Experience Africa’s oldest sound

17 February 2004

In a unique musical combination, the internationally acclaimed Imilonji kaNtu Choral Society, the Traditional African Orchestra, and Drumstruck are teaming up to present the African Sound Experience at the Market Theatre on 18-19 February.

The project melds voices, drums and traditional African instruments in a way that has never been done before. Some of the instruments to be played on the two nights have not been played for decades, or are played in such remote areas as to be difficult to source.

Soweto’s famous 40-strong Imilonji kaNtu Choral Society, led by director Gobingca George Mxadana, will accompany the uhadi bow harp, tshikona reed pipe, ixilongwe, kudu horn, mbira, marimba, drum, shaker and clapper.

Composer and instrument researcher Anthony Caplan of the Traditional African Orchestra will conduct the performances, which will offer a unique opportunity to explore the depths of texture, power and diversity of African culture on Newtown’s stage.

Seating is limited, and bookings are through Computicket.

The Orchestra and the Drum Cafe, in alliance with Mxadana, Wendeen Lieberman of the Arts and Culture Trust, and Johannesburg’s CIDA City Campus, have set out to rediscover Africa’s unique musical legacy, and to fuse it in a celebration that is less about the past than a vote of confidence in the future.

The project aims to bring together traditional instruments, song and dance to promote and preserve indigenous African music in all its diversity. It also aims to showcase outstanding talent, and to revive the sung and dramatic African traditions.

The Drum Cafe, which started off as a corporate teambuilding and entertainment company, has expanded over the last two years and embarked on a range of projects aimed at educating the public in traditional South African music.

Imilonji Kantu Choral Society The Imilonji kaNtu Choral Society, founded in 1983 and drawing its choristers from Soweto, is one of South Africa’s most prestigious choral groups. The choir has performed at music festivals around the world – as well as at the inauguration ceremonies of former president Nelson Mandela in 1994 and President Thabo Mbeki in 1999.

Imilonji Kantu’s stunning rendition of South Africa’s national anthem is on almost every CD the choir has brought out, including:

Ibuyile I’Afrika