On our Lists this week: Malidoma Patrice Somé, Mabuta, and Living Single
THE READING LIST
Malyn Newitt: A Short History of Mozambique. I spent so much time reading up on European history back in high school, so this is the beginning of a detailed catch-up course on African histories.
It’s the sort of book I wish had been part of my history setwork recommendations.
But don’t get me wrong — it isn’t set up like a textbook. It’s a beautifully detailed read that feels like a holiday trip across Mozambique with an incredibly wise tour guide. (ZH)
Malidoma Patrice Somé: Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman. This is the engrossing personal story of a Burkinabé shaman who relays the story of his initiation into healing practice from the axis of its reality. This reality is the spirit realm, where ancestry reverence, African spirituality and multiple cultural and shamanic traditions converge to deal with the problems of the visible world. By telling his story so vividly, Malidoma Somé creates a template for how these two worlds can coexist and address social issues from multiple sources of knowledge. (MB)
THE PLAY LIST
Gregory Porter: Musical Genocide. This is my jam. Here, singer Gregory Porter addresses the nonbelievers who discouraged him from pursuing a career in jazz, as opposed to something more commercial like R&B or pop, at a time like now in the United States. He emphatically sings: “I will not commit/ nor will I submit to musical genocide.” It’s a cool song and a reminder to stay true to one’s artistic form. Porter finds his grounding not in the whims of marketplace, but in the music itself. (ZH)
Living Single (season three). I’ve been watching this beloved 1990s series as my bedtime ritual for a week now and it’s as funny now as it was back when I was a kid. Amazon is life. (MB)
Mabuta: Welcome to this World. Although I love most of them, I sometimes need a break from our local jazz productions because I find them a tad too idiomatic. Sometimes I hunger for something a little levitational, and not too grounded in our history and pain. Perhaps a sonic representation of flight and freedom. None of these ideas are mutually exclusive, of course. It often boils down to a matter of emphasis and interpretation. In the case of Mabuta’s album, which I witnessed being performed live, I revelled in its textural richness, its inventive rhythmic propulsiveness and how it provided a gateway to witnessing humans straddle representations of the material and the ephemeral worlds. (KS)
The Lists were compiled by Milisuthando Bongela, Kwanele Sosibo and Zaza Hlalethwa