The Brisbane-based South African Australian Multicultural Association's Carnival Band recently recorded a South African medley that has been included in a CD called Songs of Hope.
The CD project was a partnership with the Beenleigh Neighbourhood Centre and Ethnic Broadcasting Association of Queensland (4EB FM).
The Carnival Band's contribution consisted of a South African medley that reflects a diverse and multicultural South Africa. It includes traditional Cape Town minstrel songs, which have a rich cultural history stemming back to the 1800's. These songs were sung by slaves and their descendants from Africa, East Indies, America and Asia annually on January 2 in a carnival of joy, freedom and unity. This is a tradition that continues today.
The medley also includes Shosholosa, which was a lament sung by Africans, sometimes when far away from home, while doing hard labour. It has become one of South Africa's most popular songs, especially as an anthem at sporting events.
Another component of the medley was the gumboot dance, which arose out of the oppression of labourers in Johannesburg's gold mines. The labourers initially communicated by tapping their gumboots, and this eventually became a world renowned dance.
Managed and co-ordinated by the Multicultural Association, the Carnival Band and the gumboot dancers have participated in various community festivals and events and were invited to participate in the CD project after performing at the Beenleigh Neighbourhood Christmas party in 2009.
The Association focuses on South African culture and arts and was born during an international soccer tournament hosted by the Queensland Buffers in 2008.
The Association's president Brenda Desplace says that the scars of apartheid still linger and it is hoped that the performance of music from diverse South African cultures will encourage healing and, more importantly, become a true celebration and representation of South African music and dance.
“Many people are aware of South Africa because of the country's strong representation in sport or because of the negative history. However, we hope that within multicultural Australia, artists can work together to present a true reflection of diverse South Africa, which can be demonstrated through performances that include Afrikaans, English and Zulu songs.”
Anyone who is interested in music, dancing and singing is welcome to participate, says Brenda. “Although we focus on retaining as much authenticity as possible, we have modified the music style and song selections to reflect the diversity of the band. We would love to increase the size of the band and welcome anyone who is interested in joining.” In particular, they are seeking brass players (trumpet and sax), ukulele or banjo players along with keyboard or accordion players, guitarists and percussionists.
In addition to a focus on recruiting more members, the band's plans for 2010 include a regular performance at a Gold Coast restaurant, as well as performances at community events and Christmas activities.
Looking ahead Brenda says her dream is for the choir to attract talented adult and children singers, who will perform a broad selection of South African music. “In this way the band will contribute to the enhancement and understanding of South Africa's diversity not just through it's history, but through an appreciation of it's diverse culture.”
For more information contact Brenda on firstname.lastname@example.org.