Thursday, September 26, 2013

Videos for a World Music class

Tomorrow I'm going to skype in to my friend Tes Slominski's World Music class at Beloit college to chat to her students about South African music. I've put together a few of the videos I plan to use so that Tes can play them easily in the classroom, and so that the students can refer to them later.

Wavin' Flag. K'Naan

(listen from the beginning to 1:13)

When I get older, I will be stronger
They'll call me freedom,
Just like a waving flag (and then it goes back)

Born to a throne / Stronger than Rome
But violent prone / Poor people zone
But it's my home / All I have known
Where I got grown / Streets we would roam.
Out of the darkness / I came the farthest
Among the hardest survival
Learn from these streets / It can be bleek
Accept no defeat / Surrender, retreat
(So we strugglin') Fighting to eat
(And we wonderin') When we'll be free
So we patiently wait / For that fateful day
It's not far away / But for now we say

Wavin' Flag Coca Cola Celebration Mix

(play from beginning to 1:43)

Give me freedom / Give me fire
Give me reason / Take me higher
See the champions / Take the field now
Unify us / Make us feel proud
In the streets out / Heads are liftin'
As we lose our / Inhibitions
Celebration / It surrounds us
Every nation / All around us

(Singing forever young / Singing songs there beneath the sun
Let's rejoice in the beautiful game / And together at the end of the day we all say)

When I get older / I will be stronger
They'll call me freedom
Just like a wavin' flag
(So wave your flag)

Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) by Shakira, featuring Freshly Ground

 (Play from beginning to 1:26, then skip to 2:04 and play to end)

You're a good soldier / Choosing your battles
Pick yourself up and / Dust yourself off
Get back in the saddle
You're on the front line / Everyone's watching
You know it's serious / We're getting closer
This isn't over
The pressure's on / You feel it
But you've got it all / Believe it

When you fall get up oh, oh
And if you fall get up eh, eh
Zamina mina Zangalewa
'Cause this is Africa

Zamina mina eh eh / Waka waka eh eh
Zamina mina zangalewa
This time for Africa.

Zangalewa by Golden Sounds

(Play 1 minute, then skip to 7:20 and play to 8:31. Later I'll ask you to play from 1:30 to 1:36, and then to replay the Shakira from 0:11-0:20).

Afrikaners is Plesierig by Karen Zoid

(Play from start to 1:44)

Afrikaners is Plesierig Volkspele

Play about one minute only

Karen Zoid and Zolani Mahola sing Afrikaners is Plesierig

(Play about 30 seconds)

Zolani Mahola and Karen Zoid sing I'd Like

Vusi Mahlasela and Karen Zoid sing Weeping

(Play to 1:50)

Dorothy Masuka at the KKNK

I'd like us to watch the whole thing, but we might not have time.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Musical appropriations: Harlem Shake, Die Antwoord, and Graceland

What happens when a spoof of a hip hop dance becomes a viral meme?
Ethnographers write long blog posts about it. It's an interesting commentary, and makes curious reading alongside Chapters 3 (on Die Antwoord) and 4 (on Gangsta) of Adam Haupt's recent book Static: Race & Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media & Film (free download available) and alongside some of the comments and articles on Paul Simon's Graceland. There's the bare bones of an interesting seminar, I think.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Singing not so happily ever after

I want to create a course just so that I can show this to my students

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Big fat wet fluffy white snow flakes are falling outside my window, softening the view of concrete apartment blocks and leafless trees silhouetted against a grey sky. It's the day after Christmas. I have a cardigan in squishy Malabrigo and shades of burned orange (autumn leaves) on my knitting needles, and a dissertation chapter on women, mothers, feminists and nationalists under my fingers. Some very ordinary days feel uniquely good. Today is one of them. Even persistent housework, and admin, and frustrating paperwork can't really put a damper on things. In a few hours, my wife will be home, and we'll eat Christmas leftovers and talk about our day. The Christmas tree will flash multi-coloured flowers at us, and we'll try to decide between leftover chocolate cake and leftover malva pudding. I like my life. I sometimes forget that.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Listening closely

Sometimes my writing takes me away from the music for a while. Recently I've been doing a lot of non-dissertation work, and listening to the music required by that has crowded Karen Zoid out of my life soundtrack just a little. Today, this week, and until the end of this year, though, I'm back in Karen's space, and it feels like coming home. I've been listening for themes across groups of songs this week, comparing her writing on motherhood, and her writing on politics, and on race.... There are lots of possible groups. I was flicking through videos of her, looking for a different one, when the one below came up, and I was compelled to stop for a bit. You know how some songs feel like they were written just for you? This one hadn't been one of those for me, until I really listened to it today.

I think it may be because I was listening to and studying a different song with my class today, and so my ears were tuned to a particular interplay of rising melodic figures. Karen once asked me what music inspired me, and I always felt like I fluffed the answer by saying that it was her music. Of course it's her music. I'm writing a whole dissertation on her music. But it's also this. And it's something about the experience of performing this, and singing it with my students, and watching them as they talk about musical holiness, and then watching them as they understand how the composer did that, and how they can do that. That is what inspires me. And that type of music-making experience is why listening to Karen, and listening to the people who adore her, inspires me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

pwning the US Olympic Committee

I followed FIFA's heavy-handed tactics with possible trademark infringers in 2010 with great interest, not least because I really enjoyed the responses of some of South Africa's more playful advertisers.
So when the crafting community I am a member of, Ravelry, was hit in a similarly heavy-handed fashion today by the US Olympic Committee, I was fascinated by the response. I am not participating in the Ravelympics because I prefer to keep my crafting stress-free, but I was nonetheless annoyed by the condescending tone of the letter, which seemed to miss the point that the Ravelympics are really something of a celebratory tribute to the Olympics, and suggested instead that handiwork is less dignified than sporting endeavor. Yeah. You can see where this is going.
So I was quite delighted this evening to see not one but two apologies from Olympic Committee Spokesman Patrick Sandusky. Sometimes reason does prevail.