culture. Being the younger generation of African society, they felt it very important to work toward preserving culture in an art form. they are the guardians of African tradition.
The collaboration of M.E.L.T.2000 and Amampondo in sharing the idea of promoting this rich African music has suggested that much should be done to revive the decaying African heritage, not just for the present generation, but for the next to come.
by Lungile Gadezweni
Thanks to Making Music and their team... It all begun during the Outernational Meltdown gathering in Cape Town 1994, when Amampondo appeared for the first time with a large gathering of friends. It was a legendary concert with everybody on one big stage. From there I had to wait for two years to get Amampondo on my label because they were still tied up with their old label and their local representative wasn't very happy when he saw me hanging out in Langa, Amampondo's township on the outskirts of Cape Town. From the very first moment I worked with Amampondo I was convinced that I finally found the foundation of a project that had been in my head since the early 70's. Much like members of Amampondo, I'm influenced by Miles Davis. So, when we had the opportunity at the end of this recording session to play live at Bagleys' in London, there was the second stage of my future plan taking place. It was a great occasion and the crowd was so young I almost felt antique! The youth of jungle and techno raved to the music of Amampondo with Mabi Thobejane, Brice Wassy, Changuito, Byron Wallen and master percussionist Airto Moreira. So, if you see Amampondo advertised on a poster in your neighbourhood, make sure you get a ticket before the event is sold out because Amampondo and friends means live music, means dancing!
by Robert Trunz, March 1999
1. CUMBELELE (CHILDREN'S GAME)
by Simpiwe Matole, with traditional lyrics sung by Lungiswa. Cumbelele
is an African Xhosa game that is played by the children and the adults
join in. this game has everyone joining in, including Jeff Gordon on
alto saxophone, Jose Luis Quintana - 'Changuito' - on congas, Emanuel
Sejourné on vibraphone, Brice Wassy playing piccolo marimba, drums
& cowbell, Richard Ajileye's percussion and Airto's surdo.
Brice Wassy's signature tune, given the Amampondo treatment with lyrics by Lulu 'Lungiswa' Plaatjies.
3. NOBABHEHA (DEFEAT)
not think only of yourselves because we are all defeated. That is the
message of this song, written by Dizu Plaatjies and performed by the
4. KUDU JUNCTION Kudu
is a South African bock with large horns. There are numerous serious
car accidents at Kudu Junction involving Kudus as they charge into the
path of approaching car headlights. The horns that you hear are Kudu
horns, played by Amampondo. The drums & keyboar
ds are played by
5. SALAWENA (STAY IF YOU WANT TO)
and composed by Lungile Gadezweni, Dizu Plaatjies & Mantombi
Matotiyana and featuring the Amampondo Choir, this song asks, 'If you
stay here, what will you be doing? Stay if you want, but what are you
going to do?'
6. DRUMS FOR TOMORROW
couldn't play drums that night because it was getting late, so we
thought of our neighbours and decided to leave the 'drums for
tomorrow'! This composition by Mzwandile Qotoyi & Michael Nkululeko
Ludonga features the massed marimbas of Amampondo with Emmanuel
Sejourné on vibraphone, Papa Noel Ekwabi on bass and Changuito's
7. VUKANI NOBANILE (WAKE UP IF YOU ARE ASLEEP)
This is Mantombi Matotiyana's song.
means 'conversation' - it can be any conversation and this song by
Mzwandile Qotoyi - featuring the trumpet of Byron Wallen, Christoph
Stiefel playing Fender Rhodes piano, and Jeff Gordon on alto saxophone
- has something to say.
9. GUMBOOT DANCE
Producer Brice Wassy joins Amampondo in the gumboot dance.
10. COLLECTIVE FOR 'CHANGUITO'
ancestral drums of Michael Nkululeko Ludonga lead the djembes, with
Richard Ajileye on congas and Jose Luis Quintana - 'Changuito', himself
- on timbales in a song dedicated to the Cuban maestro.
Composed by Mantombi Matotiyana and performed by her on the mouth bow.
12. TERE TERE
and arranged by Dizu and featuring the Amampondo Choir with Mandisa
Menisi, Mandla Lande and Michael Nkululeko Ludonga playing drums;
Changuito playing timbales.
13. SKHAL'ABANTWANA (THE CHILDREN ARE CRYING)
A joint Amampondo production demonstrating just how the group get its reputation as the number one Marimba kings on the Cape.