WBGO Blog
  • WBGO In South Africa 1: Lesedi Cultural Village

    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.

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    This is the first peek at our adventures, so buckle in and enjoy the ride!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.”

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    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.

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    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!

  • Kevin Eubanks & Stanley Jordan Live At WBGO: Listen Now

    March 20, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Guitarists Kevin Eubanks & Stanley Jordan play live at WBGO and talk with Gary Walker about their careers and new Mack Avenue album, "Duets." Jordan performs with bassist Charnett Moffett Mar. 20 and 21 at New York's Birdland, and the pair perform at the Mayo Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey on June 25th. Enjoy!

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  • Behind The SFJAZZ Collective's Original Approach To Joe Henderson

    March 19, 2015

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    The SFJAZZ Collective: (L-R) Avishai Cohen, Matt Penman, Obed Calvaire, Miguel Zenón, David Sánchez, Robin Eubanks, Warren Wolf, Edward Simon. (Image Credit: Jay Blakesberg/Courtesy of SFJAZZ)

    The SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star octet representing the SFJAZZ institution in San Francisco, has an intriguing approach to repertoire. Each year, each member writes a new piece for the Collective, and also rearranges a composition by a modern jazz master. For the 2014-15 season, that master was tenor saxophone titan Joe Henderson, a longtime San Francisco resident.

    Jazz Night In America goes behind the creation of the ensemble's new repertoire, with music from a four-night concert run in October of last year (now collected on the double-CD release Live: SFJAZZ Center 2014). Hear Joe Henderson classics reimagined, as well as new work from artists like saxophonist David Sánchez and trombonist Robin Eubanks.

    Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.