The Lists: 'Be glad that you are free', Urban Village and Ibeyi
Ibeyi: I bought French-Cuban duo Ibeyi’s self-titled debut album a few months ago but find myself only getting into it now. I really love Ghosts, River and Singles. (MB)
Urban Village: I had been warned by a scribe friend to look out for a band that guitarist Lerato Lichaba (formerly of BCUC) had formed.
I saw them for the first time at Fête de la Musique in Newtown, Johannesburg, and discovered that there is a whole horde of “villagers” who follow the band’s every turn.
Combining the right amount of visual spectacle with understated chops, the band is a charismatic vehicle for its cocktail of maskandi, mbaqanga, Afro-funk and rock. I can’t get the rousing riff and wordless opening refrain of uBaba out of my head. (KS)
Herbie Hancock: Musically, the thing that is blowing my mind right now is Herbie Hancock’s album Future Shock that was released in 1983. I picked up a vinyl copy second-hand at a market. It’s the first of what has been described as his “electro-funk” period and is also seen as an early example of instrumental hip-hop. On this album Hancock collaborates with bassist/producer Bill Laswell, who is a phenomenon all on his own. (LG)
The Reading List
Be Glad That You Are Free: This online essay is subtitled On Nina, Miles Ahead, Lemonade, Lauryn Hill and Prince. I came across it on writer TO Molefe’s timeline. Writer Max S Gordon keeps an even keel throughout, even as his rage bubbles under. It is brimming with ideas (“black madness”), persuasive arguments and gorgeous paragraphs. Read it here. (KS)
Peter Magubane: I am reading photographer Peter Magubane’s new book, simply titled June 16: 40th Anniversary Edition. It paints a much broader picture of the moments preceding and following the violence of the Soweto student protests. (MB)
Frontiers: The Epic of South Africa’s Creation and Tragedy of the Xhosa People: Noël Mostert’s book is an incredibly insightful account of the nine wars fought between the Xhosa and white colonialists in the Eastern Cape in the 18th and 19th centuries. Mostert’s book is both lyrical and deeply researched. A real gem. (LG)