Tuesday, September 26, 2006

relaxing weekend and busy week!

Hello everyone!
greetings again from South Africa! It's been a busy and fun time.
live music most nights, fun times with old and new friends.
i'll try and pick up where i left off - thursday last week.
thursday i was on a panel with a guy from a label here and we were talking about the ways to make money of digital downloads. we're both a bit bullish on the download market, so the panel wasn't quite balanced, but we had a good discussion with the people in attendance anyways. there was also an interesting panel on the ways to exploit and preserve indigenous music.
thursday night we had a dinner with all sorts of government folks. it is amazing to look at the people now serving in government and think of all they (and the whole country) have been through in the past 15 years. inspiring to say the least.
and afterwards, this group "stimela" played. wonderful. i'd met their guitarist and singer earlier in the day, courtesy of my new friend andrew, and they played an inspired set for the enthusiastic crowd of 200. great music, great messages, including one song where ray, the lead singer, was basically chanting "use a condom" the whole chorus. that and some funny plays on words around playing with ones self were quite amusing and also inspiring. artists need to speak directly to people about AIDS and these important issues facing south africa.

friday morning i was out of the hotel by 6 am headed to SABC studios for a tv interview with nic, the head of SAMRO and moshito.
showed up, went to the green room, to make up, back to the green room and then straight onto the set. the anchor man was reading the paper during commercials, they had nic and me mic'ed within 1 minute flat, and then the anchor read the news and came straight to us. some good questions, and i think we had some good answers. hempza and his mother both watched and gave me good feedback, and i think it went well. got to plug calabash a bit and deliver our "obscurity is a worse threat than piracy" line, which is a great one.

later in the day, i was on another panel, spur of the moment, which went ok. i also got a chance to look around the museum africa, where the conference was held. great exhibits, showing the history and struggle of south africa, as well as a special music exhibit set up for the conference and the heritage month, which we are in the middle of right now here.

friday night we got to see a show by the artist philip tabani (i know i'm spelling his name wrong, but i'll fix it when i find my ticket). anyway, great guitar player, did some seriously funky blues style stuff, as well as gimmicky but great playing of the guitar with his teeth and head and other fun ways.

after that, hempza and andrew and i headed out to a club to check the launch of adrian's new band. nice stuff, but indy rock is tough after such sweet blues. managed to have some great interesting talks with adrian and hempza and hempza's friends as well though.

saturday was a rest day. some shopping around and wandering around and then off on saturday night to see a show by "arts alive" (http://www.joburg.org.za/artsalive/calendar.stm). they featured 3 zulu acts, and had as opener a male chorus in the style of ladysmith black mambazo. they had been having a competition all day long, and this group won the competition and got to open for:
Phuzekhemisi, Shwi Nomtekhala, Ihashi'elimhlophe (they played in reverse order)

awesome stuff. traditional music and dancing, and these are 3 of the top selling groups in south africa.

sunday was again to rest a bit. more shopping about and then on to a studio to hear some of vusi khumalo's new tracks for his new album (http://vusikhumalo.calabashmusic.com)
great stuff. so much great south african music.

then the engineer and i went out to dinner and a bit of house dancing later with some of his friends which was a good time.

yesterday was a national holiday, and i planned to spend the day with hempza. we met up around noon, and as it was his birthday, his mom had prepared a picnic lunch, which we took to the zoo, and chilled on the grass there on some of their vast open space at the zoo. we met one of hempza's aunts and one cousin there. and got to wander around after lunch and check the animals. i've got lots of pictures for you all later.

hempza and i had dinner and then met up with sipho and os12 for drinks later.

this morning i did an interview with a bbc reporter staying at the same guest house as me, and then i headed out for my meetings. finished 4 meetings by 1.30 and have been chilling since then. i'm supposed to do another interview later today and then have dinner with my south african cousins.


i'm tired writing all this stuff i've done.
anyway, i have a mix of fun and work left here, and at least 1 more show to go to.
i'm bringing back lots of music and photos, so i'm excited to share that all with you.
peace. and love.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

SA update 1

tired me. it's been a busy busy week.
i arrived on tuesday after leaving early monday
morning. over 24 hours door to door.
got picked up at the airport and taken to my (4star)
hotel. unpacked, wandered around the mall next door,
got some food, and hempza showed up for a second to
say hi and hang.
wednesday early we got picked up and driven downtown
to newtown to the museum africa in joburg.
the conference is good. large and enthuiastic folks
from all parts of the music industry.
my speech went well, wasn't quite sure if i connected
with people where they are at with their knowledge of
the digital music industry, but i've been getting good
feedback from folks so far. after the conference, we
headed to dinner at another hotel. we = the out of
town/international invited guests, who are an
englishman, a couple germans, an american living in
germany, a south african from durban and me. dinner
was with the organizing committee. i got picked up
from dinner and we went down to the bassline to see
sipho's new artist "zulu boy" launch his new album.
nice stuff. hung out with hempza, and saw some friends
from the last trip, including a canadian artist oz12,
who is guesting on zulu boy's album.
today is more busy conference, i was on a panel, and
then live on a SABC radio interview. nice.
tomorrow, i'm on live SABC television, morning live,
early in the morning. so here's to coffee! as we're
headed to another concert/dinner tonight.
hope all is well with you.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

SA Redux

So i get to be in South Africa for a big holiday!

24 September: Heritage Day
Nelson Mandela coined the phrase "rainbow nation" to describe South Africa's diverse cultures, customs, traditions, histories, and languages. This day is a celebration of that diversity.

I'll let you all know how that goes. See if SA can show the world a peaceful rainbow nation, which we here in the USA have so far failed to do . . . .

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Playlist for peace. . .


As a Quaker, I grew up in a culture of peace. My grandfather was a Conscientious Objector in WWII, and life long activist for peace and social justice, giving me an amazing example of the commitment needed to create lasting peace and the value of the peacemakers among us. There are many ways for each of us to bring peace into our own lives and into our communities. Many of the musicians on Calabash Music use their music to bring peace into our world, and I've put together a small selection of these artists here. Some of them are from war zones, one was a child soldier, some are calling for peace based on religious reasons, some for personal reasons. All are unified in one goal – peace. As we mark the 5th anniversary of 9-11 and as we face continuing violence in conflicts around the world, let this music sustain you in your personal quest for peace.

  • Peace Be with You – In 2005 Marcel Khalife was awarded the UNESCO's Artist for Peace award. In his many albums, Marcel is constantly addressing the issue of peacemaking, and uses his music to bridge divides, show similiarities and work for peace.

  • Give Peace a Chance w/Winston Mankumku Ngozi – All of South Africa is filled with hope for a peaceful future, and with the groundwork laid by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and many many others, South Africa’s future looks bright. Here is a jazzy musical taste of peace from SA.

  • "A Song for Peace," This song is a direct call for peace, for ending wars, for hope... Not originally written by Shlomo Bar, but newly arranged by him in the mid-90s. This was the last song sung at the Peace Rally in which Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. The words to the song were on a piece of paper in his shirt pocket, and after the shooting it was shows on TV with the bullet hole through it and Rabin’s spilled blood. It became the anthem of the Israeli peace movement for many years.

  • Ya Salam – A song of peace from a former child soldier in the Sudan. When I heard Emmanuel Jal’s story at a conference in South Africa live from his lips, I was crying along with everyone else in the audience. You know you are in the presence of a peacemaker when you hear Emmanuel speak.

  • Zaman el Salaam/Time for Peace – A Live Recording from a Peace Concert in Oslo, Norway in 1994. Yair Dalal is another artist like Marcel Khalife who is tirelesslly making peace with his music.

  • Ya Oud – A haunting beautiful song by Elizabeth Ayoub sung in homage to an instrument spanning tribal/racial/religious divides. This young lebanese singer is working with Marcel Khalife’s son Rami to rebuild Lebanon through music.

  • Shalom Aleykhem (Peace Be With You) - The ultimate of what brass bands can give to sound and soul: Thousands of years after the fall of the tower of Babel; Jews, Moors and Gypsies finally reunite. Masters of brass from New York, Cairo and the Balkans meet to celebrate the rediscovered traits of their common past in mystic knowledge - and lung power.

  • Gazelle, my heart is parched - 'Gazelle' is a seamless and engaging collaboration by Kol Oud Tof that combines Hebrew liturgical poetry, Ladino and Arabic classical modes in a beautiful blend.

  • Salaam 'Alaykoum (Peace Be With You) – A plea for peace from another lebanese artist, Emad Sayyah. Music for peace that you can bellydance to!

  • Salam – A plaintive call for peace by Gigi Shibabaw from East Africa.

  • Maa el Salama [Go in Peace] – More music for peace that you can bellydance to! This time by Hossam Ramzy. What could be better?

  • Salam Malakum – A plea for peace from a Pan-West African band, Kabudu.

  • Dunya Salam - Baaba Maal – A cross cultural cry for peace by many musicians, with Baaba Maal singing georgeous suras from the Koran on top of everything.

  • I Will Fight No More – From the north american native tradition, here are words that we can only hope politicians and soldiers will make their mantra in the future. From Peter Kater's eloquent albums.

  • Peace Be With You – Another cry for peace from South Africa, this time from Sipho Gumede, another of the young guard.

  • Don't Fight – A cry for peace from Nigeria. Tony Allen was featured as our free single in early September, check our blog archives for more on his work.

  • Ya Adili Bilah – Another of the younger generation of artists, Eliyahu Sills, who plays with Shlomo Bar, is creating peace through his music and teaching of children. This song is a love song to God, an old arabic song sung in an Andulusian dialect of arabic. May our love for our gods shine through in the peace of our lives.

  • Ya Salam - A cry for peace from Senegal, West Africa and Ouza.

  • The Serpent - Two voices of harmoniously cry for peace and an end to the violence in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. The distinct harmonies of this song are a call for an end to endless violence. This duet between Maurice Chedid and Dorit arranged by Richard Khuzami is a plea for sanity in an insane part of the world. If we all practiced the basic tenants of our related religions, then all the manipulations of demigods on all sides would have no success: Respect and tolerance: with it we can move mountains, without it we only destroy...

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