electric jive huntley archive goes live!

IBH-DJ-Cover-Front-medium

Psych “Big T” Ntsele on the cover of “Keeping Time”, the recently published book of Ian Bruce Huntley’s photographs that this archive of recordings accompanies.

SO VERY EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO SHARE THIS AT LAST! I’ve had the privilege of being involved in putting this amazing archive online over the past few months.

Find out more HERE, and then visit the archive for free downloads of more than 56 hours of jazz played in Cape Town between 1964 to 1972 by South African musicians — some famous, others who have had little exposure. Download a PDF of the book, browse the pictures, engage, enjoy!

“four corners” opening friday 28-03-2014

Opening this Friday, this film directed by Ian Gabriel looks like it should be interesting… and my old buddy Markus Wormstorm worked as composer on the soundtrack, which accesses a soundscape of ‘found’ and original South African music by talents as diverse as Felix LabandKhuli ChanaHemel Besem, Rattex, Jitsvinger, Cream, Kyle Shepherd and Isaac Mutant. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

toast coetzer – weather balloon

when you release a weather balloon
off the back of the ship
with the small box of the radiosonde
dangling precariously below its
oversized white grape of a shape
on a simple string
which unfurls as you let it go
to become ten metres, or longer
so the radiosonde can feel
the atmosphere around it
in its full, naked glory
it is eleven o’clock, or midnight
somewhere in the world
it might as well be here
where we are in our pajamas
and the balloon is about this size
and filled with helium
and seconds after you’ve let it go
it is sucked up into the wild
black sky, and the noisy, battling sea
seems to urge it on with an out of
control applause from below
and it is gone, so suddenly, so for surely,
and you’re left standing there, disappointed
blinking into the inky cold, with your head hanging
back onto your neck and your mouth open
in your sticky gumboots
and the salty diesel smell in your beard
and it only gets exciting again when
you hunch over a computer screen inside
with the meteorologists to look – like
alchemists – at the boiling pot of
leaping numbers as the weather balloon
and its transmitting radiosonde races through
the layers of emptiness, a thousand metres, two thousand metres
and sends lurches and spurts of data back to
where we’re bobbing in the Atlantic
as it shoots upwards
with squiggles and digits and facts
through what seems like nothing
but is in actual fact the invisible sinews that
keep the clouds tied to the mountains, moss to the trunk
the raindrops to the snakes, fish to pebbles
goats’ hooves to cliff faces, tomato green to finger tips
the sea to the murmuring, cracking movement of the continents
and the spongy, lung-like coral fans to the conversation
filtering plankton and pain and matter of fact
in the queue at the ATM about the weather and tax
and death and babies and the future
and five thousand metres, seven thousand, nine thousand
to where commercial airliners fly in straight lines
through clouds and stars and shavings of moon
which cannot be seen because the shutters are down
and the movies are being shown
and by now the weather balloon has grown in size
due to the air pressure to the size of this room
and the radiosonde is reaching the edge of
its usefulness to our understanding and prediction
of weather systems and unfurling cold fronts
winds and even the sprinkling of godsmall protons
and atomic nuclei which have been travelling towards us
from very far away – from the herb gardens of supernovas –
to confirm what we’ve been suspecting
for a while already: we are born fragile, and dogs are
our eternal friends.

albatrossFor more of Toast’s wonder-filled words, check out the gig happening this Thursday night in Cape Town at Joule City, entitled “Albatross: a journey through spoken and unspoken word”. You can buy tickets on QUICKET or at the door.

According to the blurb for the event on Facebook:

This collaboration combines movement with poetry to create a unique audio – visual performance. For this show, the band will consist of Toast Coetzer, Righard Kapp, Jon Savage and Jane Breetzke (the latter two also collaborators in Toast’s other band, Simply Dead). Darkroom Contemporary will accompany the band with an exploration of the music through movement.

Cape Town artist Katherine Bull will create/ draw during the performance and her artwork will be projected for the audience to see.

The material performed in the Albatross show will take the shape of a 45-minute journey. Toast went on a sea voyage to Tristan da Cunha in 2013 and the show will trace themes he wrote about while on the journey and on the island, which is the most isolated permanently populated island in the world (it’s almost 3 000 km from Cape Town).

Hence the ocean, sea voyages, sea birds (and principally the albatross and its marathon gliding exploits to feeding grounds, and then back to a speck in the ocean where a mate awaits on a nest), oceanography, metereology and geography will become the background for love, long-distance relationships, people’s adversity against the odds and other human frailties to be explored against.

thuli madonsela’s letter to her 16-year-old self

This letter to her 16-year-old self gives insight into Thuli Madonsela‘s life before she became South Africa’s formidable Public Protector – one of the few current SA government office bearers who retain any integrity. Read her report on the misuse of public funds at the private residence of President Jacob Zuma at Nkandla. You can tell between the lines of this letter that she had to learn early in life to be comfortable with making unpopular choices to be able to do the things she believed in.

The following is an extract from From Me to Me: Letters to my 16-and-a-half-year old self (Jacana Media, 2012), a collection of letters written by South Africans to their teenage selves.

26 April 2012

Dear Thuli

thuliIt is April 2012, 5 months before our big 5-0 birthday. I am your future. At the moment, you are 16-and-a half years old, doing grade 11, known as form four then, at Evelyn Baring High School in Swaziland, the year being 1979. You are wondering what you will be, caught between thoughts of pursuing medicine and law. Your pastor’s disapproving views on the latter are not in any way helpful. I know you are socially awkward, plagued by a nagging feeling of being unloved and ugly.

Perhaps this comes from being teased about your big head and, more recently, two of your academically inferior classmates have started taunting you, too. Having two sisters whose beauty is always noticed and praised has not helped either. Secure in your academic prowess – for which you are always praised at home and at school – you are regarded as helpful and relied on by your family, friends, teachers and your church. This makes you feel significant. You will excel, academically, throughout your life and this will bring you to where you are right now. I’m writing to tell you to relax because you are a perfect expression of God’s magnificence.

You are the mother of two wonderful children, a beautiful daughter Wenzile Una and a handsome son Mbusowabantu “Wantu” Fidel. Your fears of being unlovable were unfounded. You have been loved and supported beyond measure throughout your life. Today, you are the nation’s Public Protector – a very responsible position that helps curb excesses in the exercise of public power while enabling the people to exact justice for state wrongs. You had the privilege of playing some role in bringing about change in this country, including the drafting of the new constitution that saw Nelson Mandela become the first black President. Mama was right, education is the great leveler. I’m glad I listened to her.

You have experienced tough times and great times, been met with nurturers and detractors, but all these life lessons have been necessary to help you bloom. You have come to realize that you are perfect for your life’s purpose. You’ve always been a dreamer, an eternal optimist. Keep dreaming, for dreams have wings. But live consciously and take time to smell the roses otherwise life will pass you by, including the opportunity to appreciate the finite precious moments you will enjoy with your late partner, younger sisters and parents.

Above all, remember that love is everything and don’t forget to forgive yourself and others.

Love you unconditionally,

Thuli Nomkhosi Madonsela (Your older Self)