To the Peace on Earth Launch Edition

 

The official release celebration of the new book To the Peace on Earth takes place in Johannesburg on Thursday evening 7PM at the Roving Bantu Kitchen.

The book is set in the post apartheid era and is released under a multi-media theme of 25 years of democracy.

Programme of the launch:

Madala Kunene performing live:
Showing of the film “Rebirth: The House of Nsako” by Sifiso Ntuli
Release of the book To the Peace on Earth and introduction to some of the stars of the story including Madala Kunene, Robert Trunz and Zoe Molelekwa.

About Madala Kunene From the book story of SA Jazz Volume One)

Madala Kunene is a Zulu guitarist playing his own style of music Madalaline. It is based on melody and traditional composition. Madala is often given the title ‘King of Zulu guitar’, however his music expands far beyond the traditional maskanda. His music is of universal appeal. It has a jazz influence, a reggae influence and many other influences.

Madala Kunene was born in 1951 in Cato Manor. He refused to spend so much as a day at school. He started busking on Durban’s beachfront at the age of 7, making his first guitar out of a cooking oil tin and fish gut for the strings, soon becoming a popular performer in the townships. He said: “It was my ancestors that didn’t want me to go to school. They gave me a talent so that instead of school, I played my music”.

Madala grew up in uMkhumbane, the cultural hotspot of the 50s. He grew up, amongst a plethora of other musicians. Musically this influence would have brought a massive variety of sights and sounds to him as a young child. Madala began paving his own path and creating his own unique sound from the word go. This is what he today calls Madalaline. He wanted to touch the world with his music. By the age of 7 he was playing a homemade guitar and about to begin a lifelong career as a musician. He began busking on Durban’s beachfront in the late 50s. Durban was at its most pristine.

It was a Cuba of that era with the sea running right up to the rocks that neighboured the roads. Durban beachfront was a multi coloured array of people and cultures trading and enjoying the lovely cool spray from the warm Indian Ocean as they walked the promenades, taking rickshaws, perusing bead craft and listening to the young buskers that Madala joined. To this day there is a tradition of busking on the beachfront. Madala and his great friend, Syd Kitchen shared an amazing history and lived experience that would eventually lead to an extended collaboration. The two Bafo’s (friends) performed and recorded together as Bafo Bafo. Unfortunately Syd Kitchen passed away shortly after he was married for the first time. He was in his fifties! “Death is life lived halfway!” explained photographer Peter McKenzie when we heard the news. At some point of both these musicians careers, they made their daily bread from busking on Durban’s beachfront. That takes incredible faith. But they did it. Madala’s music continues to tell his amazing story of the life of a true blue Zulu Gypsy musician, like Manu Chau. Madala can be recognised in performance throughout the world through his multi coloured and typically African attire. Madala was recorded extensively by Melt2000.

When record producer Robert Trunz arrived in Africa from England (and the Swiss Alps before that) he found an incredibly new world. He changed radically. He became a multi coloured man with an African understanding of spirituality and a flare for bright coloured dress. Madala gave Robert many great recordings and Robert gave Madala a house in Queensborough not far from where he grew up and where he lives to this day. This was a defining moment of Madala’s career for it was during these years that he formed a distinctive international presentation of his music that fits under the definition Madalaline.

Sometimes it may only be two chords, but it is the music of Madala, what he has been playing from his very first days as a musician. Madala is a Zulu word for old man, an indication of the wisdom of this man, more than the age because Madala has a youthful exuberance and a childlike humour. He is able to make one laugh and smile regardless of one’s age.

About Sifiso Ntuli

Sifiso Ntuli was born in Kwa Zulu Natal and lived in Johannesburg. During the anti-apartheid struggle was a member of the ANC and went into exile in Swaziland,  Tanzania and Canada where he studied electrical engineering and also got involved with the Native American struggle.

For Ntuli, culture was always a primary outlet for creating change. He made the radio documentary,‘Umzabalazo, the songs of struggle,’ which was later transferred to ‘Amandla: A revolution in four part harmony,’ a successful documentary film, in which he acted as narrator.

In 1994 as a returning exile, Ntuli began to work closely with culture to create the conditions to sustain freedom and build on the concept of African Renaissance.

Ntuli’s Pan African and reggae music promotion concept  ‘Dark City Jive’ at the Tandoor venue in Yeoville started a reggae tradition there that continues to this day. He was co- founder of the Politburo digital and live music sessions. The House of Nsako music venue in Brixton initiated many artists of the era including Blk Jks, The Soil, Tidal Waves and Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Ntuli together with Ashley Herron founded Roving Bantu Kitchen in Brixton. It was once a strategic high point of Johannesburg. It is now a multi-cultural neighbourhood in transition.

Ntuli’s film is Rebirth: Closing of House of Nsako

About Robert Trunz  (Extracts from To the Peace on Earth)

Rob had a life long love affair with sound. By the age of 12 Rob got his first amplifier, a one piece turntable. He modified the terrible speakers. After establishing himself in the speaker trade, he joined B & W Speakers in management and marketing. By 1984 he headed B & W Speakers which was a massive international proposition.

Rob began recording South African music on a farm he bought in Brownhill UK. Old horse stables were converted into a studio where all the musicians would crowd in to make their records. It was a full house all the time. There was Mabi Thobejane, Byron Wallen, Amampondo and Robert “Doc” Mthalane. It was on this farm that Mabi met Ben, or Juno Reactor as he was known in England. They made their first trance track with African rhythms called Conga Fury, later licenced to the Matrix movie and they toured the world regularly, with frequent visits to the United States and Japan.

MELT2000 standing for Musical Energy Loud Truth Beyond 2000 was founded by Robert Trunz and Airto Moreira in 1996 in West Sussex after Rob’s son Nico was born.

Rob with B & W loudspeakers as his backbone was very efficient and very hard working in creating a foundation for music. This came at great personal cost to his social and financial life. There were very real risks. He was very concerned about how people lived, and what tools they had. In South Africa it was a time for skills transfer and change in all directions. Everyone wanted the opportunity to change.

In 2014 he started a studio and founded Forest Jam in Switzerland. With his ability to spot talent, he got a lot of great musicians to join the project. Parents and friends sponsored the studio to become an education outlet for young people to access different cultures and music.

ABOUT Zoe Molelekwa

Zoe Molelekwa was 6 years old when his parents died. As a pianist, Zoe recorded in Maputo with Forest Jam. They made a version of the Moses Molelekwa composition called “Wa Mpona.”

About the author: 

Struan Douglas was born in Umhlanga Rocks Kwa Zulu Natal to Tessa and Robert Douglas in 1976. His early years were dedicated to sport. A near death experience in 1988 shifted his interests from sports to humanities. After graduating from UCT (University of Cape Town South Africa) with honours in religion and philosophy, he worked as a freelance journalist specialising in South African jazz and African music. He created the recording archives Archive Africa, Wondergigs and Goema Captains of Cape Town. The website afribeat.com was launched in 2000 and is a content portal helping people tell their stories.

He has authored, edited and published books including; Shadows of Justice, Airborne to Africa, The New South Africa and the friends around her, and The Story of SA Jazz, Volume’s 1 – 3:

About the book:

To the Peace on Earth explores the authors search for meaning after the tragic double double suicide of Moses Molelekwa and his wife, and then Moses Khumalo.

It is written through the lens of South Africa’s freedom march documented by Melt2000 records, and the enormous and multi beneficial investment into music by Swiss speaker entrepreneur Robert Trunz.

Carol Muller’s review on All jazz radio states: “A healing in music took place through Trunz’s music label, MELT2000, and writer/musician Douglas found a much needed home in this Musical Energy Loud Truth space.”

To the Peace on Earth is a story of many musicians and masters that help create healing.

Madala Kunene who also featured in the book Story of South African Jazz Volume One is one such musical mentor and healer to many. He will be performing at the opening launch of the book in Johannesburg April 25th

The urgency to release this book was inspired by a Winston Mankunku quote which will be published in the Story of SA Jazz Volume 2 later in the year. Mankunku said “If I can stop one person from killing I have done my job.”

The book has been constantly written over the last four years and has enjoyed wonderful contributions from the cultural family of Melt2000, Trunz, Lianne Cox and the late Ananda Masset who the book is dedicated to.

An inspiration is Moses’s son Zoe Molelekwa. Zoe wrote on facebook: “I would like to send a heartfelt thanks to all the people who have had a positive influence on my life in the darkest of times with my fight against depression/PTSD. All the Artists I have seen on stage who reignite our fires each time we witness them sharing parts of themselves that would be unknown to us, if it were not for their courage, passion and integrity, for uplifting our spirits even when yours was in a constant struggle too.”

Carol Muller confirms the healing spirit of the book. She writes: This book touches the unavoidable real by opening our minds to what constitutes the ‘void’, from entering disorientation that can manipulate the mind,  to experiencing the beauties of Ubuntu love and respect found on the African continent.  Douglas uses the metaphorical ‘fifth’ to explain:  “As the fifth in music harmonically divides the octave, so the fifth dimension in Spiritual terms co-creates.”

To the Peace on Earth is targeted at people between the age of 18 and 35. As much as the book deals with the “27 suicide club” it focuses on the causes of suicide offering a full university for overcoming it.

As Zoe Molelekwa wrote in his message: “Let go of what you’re holding onto if it isn’t building your character, for the better. Take care of yourself, take care of your body and your mind, nurture them so that they may be able to carry you through the High times and the Low, as we each journey forth towards our dreams. I wish you well on your journey to happiness and finding peace within yourself. Stay strong and pat yourself on the back. Don’t forget how you thought it would never get better.”

Muller confirmed in her review: “The Cullinan farm and its various inhabitants provided this ‘nature spirit’ space  where African griots, drummers, trance-dancers of the Kalahari, and other newer students of sound in his Forest Jam project could co-create.  By 2015, Douglas found a new journey, having manifested projections involving a vast healing.”

 “Melt2000 projects harnessed and promoted energy and a spirit of activism and thoughtfulness. It was never in an overt political social way, it was simply in the spirit of doing, creating and making magic. It became the documentation heritage of post-apartheid music. People were coming together and finding their truth beyond race. ” Extract

The cultural identity of that post-apartheid South Africa era is an awareness of social cohesion and multi-cultural harmony, such as unity in diversity, uBuntu and xe xarra xe are all described in the book.

 

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