Over the past few days we have witnessed tribal dance – all tying to the life of Hugh Masekela in some way. Africa’s best dance crew, is serious! From crump to hip hop all the elements must have been established here. Aided by flutes and shakers the voices and drums are so captivating. Swazi dance seemed like more of a show, but that also could have been the environment. The men and women danced in separate groups around the fire. An African rain ended the show giving realness as we watched the dance end and the fires extinguish in the downpour. In Ndebele Village the men were much more aggressive than the woman. The men were driven by high kicks and athleticism while the women were a constant chant. In Malamuele it got raw and real with driving percussion and jam like atmosphere. Each group cheered on their peers and local humor showed through the performances – so much energy… but that same day got really hard core at sunset in Mashamba. Lit by car head lights the field went off! The whole community involved, it was beautiful via the simplicity and we all left blown away by what we witnessed.
Interestingly, much of the drum work through everything we have seen has been held down by the mama’s, the women are the metronomes of family and art. Cindy Blackman has blown us away playing with Lenny and many others and something tells us she is very aware of these tribal sounds. Today was another crazy scene in Ramogkopa – the Botlokwa people with their king in attendance destroyed a log fence line area. Every player seemed to enjoy dancing before their king and Hugh, Sal and Moss. It was an a game presentation of young and old and the elders stealing the show.
Every style proud. Every style real. Passed down generationally, bare feet may have been replaced by Chuck Taylor’s but tradition is alive and hopefully never fading in this land dance.
These experiences will play during ESPN’s World Cup coverage, a Hock Films production.