Sanscapes Vol 2
World Music

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SANSCAPES Vol 2

Future Visions of the Bushmen

Remixes from the album Bushmen of the Kalahari

 

Track Listing (60 Second Samples)

 

  1. INTRODUCTION BY ANNA
  2. ZET - MY BUSHMEN PEEPS (MAMA DANCE)
  3. EBOMVU GABI LE ROUX KALAHARI MIX
  4. CLAPS & BOW AT BROWNHILL FARM
  5. VOODOO JULIE
  6. LEKKER LEKKER
  7. PURPLE MIX U
  8. HONEY SONG
  9. LOOKING BACK !GUBI'
  10. CROCODILE RIVER
  11. KALAHARI SAN STORM
  12. KABUYE (THE RETURN) SILK T/BEN AMATO
  13. MELT MIX
  14. MUHADI (INTERLUDE)
  15. ACID ROCKERS MIX
  16. AMBIENT MIX

 

The San Bushmen - the indigenous people of southern Africa are Africa's oldest inhabitants, having lived in the region for over twenty - five thousand years. M.E. L.T. 2000 brings to you the remixes of the San music in collaboration with local and international producers.

 

Intro by Phil Meadley

A project like this can only happen with an enormous amount of goodwill from all concerned. Luckily for us and for the Khoi-San of Namibia there was a real sense of genuine enthusiasm in wanting to participate and contribute to SanScapes from all the artists that we approached. Being a music journalist myself I know that many contemporary producers and musicians are looking for that extra special something to challenge their little grey cells and test their creativity and equipment to the max. However I was not prepared for such an enthusiastic response and the very real sense of empathy for the Khoi-San. What started out as a conversation between myself and Melt boss Robert Trunz has now expanded and blossomed into something that we had never expected, or maybe never dreamed of.

As a reviewer of many albums and singles over the years I have never found such a huge amount of musical diversity in one package as you now have in your hands. This was partly planned, as we were well aware of a slight sameness that pervades many remix compilations. We deliberately strove to avoid this and make this something very special instead of producing a mere afterthought of contemporary western dance culture. This is why we asked poet and songwriter Zena Edwards to add her unique and stunningly eloquent voice to the beginning of this album. As a close friend and collaborator of Pops Mohamed and the Khoi-San on this recording, she was ideally placed to give an overview and atmospheric description of this unique and mystical people. She is a tour-de-force in the burgeoning British poetry scene and we are proud to have her participation in this project. The same goes for the prestigious talents of Youth, Simon Emmerson, Raj Gupta, Smadj, Bob Holroyd and all the other fantastic musicians and producers who all managed to make their tracks sound so distinctively special.

I extend my thanks to them all and to all the hard working people of Melt 2000 whose dedication to music and culture is second to none.

Phil Meadley - January 2001


Sanscapes is a unique project fusing past and present, carrying the roots of electronic dance music into the future. Both the album and the event witness a collaboration of the creators of traditional trance music with the digital dance artists and remixers of today. Such a project encapsulates the ethos behind the MELT label, which stands for musical energy and loud truth - taking musical energy forward whilst honouring and respecting its roots.

This project will raise awareness of the San music and culture, whilst also financially supporting their current needs. After researching the San situation, together with the initiator Pops Mohamed, we have chosen to donate all the proceeds of the forthcoming album to WIMSA (Working Groups of Indigenous Minorities of Southern Africa) and The Omaheke San Trust (OST). The OST work with the San from the Omaheke Region, Namibia, the area in which we recorded the original album Bushmen of the Kalahari (BW2128).

MELT's relationship with the San from this region begun in 1995, when Pops Mohamed, a South African musician renowned for his dedication to protect indigenous traditional music, initiated an expedition into the Kalahari in 1995. Accompanied by Ben Watkins (Juno Reactor), Dick Jewell (cameraman and documentary maker), and Robert Trunz (owner of M.E.L.T.) the journey had a profound effect on them all. The music gathered there provided the base for Pops' album How Far Have We Come (BW088), but also led to the raw and undiluted Pops Mohamed presents the Bushmen of the Kalahari (BW2128).

These enchanting and hypnotic recordings straight from the desert have provided the inspiration and material for the SanScape remix albums (BW8037) to be released in May 2001. For this compilation, Phil Meadley, writer of Global Beats - a world dance fusion column in Wax magazine, UK has invited some of the best and most diverse producers on the global dance scene today to interpret the sounds of the Bushmen in a contemporary digital setting. Deliberately chosen from right across the dance genres, from downtempo to deep house, from drum'n'bass to trance, and from electro breakbeat to ambient dubscapes. MELT would like to thank the artists for their creativity, generosity and for showing respect and feeling for this ancient culture being sampled.

San musicians Ngube, Anna, Kuela, and Marcela, Pops Mohamed and Zena Edwards are reunited in this project having performed together at the Hanover Expo 2000. Plans are currently in place to take the SanScape Project to other European cities and to have local artists participating in the live events.



IN AID OF THE BUSHMEN OF THE KALAHARI
If there were ever a tribe on earth that could connect us to our ancient hunter-gatherer roots then the Bushmen of the Kalahari would be our spirit guides for the new millennium. The Bushmen our purported to be the oldest race left on earth and after years of racial prejudice and denial of political voice in modern Africa, this much maligned and misunderstood group need our help urgently.
The particular Bushmen that appeared on the original MELT 2000 CD Pops Mohamed presents: Bushmen of the Kalahari originates from the desolate and unforgiving wilderness of the Kalahari desert in Namibia. Amongst these are !Ngube Goute, Anna Goute, and Marcella Goute. !Ngube is a shaman, musician and tribal leader. Anna and Marcella are his daughters and the other Bushmen on this album are his tribe of nomadic hunter-gatherers.
Sanscapes One was initiated as a way of helping to raise awareness for these nomadic Bushmen. We thought long and hard about how to undertake this project in a very honest, sympathetic way without it looking like we were exploiting the Bushmen culture for a couple of banging dance tunes. But as soon as you add the concept of remix to a project like this certain people will automatically throw their hands up in horror. We heard cries of plundering sacred music for evil dance music hedonism uttered in some quarters. Certain individuals had sacrificed their so-called intellectualist stance in favour of a knee jerk reaction and patronising pat on the head for the Bushmen. Well, we have never seen these people as separate from us, and they deserve to be treated as modern people who are our absolute equals even if they don't happen have a mortgage and 2.5 kids.
When !Ngube, Anna, Marcella, and their Botswanan friend Kuela travelled over to England for a series of very special shows I for one was slightly nervous as to what they might feel about their music being interpreted by other musicians and producers. However I needn't have been concerned because seventy year old !Ngube proved to be more forward thinking than most of his contemporaries. My enduring memory of !Ngube is at the rehearsal space at Melt2000 Farm Studio smiling broadly with the headphones on listening to the Raj Gupta mix from Sanscapes One. He said that the music reminded him of flying. He also became a big fan of Bob HolroydÙs now legendary mix Looking BackÙ and insisted on meeting Bob to thank him in person. The difference in attitude between our Namibian friends and the Western ethnomusicologists that pretend to protect this ancient culture is remarkable in the extreme.
Why do some people feel the necessity to conform others to their own patronising and antiquated ideas? I would have dearly liked these people to have seen Marcella dancing enthusiastically to the System 7 mix that you now hold in your hands. The hardest dance sounds proved to be a big hit for our Namibian friends.
The London shows at the October Gallery and 93Feet East in London were remarkable events in every sense of the word. Even if the Bushmen troupe had been dislocated from their desert skyline, they managed to evoke the sights and sounds of the Kalahari Desert in a series of mesmerising performances. For the Sanscapes launch party at 93Feet East in Brick Lane we even attempted to bring on some of the remixers to jam with the Bushmen. It was an experiment at genuine fusion in both a cultural and musical sense. At one point on stage we had Smadj from Paris via Tunisia, Mehdi Haddab from Paris via Algeria, U-Cef from London via Morocco, Youth, Pete Lockett and Pam Chowhan from London, Pops Mohamed from South Africa, Zena Edwards from London, Kuela from Botswana, and the Goute family from Namibia. This is how the future of Global fusion should be, understanding and tolerance of every musical culture without losing any sense of cultural identity.
Sanscapes Two sees the future visions of the Bushmen continue in emphatic style. This time we have attempted to go even deeper and challenge the concept of what is old and what is new, what is future music and what is ancient rhythm. The Bushmen inserts were taken from original unreleased material and from a very special party that was held at Melt2000 Farm studios near Worthing. This remarkable event held round a campfire saw !Gube, Marcella, Anna, and Kuela giving close Melt friends and family a taste of Bushmen festivities and trance dancing in a Kalahari Desert style. We've tried to extract a little of the feeling of these events in Sanscapes Two and we hope you enjoy the results.
If this project has taught us anything it is to listen without prejudice and to enjoy the music for what it is. The remixers have interpreted the Bushmen sounds in a very personal way and this unique meeting should be valued as much as the wonderful source material that they were privileged to use. The multicultural aspect of Sanscapes continues and for volume two we have very special mixes from France, Turkey, Morocco, England, and South Africa. Once again we extend our thanks to all the people who gave up a little of their valuable time to be involved in this project and once again we thank you for buying this album and helping raise awareness for the Bushmen of the Kalahari.
Respect, Phil Meadley Proceeds from the sales of Sanscape go to WIMSA: Working Groups of Indigenous Minorities of Southern Africa.

The Workshops

As part of the Sanscape series of events taking place in England recently a number of children's musical workshops was organised at the request of the San people, who, with their strong sense of community, love of dance and music, made a profound impression on their captivated audience. Pops Mohamed, a renowned musician from South Africa and master of traditional instruments whom has been working with the San since 1995 led all of the children's workshops.alt

Some of the events were held at the October Gallery in London, others out in the local community and some in the Brighton area. The musicians were introduced as Ngubi, Anna, Marcella from Namibia, Kuela from Botswana and Pops from South Africa. Not only was this the first time that any San had given workshops in Gt. Britain, it was the first time any San had visited Gt. Britain. The children aged between three and eleven years old were totally enthralled by the presence of these San and their intriguing click language.

In the evenings the San at their home will gather round the fire to dance, play music, heal and tell stories. This ritual was in essence captured during the workshops as the children embraced the community spirit. At the beginning of the first workshop the San and the children approached each other gently, sizing up their cultural differences.

Soon the barriers were coming down as the international language of music elevated the energy in the room. The children were fascinated by the strange instruments the San were playing: Kuela showed how to hunt for Giraffe with the bow and arrow and then Gubi showed how it could be transformed into a hypnotic percussion instrument for use around the fire at night.

 As the workshops progressed, a story began to emerge of a chosen child in the group sleeping and dreaming. Suddenly awakened by strange animal sounds in the night: birds, elephants, lions and jackal's. Then followed visitations by the group members playing their instruments and singing and clapping songs of enchantment. The children were fascinated by Anna's and Marcella's unique trance chanting and eagerly joined in with all activities dancing around the room. Tales were told of the jackal hunting and carrying off it's prey and everyone joined in with the Ostrich dance.

Teachers were very pleased with the children's response including a number of autistic children who were very attentive to the activities and wanted to touch all the instruments. Older children mediated through Pops were learning the rudiments of timing and beat.

The workshops were a great success, and all the children and teachers wanted to know when they were coming back. The San themselves were very happy, gathering more stories to tell around the campfire for when they returned home.

What became apparent during the workshops was how pleased they all were to have the chance to share a part of their culture with the young, who appreciated intuitively, the importance of ritual, music and dance.

Craig A Inglis

At Robert's farm

 

AROUND THE CAMPFIRE AT ROBERT'S FARM

Saturday nights back in the Kalahari are occasions for celebration and healing and so to honour their stay at Brownhill Farm, then home of Robert Trunz, a party was organised for friends and family. Blessed with an unusually warm and sunny day the festivities begun in the early afternoon. Adults and children alike arrived amidst a hive of activity. Barbecues were built, tipis and tents erected and a fire was set in place.


As the sun went down !Gube performed the fire lighting ritual and everyone was invited to join the circle. Suitably imbibed all warmed to the occasion and Robert announced the intention of recreating a Kalahari experience and introduced the San family. An air of anticipation arose and Ngube opened the gathering with a prayer of healing for everyone present as well as for loved ones back home. The rest of the family followed suit and prayers uttered, the party begun.


Instruments were taken up and the strange and seductive sounds of the mbira and mouthbow accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful voice of Anna created a mist of magic, hinting at what was to come. Ngube's playing of the Zuma (four stringed instrument) entranced, and spun a stillness that spoke louder than words. Marcella's animal cries and spectacular dance moves both mesmerised and excited and she stunned the party with her lightening quick beer can dance, calling people up to follow her lead. This brought everyone closer together and a feeling of oneness soon pervaded.

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Beer can dancers

The San family announced that they were accustomed to being joined by all the community and that it would be strange for people not to participate and before long everyone was singing, clapping, laughing together and the brave few stepped into the middle to dance with Marcella and Kuela.

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Fire dancer

Fire chains were lit and soon circles of flame, dancing in the darkness surrounded the group. With an almost electric charge in the air the energy rose with the songs of celebration and healing. Chanting and dancing, beating out rhythms with the sound of feet dressed in rattles pounding the earth, bodies swaying to the ancient sounds from the desert, the moon rose.


 

As people left or gradually feel asleep in tents or by the fire Ngube and Anna remained strong. In the early hours of the morning Anna suddenly acquired a new energy, and strangely invigorated she sung and chanted until there was only a small gathering left. She entered trance, her eyes rolling and her body shaking as she expelled bad energy with the help of her father Ngube who danced around her with his hands touching her head and shoulders as his feet beat out repetitive rhythms.


As the mist drew closer and people huddled closer to the fire jokes were made about those who had left the party early. Stamina was challenged and the morning chants remained with the lucky few.

Photography by Dick Jewell


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Bring me water cos I am thirsty for some humanity

Come carry me the bushman story
Let me drink the khoisan mystery

the elixer of the ultra African
45,000 years of Homo sapien sapien
a bloodline millennia strong

whose ears are attuned to the desert silence
a silence where the four winds rest
imbued with the voices of the moon the sun and the stars

in the east echoes the cockerels crow over the Kalahari plains
summoning the San sun to rise and chase the stars into tomorrow
in the south the rain sorceror strikes his mouth bow
and the polyphonic tones
hypnotise the clouds to drop their precious liquid load

in the north the hunter waits with patience as wide as the lands vastness
where the lions and the eland run
where the hunter ratherer has love affair with the veldkos
his presence melts with the long grass shrub and sand
glowing ashes thrown into the sky become the milkyway and the
moon a hunters moon illuminate the eyes of a springbok

alert my ears with the ancients otherworldliness of their clicking tongue
the wind crackling and rustling the dry silver leaf on decrepit trees
hot rock and sand grain rubbing sand
these sounds pass between their lips

in the west dance silhouettes of small bodies housing large hearts
and the cosmic sense of oneness
a cow yawns and a skinny dog barks and a fire flickers
a fire that induces the birth of stories about the Mantis the trickster and hero
chants and songs chants and songs
notes in a strange and peculiar combination escape their throats
a joyful noise to their creator that still remembered them
they dance
yodels and circle songs reach a fervent peak and the stars begin to fall
a jerk on the jugular string, the umbilical anchor to the universal mind
brings on trance
khoIsan is led by the hand of the ancient to the realms of the forbears
become stars and sit to the left of Sirius,what ancient to future wonder is this ?

ZENA EDWARDS

 

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