Acoustic Africa -Madala Kunene, Greg Georgiades, Carlo Mombelli, Ernest Mothle,Ntombe Thongo DVD

alt

ACOUSTIC AFRICA (DVD)

feat. MADALA KUNENE, GREG GEORGIADES, ASHISH JOSHI, BERNARD MNDAWENI, MABI THOBEJANE, L.A.P. (LIVE AFRICAN PERCUSSION), CARLO MOMBELLI, ERNEST MOTHLE & NTOMBE THONGO & HIS AFRICAN BAND

South Africa has too few festivals and musical events dedicated to showcasing the vast variety of traditional, world and jazz music the country has to offer. As a label, we at MELT 2000 strongly supported and promoted different facets of music and artist collaborations since the birth of the new democratic South Africa in 1994. It was back in 1997 when Pascal Letellier on behalf of the French city of Nantes showcased the most elaborate representation of South African culture - an event so beautiful that participating artists themselves were surprised to experience the rich variety of their own Rainbow nation's heritage. With the help of Pascal we recorded and filmed many of the participating acts. Material from Amampondo, Moses Taiwa Molelekwa, Busi Mhlongo and Madala Kunene that has now found its way onto DVD releases.

Exactly seven years later my friend Ananda introduced me to another Frenchman, Jean Bourdin (then director of the Alliance Francaise in Pretoria) who told me of his plans for a small, intimate festival sponsored by the Alliance and the IFAS (Institut Français d'Afrique du Sud). I immediately asked him if I could make some additional programme suggestions and expressed my wish to record and film the event.

Jean's musical program found form in the 2004 Fort West Village Heritage & Cultural Festival which was built around four musicians born or raised in Tshwane (Pretoria). These are Ernest Mothle, Carlo Mombelli and the two artists to whom this DVD is dedicated, Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades and Madala Kunene. And yet despite their common roots, the diversity of their musical influences and inspirations is awesome. The team gathered with cameras and stacks of recording gear, some of which was flown in from London by Chris Lewis - a man whose expertise with acoustic music I certainly did not want to miss.

Another journey and a new era of collaborations had begun.

Watch this space.

Robert Trunz 

MAIN MENU

MADALA KUNENE (jaws harp) - SIYAKHALA ( 2:10 )
Composed by Madala Kunene - published by MELT 2000 Publishing S.A.

MENU 1

GREG HADJIYORKI GEORGIADES & MADALA KUNENE
Featuring Ernest Mothle and Ashish Joshi
Live @ The Fort West Village Heritage & Cultural Festival in Tshwane West (Pretoria) South Africa on the 22nd of October 2004
Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades - guitar, oud & bouzouki Madala Kunene - steel string guitar & vocals
Ashish Joshi - tabla & percussion
Ernest Mothle - double bass

Tracks

1. PYRAMID REVISITED 9:19
2. E-PITOLI (PRETORIA) 6:08
3. EGOLI (CITY OF GOLD) 5:10
4. TOGETHER NOW 7:55
5. MARTHA GOTTA FREE 9:10
6. OPPIKKOPPI 7:40
7. TWO TRAINS 6:50

Tracks 1,2,3,6 & 7 composed by Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades published by Sheer Publishing Ltd.. Track 5 composed by Madala Kunene, published by MELT Music Publishing cc. Track 4 composed by Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades & Madala Kunene, published by Sheer Publishing Ltd and MELT Music Publishing cc
"We, the artists of our 'Rainbow Nation', seem to be drawn into collaborations of creative discovery by the mere nature of the many cultures and peoples that make up the population of South Africa. So it was with great excitement and enthusiasm that the players involved in this spontaneous collaboration jumped at the opportunity of discovering a new voice through which we could express the music of the South African experience. The concert was held in a deserted old church with beautiful acoustics and a captivating atmosphere that seemed to extend the natural sound of the performance."
Greg Georgiades

MENU 2

ERNEST MOTHLE & FRIENDS
1. NECESSARY RHIME 9:23
composed by Ernest Mothle, published by MELT 2000 Publishing SA
CARLO MOMBELLI AND THE PRISONERS OF STRANGE
1. UNTITLED PRAYER 5:11
2. SURDO 7:30
composed by Carlo Mombelli, published by Mombelli Publishing

MENU 3

MADALA KUNENE & BERNARD MNDAWENI
featuring MABI THOBEJANE, L.A.P. (Live African Percussion)
and NTOMBE THONGO
Introduction speech by the poet of Africa, Zolani Mkiva
1. KUNZIMA (with Mabi Thobejane) 6:36 filmed at the MELT 2000 farm studio in Cullinan South Africa


2. SANIBONANI 4:29 ?3. IKHAL'APHI (TOOTH FAIRY) 6:30
4. KON'KO MAN (STRONG MAN) 4:25
5. MASIYEKU 'KUBULALANA (DON'T KILL EACH OTHER) 5:30
tracks 1,2 & 4 composed by Madala Kunene
track 3 composed by Madala Kunene & Bernard Mndaweni
track 5 composed by Ntombe Thongo Tutusu
all tracks published by MELT 2000 Publishing S.A.

MENU 4

NTOMBE THONGO TUTSU'S AFRICAN BAND

live @ the "MELT 2000 Farm Studio" Cullinan

1. VISITING THONGO IN MTHAMBALALA 2:29
2. MASIYEKU 'KUBULALANA (DON'T KILL EACH OTHER) 5:46
Composed by Ntombe Thongo Tutsu
published by MELT 2000 Publishing S.A.

3. UNGABETH'UMFAZI (DON'T BEAT YOUR WIFE ) 7:37
Composed by Ntombe Thongo Tutsu
published by MELT 2000 Publishing S.A.

4. THONGO UHADI IMPROMPTU - Ntombe Thongo, Madala Kunene and Bernard Sibusiso Mndaweni 7:12
Composed by Thongo, Kunene & Mndaweni - published by MELT 2000 Publishing S.A.

MENU 5

CREDITS & TRACKLISTING
1 INTRO BY ROBERT TRUNZ
2 GREG GEORGIADES & MADALA KUNENE
(soundtrack: Pyramid Revisited 2:03)*
3 ERNEST MOTHLE
(soundtrack: Necessary Rhime 1:29 )*
4 CARLO MOMBELLI
(soundtrack Untitled prayer )*
5 MADALA KUNENE & BERNARD MNDAWENI
(soundtrack: Ubombo 1:35 - composed by Madala Kunene published by MELT 2000 Publishing S.A.)
6 NTOMBE THONGO TUTSU
(extract from Ungabeth'umfazi -Don't beat your wife 1:36)*
7 THE TEAM AND THE FRENCH CONNECTION
* composer and publishing info see above

MENU 6

INFO & BIOGRAPHIES
1 GREG GEORGIADES
(soundtrack: Pyramid Revisted 3:45 ) *

2 ASHISH JOSHI
(extracts from the live gig at Bassline, Newtown Johannesburg 2005)

3 MADALA KUNENE
(extracts from live concerts at the Rainbow, Pinetown, Arts Alive Festival 2002, Bassline Newtown 2005 and the MELT farm in Cullinan 2004)

4 MABI THOBEJANE
(extracts from the live bootleg recordings with Madala and the recording of the track "Madiba" 1995 and Music With No Name Studio 2004 with Chris Lewis)

5 BERNARD SIBUSISO MNDAWENI
(extracts from the Fort West and MELT Farm festival 2004 and the Rainbow in Pinetown with Mabi Thobejane and Thabang Tabane 2000)

6 CARLO MOMBELLI
(soundtrack: Surdo 3:03)*

7 ERNEST MOTHLE
(soundtrack: Necessary Rhyme 2:14) *

8 L.A.P. LIVE AFRICAN PERCUSSION
( soundtrack: Bush Walk 2:08 composed by Gontse Mkhene, Bafana Nhlapo & Zwelakhe Zwane, published by MELT 2000 Publishing SA) from the LAP recording sessions at the "Music With No Name Studio" 2005

9 NTOMBE THONGO TUTSU
(extracts from an impromptu rehearsal at the "Music With No Name Studio" 2005 with Chris Lewis)

GREG HADJIYORKI GEORGIADES
Born and raised in Pretoria, Greg is an extraordinary multi-instrumentalist, playing the North African Fretless lute (oud), bouzouki and guitar. He composes an intoxicating hybrid of North and South African ethno grooves that cook under vibrant melodies. Over the years Greg has collaborated, performed and recorded with influential names of the South African music scene, such as Jeff Maluleke , London-based percussionist Julian Bahula, Choppa on "Margarita" and the late Mike Ratau Makhalemele. In 2005 he launched Vivid Afrika - a collaboration project with McCoy Mrubata. Greg is also known and recognized for his work with the Mutant Harmony Trio with Marc Duby, The Jazz Hounds, Aavaaz and the Aquarian Quartet, where he features with Steve Newman, Syd Kitchen and Tony Cox. On an international note, Greg has collaborated and performed with renowned French trumpeter Eric Truffaz, Bob Brosman (USA), Rene Lacaille (Mauritius) and Mukta (France/India), while they were in South Africa in 2002 and 2003.
Greg has played all across Southern Africa at art and music festivals including acouple of appearances at the Awesome Africa Festival and ZIFF in Zanzibar.

ERNEST MOTHLE (CONTRA BASS)
The great bass master emerged on the musical scene in the 1960's as a member of the African Jazz and Variety band. The reserved bass player has since then, performed with many of South Africa's jazz greats. He remembers playing with renowned choral composer Professor Mzilikazi. According to Mothle, this is "when the professor used to sing jazz". Mothle attributes people like Mzilikazi and Solly Ramakupe, one of the first black movie stars, for his musical development. After his first band, the bassist moved to Hesebeshu group made up of Cyril Magubane, Henry and Stanley Sithole and Nelson Magwaza. He also helped with compositions in some of the musicals of the 1960's. He had a stint with Gibson Kente's first professional musical, Manana - The Jazz Prophet. He was also in Kente's famous Lifa and Sikhalo plays. Mothle played bass in the first ever recording of Mankunku Ngozi's Yakhal'inkomo. This was part of SABC's recorded jazz programme. Leaving South Africa in 1972, Mothle moved to England where he connected up with jazz exiles based there. He started performing and recording with Julian Bahula's Jabula group, Dudu Pukwana, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath and Johnny Mbizo Dyani. Mothle was touring with Dyani, when the latter met his death in October 1986. As bassists in the band, the two musicians developed a style of bowing that makes the bass sound as vocalists. When playing, Mothle walks his audience through the bass, demonstrating what is possible with the cumbersome-looking instrument. According to him, it is this?technique of making the bass sing that has led to his marginalisation. He feels that he is "little bit ahead" and that there is a refusal in many bands for the bass to come to the fore. Mothle is featured on no less than two dozen albums as a supporting musician. He features in recordings by international artists such as Robert Wyatt, George Lee and Mike Oldfield. In the 1980's, Mothle recorded with an English band with left political leaning known as Working Week. He plays bass in "Venceremos (We will win)", Working Nights and Payday - three CD's released by the group. He also plays on Cry Freedom's soundtrack penned by Jonas Gwangwa. For Mothle, one of the greatest things that he has learnt in his many years of performing is "knowing how to play with other people - tuning and becoming one." Dinga Sikwebu

CARLO MOMBELLI (BASS)
After starting to study bass seriously during conscription in the South African Defence Force in the early eighties, Carlo's first big musical break was in the band of jazz guitar legend Johnny Fourie together with Duke Makasi and Kevin Gibson. He later formed his own original music group ABSTRACTIONS who recorded an album for Shifty records.
In 1987 he moved to Germany where he recorded and performed internationally with musicians like Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Mariano, Mick Goodrick and Lee Konitz amongst others. Besides having a teaching post at the Richard Strauss Conservatoire in Munich, he was a featured artist many times on German national radio that broadcast entire live concerts over the air. Carlo has six solo recordings and has worked on major record labels like Enja Records. Since returning back to South Africa in 1999, Carlo has performed at all the major festivals around the country with his group The Prisoners of Strange. He can also be heard on recordings of Marcus Wyatt, Tlale Makhena, Sibongile Khumalo, as well as Johnny Fourie's solo, duet, trio.
The ballet Listen with your eyes shut, choreographed to Mombelli's music was performed at the Dance Umbrella in the Hague Holland 2001, as well as commissioned works for the Stockholm Sax Quartet (which they are currently performing), and music for the 1943 silent film Meshes in the afternoon by Maya Deren which he performed live to film at the 2003 Grahamstown Arts Festival.
He was appointed composer in residence at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg in April and May 2004 where he has just completed a masters degree in composition.
Besides performing and giving workshops he also writes music for documentaries which include this year's, 'Road To Restitution', 'Moving the spirit', and a jazz score co-composed with Marcus Wyatt for 'Story of a Beautiful Country. Mombelli has also just finished music for the Animation film 'Ummemo".

THONGO AFRICAN BAND
Recorded live at the "Music With No Name Studio" during the MELT Farm Festival in Cullinan, Gauteng, South Africa on October 30th 2004 Ntombe Thongo Tutsu - lead guitar & lead vocalist
Fikile Mkhumla - bass guitar
Mluleki Gqala - keyboard
Mzwandile David - accordion
Phumzile Nanana - dancer and vocal
Vuyani Sophothela - dancer and vocal
Lizeka Tutsu - vocal
Luzuko Ntsizwana - dancer and vocal
Bongani Gamzana - dancer and vocal
Ntombe Thongo Tutsu
Thongo is a talented young singer/ guitar player from Mtambalala in the hills above Port St. Johns in the heart of Pondoland. He is a qualified, initiated Sangoma (herbalist & traditional healer). His ancestral instrument is the mouthbow (uhadi).
Thongo plays a unique Maskanda style crossing over from the more traditional Zulu rhythms into his own Xhosa interpretation. His guitar style of is unique to a point where I call it Transkanda.
Thongo also toured and performed internationally in Brett Bailey's play iMumbo Jumbo at the Barbican Theatre, London 2003 (among other venues). The play was a hit at the Grahamstown Festival too.
iMumbo Jumbo is a dramatisation of the true, intrepid, sacred and quixotic 1996 quest of Chief Nicholas Tilana Gcaleka (diviner, priest, liquor salesman, guru) to Britain to retrieve the skull of his ancestor, King Hintsa kaPhalo - Paramount Chief of the amaXhosa nation, killed by a colonial posse in 1836.

MADALA KUNENE
King of the Zulu Guitar Madala Kunene was born in 1951 in Cato Manor, Durban, South Africa. Despite being born into a family of eminent and fervent academics, he refused to spend so much as a day at school - even if it meant taking regular beatings because of it. This signalled Madala's single-minded and uniquely unconventional nature. He started busking on Durban's beachfront at the age of 7, making his first guitar out of a cooking oil tin, using fish gut for the strings. As a soccer player for African Wanderers FC, the teenage Madala was torn between his love of football and music. In 1963, he bought his first real guitar and began to imitate Western music such as the Beatles. But he soon tired of imitating others and feeling dissatisfied and restless, decided to start playing his own music, giving voice to the creativity that was welling up within him. It was his friends who encouraged him to take his guitar playing much more seriously. He followed their wise advice. In very little time he had become the hottest guitar player and was discovered by bassist Sipho Gumede. Madala went to work in Johannesburg, where he considered himself privileged to share the stage with such luminaries as Doc Mthalane and Busi Mhlongo. However, in the mid-1970's, violence erupted in rural areas. This led to Madala returning home to protect his family after their house was burned down. Deprived of the chance to tour internationally, Madala continued to develop his own musical style while playing low-key gigs in the townships during the mid-eighties where he revived the 'Madalaline' style of guitar playing, combining blues & soul with African folk, and developed the trance-like quality of his Zulu folk singing. It was in October 2004 when Greg Georgiades invited Madala to join him, Ashish Joshi and Ernest Mothle for a live collaboration at Fort West Festival which we have the pleasure of presenting on this DVD. A year later the group met again at the Bassline club in Johannesburg for a 6 bands marathon night but this time they were joined by Madala's long-standing friend and the country's most sensitive and groovy bass player, Bernard Sibusiso Mndaweni (watch out for the DVD release). Madala's guitar playing blends Blues and African Folk, and is soulfully mixed with the transcendental quality of his healing voice. His music is deeply spiritual, derived from ancient divination music often inducing a trance during performance. Madala has developed a completely original style of playing guitar based on ancient divination music and most of his inspiration comes to him in dreams.


Director: Lianne Cox
Editor: Lianne Cox

Cameras:Lianne Cox, Lungelo Ndlela, Vincent De Jager
Sound engineer: recording, mixing and mastering
all 4 days of live concerts: Chris Lewis, London UK

Assistant Engineer: Kholofelo Sewale (Kulu se Mama)
Projection & lights: Vernon
Packaging: Nicholas P. Hauser
Executive Producer: Robert Trunz
Special thanks to Jean Bourdin and François Chambraud of Alliance Française in Pretoria, Jean for the choice of music and François all our respect for picking up the many loose ends and making the event a full success for the musicians.Bénédicte Alliot, IFAS (Institut Français d'AS) for her kind support, Bernard Malauzat from the French Embassy in South Africa for generously supporting the project, the director of the Fort Festival Village Foundation Mrs. Linda Mvusi and Xavier Person's crew of helpers and assistants.

Very special thanks to all the creators of the beautiful music we recorded and filmed and to all other artists, poets, film- as well as the technical crew and the dedicated audience who feasted on the art presented. Thanks to the Creator for letting us witness more roots of Acoustic Africa.
Robert Trunz  

 

A press overview on the FORT WEST FESTIVAL by Mick Raubenheimer

Fort West Heritage & Cultural Festival 2004An abandoned village lush with overgrowth and the secrets of time.

Huddled in the awkward crowd of thirty you are staring at a young black man duelling with the dirty cloth straddling his neck. To the left a Japanese opera emits from a smudgy cd-player, narrating the duel..

The scene is set next to an anonymous chapel:
We are about to be plunged into an improvised theatre of physical art.

The theme to Kiwat Dance company's six-piece set is 'My body is my home'. Within the space of the first five-minute, improvised movement the young black dancer announces the challenge of this 'physical-art' programme  "Imagine. There are no expectations, no limitations, how free we would be; can you see, are you free?". Moving from face to face, the young man repeats his challenge, his invitation, to the audience.

 
The subsequent five pieces were simultaneously challenges to the formality, the distance, of audience reading/participation, and formal gymnastics of release, of free expression: idiosyncracy bathed in art. They were also socially and politically satirical. In one performance a female dancer is surrounded by an array of dolls; introducing each by name, she describes them in sexist stereotype before announcing their price-tag "availability", in conclusion she becomes a doll herself, and drops to the floor.

The most powerful of the six pieces, and the only one featuring all three dancers, is a political angst-rap which takes place on a make-shift pulpit inside the chapel. Flanked by her co-artists the female performer stamps up an angry scat on the devastating hypocrisy of world politics with its mind-boggling death-toll. As her voice and percussive tempo build the dancers beside her begin twitching like electrocuted marionnettes and her voice gains violent emotion when she hits home that, like the puppets twitching in death-trance, we the passive by-standers share in the guilt & hypocricy of Bush and the rest. Her final word slams down with her foot, echoeing in the shrill silence, as the audience blinks, touched and shocked.

Ending the programme with an invitation to become involved they lead us into a finale of optimistic S.A song and dance. Which takes us across the street to another ghost-church promising, this time, intense jazz.

Ernest Mohtle. Ladies and gents a breathing legend of what might have become had PW and ante-cedents not censored the truth. The African.

Bassist for Chris McGregor's 'Brotherhood of Breath', Mohtle has spent most of his last 30 years playing jazz abroad. The Elder who has gigged with the likes of Archie Shepp and Courtney Pine graces us tonight with another giant of the bass, Carlo Mombelli. 

The set opens, appropriately, with a spot-lit Mohtle coaxing his bass into song. His sound-check spills into the searching plucks of his first melody.. an involved introspection alternating between bow and fingers transfixes the audience with his introduction. Next up is a kind of 'Two bass hit' with Mombelli on intricate sheet rhythm. The set that follows incorporates a drummer and tabla-player, Greg Georgiades on guitar and Mombelli on understatement: four ten-minute excursions tightly wound around sheet-music with subtle bursts of improvisation.

Welcome to the second annual 'Fort West Heritage & Cultural Festival'.

This year's subject being "Documenting Jazz" it boasts a film-festival; two book-launches; some serious gigs; a conference on Jazz and its documentation; a visual exploration via Art Museum and that secretive landscape of Fort West Village itself.. a quilt woven from the ghosts of a decaying Tshona village, a Leper asylum, hospital, and the current rule of flora.
 

The vision.

'Fort West Heritage & Culture Festival', located 8km outside of Pretoria next to Atteridgeville, was germinated by the Alliance Francais.

More specifically it was the passion-child of Bernard Malauzat, director of Science, Culture & Development at the French Embassy. Frustrated, indeed dumb-struck, by the obscurity of information tracing the history of South African Jazz in its homeland, he decided to facilitate a scenario which would both showcase the rich diversity of SA Arts and serve to shed light onto the much-censored history of its awakening.

In order to achieve this the festival invited artists and speakers based on their artistic integrity and historical import, rather than the false halos of commercial appeal.

The occasion.
Arriving late for Friday's inauguration, having missed both the 'Poetry/Storytelling session' and opening of the museum's 'Paul Alberts "Sufferings of War" photographs', I sneaked through the epic entrance, the solemn road with its kilometer of hulking trees.

Ushered in by silent guards my car was directed to the last remaing light: the Dutch Reformed Church.

In time to catch the last of an ad-hoc poetry set I snuggled down for a most unlikely trio:

Greg Georgiades of Aquarian Quartet fame, widely associated with his inspired Indian-Classical ventures on oud and bouzouki, was tonight's featured artist. His guests were Madala Kunene and Ernest Mohtle.

Kicking off with Madala-led folksy tunes the set was an unexpected harmony between such disparate styles: Georgiades representing the East, Kunene Zulu folk music, and Mohtle the deep of avante-garde.

Subtely conducted by Greg they eased into a natural common ground, lulling the audience with sparse, gentle instrumentals.
 

I left exhilirated and awakened, noticing for the first time the romance of the myriad darkened buildings dotting my labyrinth toward the exit, expanding in my expectation of the next day.

Day 2.

 

Just in time for Prof. Ben Magubane's book-launch for 'The Road to Democracy'. An interesting addition to the almost over-burdened mass of academic publications on "The Struggle", Prof. Magubane describes his book as an enquiry into the dialectics and subjective perspectives of this period.

The book presents a wide spectrum of recollections and interpretations of "The Struggle". Exploring its subject through neutral embrace of this spectrum of sometimes contradictory perspectives, comparing for example the recorded recollections of Mandela and Sisulu to legal documentation, 'The Road to Democracy' proposes that the reality of "The Struggle" is to be found in an organic dialogue of perspectives rather than any one canonised account.

 

In what proved to be a decidedly intellectual Saturday (one which proved that passion and intellect Can harmonize  Jazz anyone..?), the launch dispersed and recollected in a discussion, conducted by Eleanor Sisulu, on women in literature. Miriam Tlali's anecdotes on her struggles in getting published, which led to all of her books being printed and distributed from outside her native South Africa, something which still pains her, summed up the concerns and issues raised. Eleanor Sisulu pointed out that there was a lack of infrastructure and communication between the country's various book-clubs and independent publishing houses, inviting the participants to contact her at her E-Mail address in order to facilitate a network of exchange and awareness.

 

Next up, and a highlight of the festival, was a conference on 'Documenting Jazz' led by heavyweights Dr. Michael Titlestad, Prof. David Copland and Dr. Lara Allen.
Dominated by concern about our country's censorship of cultural and political information vis a' vis the absence of availability on SA Jazz history, the discussion was marked by passionate lament.
 
Copland  whose own publication 'In township tonight!', widely cited as a holy grail of S.A Jazz-Political history, remains out of print  summarised to suggest that for the likes of Dolly Rathebe and Kippie Moeketsi, and indeed all of Black South Africa, the explosion of improvisational jazz via Charlie Parker, Coltrane et al, was nothing other than an icon of FREEDOM. Consequently Jazz in RSA became a declaration of passion and expression, a non-violent celebration of identity that could not be suppressed as long as there was a moment and a breath.
For Black South Africa, then, Jazz became an emblem of Self.
Dr Titlestad accentuated the relation between Jazz-as-expression and its various interpretations through literature and journalism, arguing in tandem that the obscured narrative of SA Jazz from the 40's through 80's
represents an integral layer to the history of SA's emancipation. Citing intellectual meditations drawn from his recently published book 'Making the changes', Dr. Titlestad pointed out that the social and political dimensions of SA Jazz exist as a kind of blind-spot in the narrative of official documentation on South Africa's emancipation.
 
Following a lively 'Round-table' of reactions and questions on opinions voiced, we sifted through the platters of books show-cased by Unisa Press and others.
 
The day was consummated by 'Kiwat dance company' and the royal performance of Ernest Mohtle & co. in the abandoned Dutch Reformed Church: the venue that proved to retain my most treasured recollections of the festival.
 
Day 3.
 
Following 'The Book Club's discussion on Kagiso Molope's 'Dancing in the dust', also attended by Miriam Tlali, I settled down to enjoy the Fort West Film festival.
 
The festival boasted contemporary releases like 'God is African', 'Karoo Kitaar Blues' and 'Amandla', and seminal film such as 'Sarafina' and 'Ipi Tombi'. The magic, however, was their screening of Sophiatown-era Jazz classics such as 'Jim comes to Joburg', 'Magic garden' and 'Zonk', which featured iconic cameos and appearances by Dolly Rathebe and Kippie Moeketsi.
 
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering the out-of-time quietude of this sprawling ghost-town: passing a herd of cattle grazing between empty Victorian houses on my way to the Art Museum, dropping into the
gracefully dilapitated Lutheran church in which yesterday's Moss Mogale Unit was replaced by young jazzbo's from an Atteridgeville Youth Development program.
Chatting to other festival-goers there was consensus that the Fest was in need of a serious promotional jump-start. Most had dropped by out of sheer curiosity, having never heard of either the event or location, and were charmed into returning for the duration.
With adequate advertising this is going to become a major Gauteng Festival, with potential to become a small-scale Grahamstown Fest.
 
Back at the Dutch Reformed church we got ready for Carlo Mombelli's Prisoners of Strange performance. The anticipation was palpable.
For tonight's performance Carlo had extended his usual four-piece to include a cellist and saxophonist.
 
The set's opening is dramatic, with flaring tango-esque melodies, and sets the tone for the evening: hectically busy but fed with a thick, loose groove. Introducing at least two new compositions and reworking released material the set consistently surprises the rapt audience.
'Untitled Prayer', the only 'straight' tune off 2000's 'Bats in the belfry', gets opened up for a slow jam led by Markus Wyatt's trumpet, while the following composition improvises over a reversed bass-loop, Mombelli playing a complex burst of bass which is fed into a loop and played back in reverse (don't even ask!): the effect is a hip-hop riff from Mars which the horns overlay with free Ornette Coleman-ish dialogues.
The complex, careening machine is concluded by an ambient otherwordly whistling  the bandmembers swinging coloured tubes at varying speeds above their heads.
Incredible.
 
After eleven highly-involved compositions the set is rounded of with a sparce, atmospheric piece after which the listeners applaud Mombelli into an encore, the title track to 2003's 'When serious babies dance'.
And dance they did.
 
Run by MELT 2000 I was delighted to hear that all the 'Dutch Reform' gigs (Georgiades, Kunene, Mohtle, Mombelli and Norman Chauke) were recorded for  release under the label.