KING OF ZULU GUITAR (BNET001)
Bootleg recording with stereo DAT in Sipho
Gumede's backyard and farm in the year 1995
Track Listing (30 Second Samples)
1. Indiza (Aeroplane)
2. Nqo, Nqo, Nqu
3. Amnandi Amasi
4. Khono Thwele
Durban in the year of 1995
'Madala' translated means 'old man' - his guitar and his very distinctive voice don't exactly sound old, but quite different from what we are used to hearing. Madala is self-taught and lives in one of the many south African townships on the periphery of Durban, Natal - once the homeland of one of the most feared and proud warriors, the Zulus.
Those who read or watch the news will have noticed the ongoing violent clashes between the then still-fighting factions of different political views in the mid ninenties back in the Zululand. As is so often the case, it is the common people who are suffering and it was still very dangerous even for African people to go out at night. The sounds of gunfire throughout the night left one with no choice but to barricade oneself and wait for morning, when it's time to count the bodies.
Those incredibly patient and loving people who have gone through decades of apartheid and brutality have come through at the end under a president who knows more about repression than most, but is still smiling, still loving and forgiving. South Africa is a country full of contradictions, but with lots of energy and a willingness to change in its own way and perhaps, for once, on the terms of the black community.
There is talent everywhere and Madala Kunene is one of the people that can help make a difference, so it is a privilege for me to introduce you to such an outstanding musician. Madala plays an ASPEN acoustical guitar, serial number 000101, as he proudly states in his letter to me with the basic descriptions of the sounds I recorded live on the riverbank at the bottom of his garden using my Sony DAT recorder and a Soundfield microphone, everything battery-driven due to the lack of electricity in places like the farm in KwaZulu hinterland.
Dick Jewell was kind enough to film the unique encounters of Madala with percussionist Mabi Thobejane and Busi Mhlongo rehearsing in their hotel room in Johannesburg. Check out their collaboration with Airto Moreira and other international musicians on the Outernational Meltdown project.
Sleeve notes by Robert Trunz