The sound of free­dom


The Citizen (Gauteng) - - CITY -

Presents a pow­er­ful live show, ‘Let­ter to Aza­nia’, on No­vem­ber 24.

A Let­ter To Aza­nia at Jo­han­nes­burg’s Lyric The­atre.

“Aza­nia has al­ways been the promised land for the op­pressed black masses of the South.

“I want to do a show that high­lighted my re­la­tion­ship with that prom­ise. I want to com­mu­ni­cate with Aza­nia,” Mazwai said about her mo­ti­va­tion to do the show and its ti­tle.

She uses her mu­sic to weave the threads that il­lus­trate her early politi­ciza­tion and her vi­sions of a place called Aza­nia.

With A Let­ter To Aza­nia she aims to en­gage the idea that free­dom is a rest­less place and that we have not reached Aza­nia.

“I will re­veal in­ti­mate de­tails of my child­hood and my search for Aza­nia, and what it has come to mean” said Mazwai, who is both ner­vous and ex­cited about the show.

“I have never done a show so per­sonal. I be­lieve my fans know that I get very spir­i­tual in my work, but in this show there will be an in­ti­macy that I have never ex­plored be­fore.”

Mazwai says mu­sic has been ev­ery­thing to her, it gave her the gift to imag­ine and es­cape.

“Mu­sic gave me the abil­ity to pro­vide for my­self and my fam­ily. Mu­sic has been my medicine, and a place of great in­ter­ro­ga­tion and mem­ory.”

With a lot of artists los­ing their rel­e­vance in the mu­sic in­dus­try and some be­com­ing one-hit won­ders, Mazwai, 42, re­mains puz­zled about how she man­aged to main­tain her rel­e­vance in a cut-throat in­dus­try.

“My as­sump­tion would be that peo­ple found some res­o­nance in my pre­vi­ous work. “I love mak­ing mu­sic. Mu­sic is who I am and I do it be­cause it mo­ti­vates me to live,” she said with a smile.

The Soweto-born rev­o­lu­tion­ary says her mu­sic is for peo­ple who have ex­pe­ri­enced joy and suf­fer­ing, ex­plain­ing it as “the sound of free­dom” as cap­tured in a record­ing stu­dio.

“My sound trav­els. I be­gan as a novice at 19 mak­ing what ul­ti­mately be­came known as [the mu­sic genre] Kwaito with a group called Jack­nife – al­though we didn’t call it that – and in the past 23 years I have ex­per­i­mented with ev­ery­thing from funk, reg­gae, gospel and Xhosa to tra­di­tional mu­sic and jazz.”

The woman, also known as King Tha, is also part of the van­guard of Afro-pop mu­sic with her group Bongo Maf­fin.

In the Lyic’s au­dio-vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence, cu­rated by KingThaLive in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Black­mo­tion Pro­duc­tions, fans can ex­pect a range of sounds that have in­flu­enced her record­ings and per­for­mances, with songs from her own al­bums and ren­di­tions of tracks by some of her favourite mu­si­cians.

Her mu­sic strad­dles the ur­ban and ru­ral, ef­fort­lessly meld­ing tra­di­tional with mod­ern, and she has per­formed all over the world at venues in­clud­ing, Ra­dio City Mu­sic Hall and the BBC World Mu­sic Awards.

Pic­ture: Sup­plied

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

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