Out of KwaZulu-Natal comes a well-polished group that uses traditional musical instruments to give a professional performance.
Umakhweyane and Drumming Ensemble is a gem that will surely go straight from the National Arts Festival to the 2010 Fifa World Cup opening ceremony. The use of vuvuzelas and a whistle, coupled with spirited dance, is outstanding.
Favour Mdletshe, the deputy manager of the group, said: “The group spent time researching African instruments, such as the udluku (African violin), ingulule (friction drum), makhweyane (bow and string) and ikhalimba (thumb piano).”
The group also went to Mozambique to learn about playing the instruments and they had guests from Ghana, Lesotho and Senegal coming to teach them about instruments and dance.
Watching the group is like watching an International Library of African Music production. Professor Eddie Baart from Rhodes University would be deeply impressed by the sheer variety of sounds coming from this group’s instruments.
Mbali Buthelezi, blonde with dreadlocks, is marvellous to watch. She is inspirational, and plays several instruments with confidence.
The group is made up of third year and postgraduate students from the University of Zululand who have performed at several high-profile events around South Africa.
The finale is astonishing, with an orchestra-like powered performance. Unusual in African beat, one actor stood out and began conducting the cast.
This group − better than a choir, an orchestra and a jazz concert all in one − received a deserved standing ovation from the audience.
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