Amampondo – Inyama
This is an African album drawing influence from traditional Xhosa songs, music from the rest of Africa and the music of African descendants all over the world. It is an acoustic album with minimum electronics, but the sound is big, it’s a celebration of life in the Rainbow Nation. Buy it and feel free to dance!
1. Inkomo - 7:10 2. Sasenzeni Na? - 8:16 3. Inyama - 6:07 4. Victory - 7:32 5. Bathi Ndiyabanda - 7:22 6. Ntombi Lungile - 4:57 7. Wie Het Vir Jou Gese? - 6:55 8. Molweni - 2:12 9. Molweni 2 - 1:46
Dizu Plaatjies (lead vocals, marimba, percussion, kalimba (mbira), flute (reed), drums, xylophone (akadinda) , Mzwandile Qotoyi (marimba, percussion, kayomba, drums, vocals, acoustic guitar, xylophone (akadinda) , Simpiwe Matole (marimba, percussion, drums, vocals, xylophone (akadinda), soprano vocals, piccolo, marimba) , Xola Mlambo (marimba, percussion, vocals, drums, xylophone (akadinda) , … …
About the Artist:
Amampondo was formed in 1979 and was originally made up of seven young men from the same neighbourhood in Langa township, outside Cape Town. Amampondo, means, literally, a grouping of people from Mpondo - Pondo land, in the Eastern Cape between Umtata and Port St johns. They chose this name to reflect their strong desire to preserve South African and Southern African traditional music and the Xhosa musical traditions and instruments, keeping them alive and growing.Twenty years later Mandla Lande, Simpiwe Matole, Michael Ludonga, Blackie Zandisile Mbizela, together with the newer members are still bound by their dedication to preserving their culture.
The journey of this nine piece percussion ensemble has been a long one. Starting out on the streets of Cape Town, they busked to raise cash for more instruments and by 1981 were playing at the Scratch Club. During the same time they were also working with ethnomusicologists to study the traditions found in Nigeria, The Ivory Coast, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Transkei. Working with the rhythms, dances and songs of Southern Africa, the group created a pan African sound that soon won them critical acclaim. In 1983 they travelled to Johannesburg where they played at the Market Theatre. Here they were reviewed to see if they were suitable for export as ambassadors of South African music. Planning on spending two weeks there they stayed six years, given work and subsequently sent to perform in Israel, Reunion and Taiwan. These travels however led to some amount of trouble for the band later on.
In 1988 Amampondo were asked to play at Nelson Mandela's seventieth birthday concert at Wembley. This spectacular performance established their international reputation as one of the world's best percussion groups, and seen by millions on television worldwide was a huge success for the band. All their fees were donated to the ANC demonstrating their political activism during this period, but unfortunately on their return the ANC's cultural desk had banned them from performing either outside or inside South Africa. They claimed it was a result of them playing in Israel and Taiwan, but having just played at Mandela's concert the boycott was somewhat surprising. Unable to perform for four years, the band stayed in Langa and concentrated upon educational programs in an effort to teach South African culture in schools. These workshops and the satisfaction gained from giving something back to society helped keep the band together.
Eventually help arrived with the assistance of Archbishop Desmond Tutu with whom they had previously recorded an album 'Give Praise Where Praise Is Deserved' after he won the Nobel peace Prize. He wrote to the ANC complaining about the boycott, and it was shortly reversed unleashing Amampondo once more onto the international stage. Carrying their clearance letter they set off for Germany and France in '92 with five months grace before the boycott was reinforced ! However by this time Mandela was about to walk free giving them his blessing. When he was released he started recommending them for work having seen one of their videos whilst in prison. He promoted them as ambassadors of South African music and to this day they remain his favourite band. It was he who nominated them to represent their country at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games held in Atlanta in '96.
Having travelled the world transporting their music to over thirty countries, their dynamic display traverses cultural and historical boundaries and has made them the popular percussion ensemble that they are today.
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