March 22, 2015. Posted by Simon Rentner.
We did it! Rhonda Hamilton, twenty-five lucky WBGO members and I are super-excited to be in the Rainbow Nation, South Africa.
This is the first peek at our adventures, so buckle in and enjoy the ride!
Our first stop: Lesedi Cultural Village. "Lesedi" means "place of light" in Basotho, one of South Africa's main tribal languages.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is in the heart of South Africa's characteristic bushveld and rocky hills, about 50 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg. It offers a peek into the lifestyles of the Basotho, Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, and Ndebele tribes.
Our charismatic tour guide gives us a quick lesson in Zulu, the dominant ethnic group in South Africa - about 80 percent of the population.
He also explains that in some tribes, a man is allowed more than one wife - depending on how many cows he owns. Our WBGO group is more women than men, but we all scoff when our guide says one powerful Zulu leader had sixty wives.
One of the highlights, or should I say, “high sights” of our tour is this tall gentleman, who stands guard in front of Lesedi's Zulu village. On cue, we collectively chant a request for entry, in the Zulu tongue. He grants our request.
Some of the ladies linger and repeat this exercise; I hear one of them say, “That fine man can guard my village any day of the week.”
Our guide offers us a staple dish, which may surprise many Westerners. Caterpillars! Yes, these creepy crawlers are very high in protein, rooty, and can be delicious when sautéed with onions and peppers.
Most in our group decide to pass on this culinary adventure - but I can say these salty, chewy treats can be good - as long as you erase the image of a creepy crawler from your mind.
Our first adventure ends with a thunderous bang – a show-stopping performance of rhythm, song, and dance by the village's folkloric dance troupe. To watch a video of this, click on the image above.
The Lesedi Village shows us “the light” of how our recent, and maybe even our ancient, ancestors lived, in the Cradle of Humankind. It should be noted that this locale has produced some of the oldest hominid fossils ever found, some dating back as far as 3.5 million years.
Yes, we’ve arrived in The Motherland, indeed. And we can’t wait to see more!
© 2015 WBGO
February 13, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Maxine Gordon talks with Rhonda Hamilton about the career of her late husband, saxophonist Dexter Gordon. The Dexter Gordon Legacy Ensemble performs at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York Feb. 26 to March 1, and there will be a listening party with Maxine and others on Dexter Gordon's Columbia years at Jazz At Lincoln Center Feb. 19. Enjoy!
© 2015 WBGO
December 11, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Saxophonist Jimmy Greene talks with Rhonda Hamilton about his new CD "Beautiful Life," which honors his daughter Ana Grace, who passed away in Newtown, CT on Dec. 14, 2012.
Greene performs at New York's Jazz Standard. Dec. 11-13 with Sachal Vasandani & Jean Baylor on vocals, Renee Rosnes and Orrin Evans on piano, Luke Sellick, bass, Jimmy MacBride, drums, and other special guests.
© 2014 WBGO