Cape Town is lucky in all sorts of ways. (It's also deeply troubled, but that's a topic for another post.) The city nestles between Table Mountain and the sea in one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world. The people are wonderful, the food is amazing, and it has its own music -- goema.
I'm going to be talking about goema's history at the annual conference of South African Association for Jazz Education [SAJE] next Tuesday afternoon at the University of Cape Town. I'll be making the point that goema -- a music that blends influences from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas -- could only have grown in Cape Town's unique soil. It's rooted in a history of slavery and forced migrations, colonialism, dispossession, struggle, and ultimately freedom.
My friends Paul Sedres and Mac McKenzie will follow me on the program (I promise to be short) and talk about goema's present and future. Then Mac will play some goema, in all its diversity. (Mac is the first person that you hear speaking in the trailer for the wonderful documentary "Mama Goema," directly below.)
"Mama Goema: The Cape Town Beat in Five Movements."
I don't doubt for a minute that most of the audience will be delighted if there's a lot more playing than talking. Mac is an underground legend in South African music circles. He first came to prominence in the '80s, fronting The Genuines, a band that combined rock, jazz, funk, and goema. Since then he's been involved in a variety of extraordinary projects, including the Cape Town Goema Orchestra.
"Cutting 'Mama Goema."
By the way, I'm a big fan of "Mama Goema." The filmmakers -- Ángela Ramirez, Sara Gouveia, and Calum MacNaughton -- get it right and make it fun. The short documentary (above) about the editing of the film is definitely worth watching. It's as much about the music and the people who make it as it is about the technical details.
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To find out more about goema, check out my book, One Love, Ghoema Beat: Inside the Cape Town Carnival. (Ghoema can be spelled with or without the "h." I'm an "h" kind of guy.)
Mac will be playing (a lot) and Paul and I will be talking (a little) at 3:45, on Tuesday, March 27th, in Chisholm Recital Hall, at the University of Cape Town's College of Music.