CD reviewArtist: Norman ChaukeAlbum: Jazz DikasReviewed by: Yingwani MashabaProduced by: Gallo Records
In an industry that chops heads and suffocates talent, South Africa is a sea bubbling with tenacious young voices eager to take on the hostile industry and triumph against all odds.
Hailing from the dusty township of Hammanskraal, a jazz troubadour emerges from the shadows to make a breakthrough in the music circles."Jazz Dikas" is Norman Chauke's nine-track debut album.The album is in Setswana, Xitsonga and English.
Threaded with a careful blend of infectious drum beat, pulsating percussion and echanting alto sax, soothing piano melodies complement lively and energetic vocals.
In my first encounter with this CD I fell in love with all the tracks in this new offering immediately.But if I were to be persuaded to pick and choose which tracks stand out, I would choose track eight and nine. Song number eight pays homage to Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for being the strong mother that she is, even in the face of extreme difficulty that she suffered during the dark days of apartheid.
Track nine which is delivered in the romantic Xitsonga language, is a moving tribute to a gallant soldier of our struggle, Mbuyisa Makubu, whose whereabouts are not known to this day.
This track will leave no dry eyes to any struggle-conscious, freedom loving person from Mzansi, the mother continent."Jazz Dikas" will elevate Chauke to a cult symbol in jazz history.
This CD is definitely going to win over new converts to jazz and cement the marriage with hardcore jazz cats. It is a must-have treasure trophy in your music collection.
For the African centuryMbulaheni Enos Mbodi
Though you have been manipulatedDivided and given namesSome even suggest you are darkYet they milk you until their hands are soreFor the stones that God made for usThey walk about talking democracyWhilst they think of better ways.
To drain the oil and cause brothers to fightThey talk peace but arm brothers against each otherYour kids canâ€™t even swim the NileGun sounds can be heard all overMortars dominate the calmness of the mountainsScreams of young ones can be heard in the valley.
All they beg for is not to be fed bulletsRather they cry to at least not die hungryLeaders have become thirsty for the blood of those they want to lead Ideological differences are solved by guns and mortars.
You have been made with landscapes beyond imagination However the mountains are filled with cannibals waiting to pounce When will the kids sing under the moonlight? When will the elders tell folktales around the bonfire?When will lullabies be sung without interruption?Look the green valleys are littered with skulls Bones of the brave but unarmed Stabbed and sliced just for the sake of politics.
I see the Baobab tree where the village was led from Deserted and forsaken The kids are running aimlessly around dead bodies Flies outnumber the people in some villages.
The generations to come need not inherit the ruins Where is the spirit of togetherness? Do you see the thieves are manipulating your barns? When will you wake up from your deep sleep? When will you take charge of your family?
How do you go to sleep when there are skirmishes and squabbles everywhere?
Do you see your rivers are turning red? The blood flows through the streams Let your children gather under the African sky to celebrate peace and love
Let there be whistles and ululation as the enemy disappears into eternity You have to wake up Take your mat and march on This is the African century!
Inside my chest
I surrender to youIn your beauty, I saw the other you.You live inside my chest,Where only life pumpsI delved under your skinAnd a fresh breath gave it a meaning.
I found new express,Twigged to this conversion of feelingsInto a sayable formBut I've discovered uncomfortable And yet liberating truth about me