An extract from the Arcomusical newsletter
Gogo Mphila and Moses Phayinaphu Mncina are two musicians from the small African country of Swaziland. Gogo Mphila plays the tall makhoyane gourd-resonated musical bow and Mcina accompanies her on his umtshingosi bark flute. These two artists live in Nswangwini, Hhohho. ‘Akuna’nkomo’ is their debut duo album.
Bashayi Bengoma is an ensemble of traditional musicians from across Swaziland. Comprised of some of the country’s finest instrumentalists and singers, Bashayi is a collaborative project which involves rare live performances, workshops, and instrument demonstrations. These artists have joined forces to bring the timeless sounds of instruments such as the makhoyane and infiliji to urban audiences.
Arcomusical ran a crowdfunding campaign to support their ongoing projects and had some amazing results. This is a great sign of the amount of support that exists for the project and with some exciting work in the pipeline as a result. Below a message from the group:
The Dave Dargie Collection at ILAM includes audio CD recordings of 21 Southern African musical bows and the closely related monochord zithers. The CDs, DVDs and Handbooks may be obtained from: International Library of African Music (ILAM), Rhodes University, Makhanda, 6140, South Africa. Here is a list of available materials.
In Africa south of the equator, musical bows are among the most pervasive of indigenous musical instruments. Their ubiquity confirms past cultural convergences between disparate early pastoral, agrarian and hunter-gatherer African societies. In the south and eastern parts of southern Africa, members of several ethnic groups render diverse musical repertoires from a variety of single-string bows.
The 2nd International Bow Music Conference, is being held in conjunction with the 12th South African Society for Research in Music (SASRIM) Conference at the University of KwaZulu-Natal from 29 August to 1 September.
The First International Bow Music Conference, opens at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday 24 February. Running until 27 February over three venues (The Innovation Centre and Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College Campus as well as the KZNSA in Bulwer Road, Glenwood), events include several academic paper presentations, an evening of film screenings, as well as bow music performances – all of which are open to public participation and attendance.