Hey hello world,Its Tewa Coy calling from all sorts of places and cities as I travel in and out of my head to get to you.Last week I witnessed Thami Mlotshwa in one of the best live shows I have ever seen at a club in South London,it inspired me to create this blog where I would like to talk about all things African.From the beginning to now,in music and culture in church and out into the world of the Africa I so love and hate all at the same time.I have opinions as all others do and I am a great listener but I am also a little pigheaded, sometimes and a light knock on my head every now and then would not go astray,at least once in a blue moon.
I have followed African artist for many years now and I have decided to share what I know and feel about what ever I have learnt.I am addicted to vocal harmonies and Africa never seizes to pump them out in all forms and sizes.This is where I am at the moment in the past when and where I first an artist called Thami Mlotshwa born Thamsanqa Solomon Mahlambi Mlotshwa.I met Thami in Malawi in 1983 While he was Part of what was then called the Shingombela Show, lead by a Mozamquean Singer and show man called Evis Kumbe.Thami was supposed to be a support act but it turned out differently,he was in fact a lot more powerful than the the main act by far and I was fascinated by the dynamics on and off the stage,I lived at Lilongwe hotel where the act was showing and residing so I had the opportunity to meet and share with all involved.I found the Shingombela music and act rather dull and dated at the time, which probably explains why Thami shone a lot brighter than the main act even though he was singing old songs mainly Mirriam makeba songs but also his own creations.Its how he owned these songs that made them sound timeless,on top of them being already timeless. Thami`s rendition of ‘Dubula” in particular,a Makeba song from the 60`s was mind blowing and I still have a live recording which I will soon share with u soon.
I left Malawi for Lusaka,Zambia Where I had the opportunity to meet the Grand dame of African Music Dorothy Masuka and I was amazed at how similar she was to Thami in her delivery ,it dawned to me then that Thami idolizsed her as much as he did Makeba.It all came together ,suddenly I understood where he was coming from,what made him tick.I took time then to Listen to both these African divas and I was hooked.I was hooked to the spirit of song that came through,I was already a big fun of Thami and so meeting this lady just made a lot of sense.This is how I got into all things African.In the music I found there was a lot more than just songs,these voices echoed the beauty of Africa, of the past ,her love and her art, her joys and her suffering her sunset and her sunrise.I understood a lot about Africa simply by listening to these voices sing.I fell in love with Africa through her music.Later I read somewhere that Thami was running a 6 nights show at Hotel Kilimanjaro in Dar-Es-Salaam,Tanzania.This gig turned out to be the thing to happen in Dar for a long time.It ended up Running t full house for 2 years.
Earlier Thami had worked all over Southern Africa and in South Africa he had worked with greats like Pat Shange an 80`s South African pop star,Kori Moraba,Joy and Rejoice just to name a few but,its when he joined Phillip Tabane and Malombo jazz that a very unique sound came through. Malombo was created early in the sixties by Phillip Tabane.A unique sound comprising of Guitar,traditional drums and flute.Tabane was the voice of Malombo and in their 20 years had never had a lead vocalist.Thami was the first.I was not there then but the memories of those days remained fresh in the hearts of all those that were.When I listened to Malombo I just could not imagine Thami and them together until recently when I listened to recordings of Thami on the ulbum’The spirit Sings’an amazing one man Choir recorded by Thami at Glebe studios.The ‘Spirit Sings’ is one of those musical works that you do not find easily.It has an air of something sacred,something deep and private.One of the songs there called ‘Chimoto’, took me away in seconds and I found myself staring at Lions deep in the night of an African Jungle.I was mesmerized. Thami has Recorded three albums to date but also has a collection of Recordings Pending compilation.
This being my first Blog I will be sharing with you a lot more about Thami and his work in the past 20 years and also other African artists.If you would like to listen to some of of Thami`s music you can go to Sound cloud and type in ‘Spirit Sings’ and there you will discover a universe of voices unlike any you ever have heard.I also will be talking about African arts of all kinds after we I have completed the music series on this Blog.