I think we are all making one mistake trying to separate, compare and divide musicians. Music is something we grew up listening to. Music is something that sounds nice in our ears.
Due to lack of knowledge when it comes to music, we tend to think that music is personal and that music sound in a certain way. Therefore start political discussions in order to judge who plays better and who sounds better.
Have you ever noticed that musicians and artists can communicate worldwide? Have you ever seen how much they speak through instruments and understand what’s being said without lyrics or words?
Speaking of experience, I have been to different types of concerts, from reggae music to jazz. There in between you will find hippop, shangara, bira, jiti, rock, hardrock, alternative, blues., soul, salsa, and enough that you can imagine of.
When I listen to Hugh Masekela, Meriam Makeba, Ochestra Baobab, Kassav, Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, and then to discover that all these people know one another, for example the group called Bueno Vista Social Club.
Take for example, Juluka and Don Gumbo. If you want to know that there used to be a group called Ilanga, and Chinx, and a group called Soul brothers.
Guys, I can write a book, but I would like to remind you that you cannot separate musicians just because you lack knowledge of your history.
Do you remember when Bob Marley went to Zimbabwe? Do you remember when Paul Simon played with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Harare together with Merian Makeba and Hugh Masekela? Do you know the reason why they had to play in Zimbabwe? Is it the moment when they made the Album Graceland? Do we know?
When it comes to Mtukudzi Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited whom I saw in Amsterdam in 1999 or 97 in Melkweg and Mtukudzi once in Stratford and then in Utrecht. As a Zimbabwean, I have so much respect when one has respect for our culture, what we call kutendeka, in what they eat, what they wear, and what they play. I speak from experience of having stayed in Europe for a long time but refusing to be indoctrinated, still have managed to learn the Western music, and culture. I feel rich because I have managed to maintain my own African culture, you can only appreciate more of yourself after you have opened up to a different world and in this case its music. I have been to a Metallica concert dressed like the way those people do. A different world to when you visit a concert played by a Bach imitator, classic.
Music is all universal and if you have ever known, the musicians worldwide respect Africans very much. The reason being the handmade instruments and most music that originated from Africa.
I know one thing that both of them travelled through out the world and have once played with other musicians. Internet is full of information and history.
Never limit yourself to one type of music because you will be surprised to see that even David Gilmore from Pink Floyd and Roger Waters have beautiful African sisters as vocalists. Listen to the album Division Bell. Or The Wall. Who still remembers the Beatles, PEPE KALE, Papa Wemba, Kanda Bongo Man.
I have been to a concert of @Queen played by Brian May, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, REM, @Radiohead, KASSAV’ Pinkfloyd, Pearl Jam, Paul Simon Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Chiwoniso Maraire, Hugh Masekela,U2, Mark Knopfler, Songhoy Blues Sona Jobarteh, Metallica, Habib Koite, Mokoomba, Stella Chiweshe & Michele Longo “official” Skunk Anansie Supertramp, Mamadou Diabate, ochestra baobab, Ibrahim FerrerFerrer, James Brown
And of course many other artists. I have been isolated in The Netherlands for 24 years now such that I have come to learn something about how Artist travel from African to Western countries. There is lack of support from Africans for African music and musicians. It’s something that has come to my attention that we as a people need to learn to work together and value who we are.
Because if organisations like Afrika festival, we manage to see some African groups and musicians, but can they afford to fill up a theater? The question stays there for now. This will be continued,……