Welcome to another Magnificent Monday and this week the theme is
Those zany, gifted or extrovert entertainers game enough, or desperate enough to get out and perform in front of the public bring music to our lives, and brighten our streets. Whether it's with an old battered guitar and a cap with a few coins in it on the ground, or a painted face performing mime to passers-by who re-act as if they just didn't see them, I'll stop and listen, and drop a few dollars down. I love them. They're gutsy people.
Strange how so many times we've come across a lone performer, and we stop, listen and enjoy them, and soon because we have stopped, others do also. Our actions seem to be the catalyst to begin the crowd-making process.
During the day in my workshop I listen to their music all day long. I collect CDs from our travels - so many were purchased from street musicians: marimba or male choral groups from Cape Town's Waterfront, percussion music of amputees at Cambodia's Angkor Wat, a lady balalaika player at the Museum of Wooden Architecture near Irkutsk, heaps more : you could chart our travels by my CD collection.
|Mlilwane Game Reserve accommodation, Swaziland.|
"Don't walk on you own. Keep cameras and wallet hidden." Gerhard (Guts) cautioned us, saying he would stay with us all the time.
As we drove the main street of its capital Mbabane, the sound of music coming from a crowd on the roadside caught my ears. I asked Guts to stop so we could check out what looked like a music performance near the market. I can't go past a good street performance!
" I cannot leave the car, it may be broken into. If you go, I will stand by the car and you must stay in sight of me." Guts solemnly warned us.
Kay was rather worried but I was adamant I wanted to enjoy the music. I thought that by acting and walking confidently, we may be taken as visiting business South Africans rather than tourists; my Springbok Rugby top would be a rather cool disguise! I had been given this by our friend Guts, our driver. Moving purposely through to the front of the crowd of over 100 people, we witnessed a guy singing his heart out. African music particularly Zulu or Swazi style, has a terrific driving beat: it's infectious and inspiring with massed male voices backed with the higher accompanying female tones often singing many different rhythms woven together. This guy on the pavement was giving a commanding performance accompanied by two female back-up vocalists, and speakers pumping out pre-recorded instrumental soundtrack. I would presume he has gained his powerful voice and singing style in church gospel choirs.
|Buying my CD. Shiba is taking a break, crouched to the right in the photo.|
"30 rand." Around $5.00. Not worth bargaining it down. Out came the few rand I had screwed up in my pocket.
As he handed me the CD a roar of what could only be approval came from the crowd! In an instant, what seemed like a threatening situation turned into welcoming and acceptance. Several slapped me on the back, someone shook my hand, and many gestured a wave of appreciation. My green and gold Springbok top was stroked and patted.
"Good colours." I heard someone say.
"First sale. Good man.''
Shiba the showman caught my eye, and while still singing gestured an appreciative wave. We were friends.
Hopefully I wasn't the only person to buy that day. $5 doesn't sound like much but in Swaziland it's the equivalent of 3 days average income for most.
Today, my CD of Shiba and Travellers is often playing in my workshop...along with all the other CDs I brought back from 4 Africa trips.
|A real entertainer, Shiba.|
I wish I could find this guy on YouTube! Nothing posted.
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