Traditional South African Music

Music will always be a binding factor across continents, cultures and personal choice. It is one thing that can be universal and personal all at the same time. It is a globally-understood language that is comprehendible; even without lyrics. Appreciating it is another matter but the process in doing so is like a discovery on its own.
South Africa is an example of music beyond borders. Literally and figuratively, traditional South African music transcends lineage, heritage, cultural inspiration and creativity. With that said, the roots of South African music can be traced even before the colonial era: a time when music was used for rites and ceremonies.
Instruments were highly influenced by the culture and the times of South Africa’s past. Musicians, tribesmen and slaves improvised to create their very own string instruments using the example of western-influences. Notable instruments include the Ramkie and the Mamokhorong. The ramkie was developed by the Khoi-Khoi; borrowed from the Malabar slaves, it was used to combine Khoi and Western music. The Mamokhorong is a string violin used for making music and celebrating dance in Cape Town and was also used by the Khoi for their ceremonies and celebrations. Soon, the city became a melting pot for cultures, nationalities and ideas and of course, music.
The most common of all traditional South African musical instruments is the voice. Singing is probably the most used ‘instrument’, accompanied with other instruments played by mouth. The mouth bow, one of the more famous indigenous instruments known to its people, has made its way up the contemporary music ladder. In addition to the bow, the drums and thumb piano are also staple South African musical instruments which are accompanied by dancing and celebration.
Being rich with foreign cultural influence, South Africa is encompassed by missionary character that is still apparent today. Music introduced by the missionaries during the earlier colonial times are still present as jazz and soul music can be considered a very much integral part of traditional South African music. One notable artist in this category is former pop singer Rebecca Malope.
This strong influence of choir singing and gospel songs, which the missionaries brought to South Africa, along with the musical culture native to the people, has been a great contributor not only to the already rich culture but to the identity of its people. Indeed, traditional music from South Africa lives on with us today, transcending language barriers and borders.

Music Downloading – Legal, Legit and Fun

Music downloading is here to stay, it’s legit, it’s legal, and everyone is doing it. The internet is a disruptive technology, and music downloading was the first real poster child for all that disruptive behavior. Apart from a few unmentionable topics, music was and still is one of the biggest looked for and downloaded items on the internet. And just as well it should be. It makes perfect sense. It fits, it’s convenient, it better for the artists, and in the long run, better for the consumer. The only guy it’s not great for, is the big money middle men. But hey, they had their chance and blew it. More on that later.

Long Live The Nobodies
Indies are the heart and soul of the music world. At one point in time every musician was an indie looking for their big break. They did what they did for the love of their art. Because it felt good. Along the way some found their big break, lost their soul, and sold out. You know the ones. Their the ones whose first big album was great, and all the rest sucked. Some got their big break, and stayed true to their art, and kept their soul. They just keep cranking out great music for years on end. The internet loves indies. It’s the great equalizer. Any artist can have an online presence, promote their music to an audience of millions, and let consumers download their music to their hearts content.. They don’t need mister megabucks-big-corporate-middle-guy. And boy is the old middle guy worried.

Napster vs The Big Boys
A few years ago, Napster started off as the music bad boy of the online world. Breaking all the rules (what rules?) and trash talking the big boys with one of the largest grass root movements ever seen. Everybody and their hamster was downloading free music, and there was nothing anyone could do. Until . . . the big boys took those trash talking music computer geeks to see the judge. And hey, the big boys won, Napster lost. Actually, nobody really won. The consumer lost, cause now they had to drive to the mall to get their music. Napster was put out of business (temporarily). Even the big boys lost, cause now there were a hundred little napsters doing the exact same thing, plus they let the best tech available for music downloads slip out of their fingers, instead of using it as their own distribution channel. Bad bad bad big boys.

Download Me Now . . . Please
Now everyone wants you to download their music. iTunes, Amazon, Cnet, Cousin Eddy . . . everyone. Even Napster, is back in the music download music. Pay for and legit of course. The big boys are still worried. The indies are on the rise, and I don’t have to drive to the mall to get my favorite music. Lucky me.

Welcome To My Future – The Musical
Things are only gonna get better. As the internet gets bigger and faster, their will be more choice and convenience for music consumers, more artists will be able to make a decent living, and the latest collection of blond bimbo divas with their boy band boyfriends will only be a footnote amongst the praise being leveled on the rising wave of talented and genuinely artistic indie stars. Of course someones gotta lose in this whole new paradigm. Here’s hoping it’s mister fat-cat-do-nothin record promoter that’s been relegated to selling the best in new wave vacum cleaners to my inlaws.


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