April 20, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Pianist Kenny Werner talks with Rhonda Hamilton about the "Effortless Mastery" institute and ensemble he leads at the Berklee College of Music. The group performs at New York's Blue Note Monday, April 20th at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Enjoy!
© 2015 WBGO
April 16, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt talks with Rhonda Hamilton about his CD "Tales, Musings And Other Reveries." Pelt performs with his quintet to celebrate the CD release at New York's Smoke April 17 to 19. Enjoy!
© 2015 WBGO
April 6, 2015. Posted by Rhonda Hamilton.
The culmination of our trip was the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, “Africa’s Grandest Gathering."
As the festival celebrated its 16th year, they chose to honor the 50th anniversary of the legendary South African mbaqanga singing group, the Mahotella Queens.
One of the original members, lead singer Hilda Tloubatla, is still with the group.
“We’ve got the spirit of the true musicians," she said, when asked what keeps the Mahotella Queens going strong. "We know how to go about a song - how to do a song.”
Well, you can believe that! From the first note, these ladies energized the crowd, which gave them a rousing reception.
Rounds of thunderous applause and loving shouts and screeches of approval echoed throughout the huge concert hall.
The concert of South African musical icon Hugh Masekela was the one that moved me most. The trumpeter is internationally revered as one of our master musicians.
More than any other artist, he has introduced the world to the music and culture of South Africa.
To be in the midst of an adoring South African audience as Hugh Masekela performed was a thrill I will never forget. You could feel the love they have for him, and he for them, his brothers and sisters.
My soul stirred as soon as I heard the familiar introduction to “Coal Train” (Stimela), Masekela’s dedication to the men who work in South Africa’s mines.
I’ve heard this song many times before, but this time, I heard it with new ears and a new understanding.
There is a train that comes from Namibia and Malawi
There is a train that comes from Zambia and Zimbabwe,
There is a train that comes from Angola and Mozambique,
From Lesotho, from Botswana, from Swaziland,
From all the hinterland of Southern and Central Africa.
This train carries young and old, African men
Who are conscripted to come and work on contract
In the golden mineral mines of Johannesburg
And its surrounding metropolis, sixteen hours or more a day
For almost no pay.
Deep, deep, deep down in the belly of the earth
When they are digging and drilling
For that shiny mighty evasive stone,
Or when they dish that mish mesh mush food
into their iron plates with the iron shank.
Or when they sit in their stinky, funky, filthy,
Flea-ridden barracks and hostels.
They think about the loved ones they may never see again
Because they might have already been forcibly removed
From where they last left them
Or wantonly murdered in the dead of night
By roving and marauding gangs of no particular origin.
We are told they think about their land and their herds
That were taken away from them with a gun, and the bomb
and the teargas and the cannon.
And when they hear that Choo-Choo train
They always curse, curse the coal train,
The coal train that brought them to Johannesburg.
Thank you, South Africa. Thanks to our hosts Hema Shah of Immersion Journeys and Judy Pillay of South African Tourism, and their respective staffs.
In Hema’s words, you are “awesome!”
Thanks to my colleague Simon Rentner for your hard work and for facilitating this trip, and to the team at WBGO.
Most of all, thanks to all of the wonderful people who were part of our group, and with whom we shared this amazing journey.
© 2015 WBGO