Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Madosini - The Queen of Pondoland music
Lenny spent a good month with her when we took Amampondo on tour to the
Though essentially a solo artist and story-teller, its her mastery in the making and playing of the Uhadi (berimbau), Isitololo (Jews Harp) Umrhubhe (mouthbow), and she adds this speciality to the sound of many groups and collaborations.
She's been a regular part of Amampondo, she worked with Thandiswa Mazwai on the short film Spirit of the Uhadi and her album Zabalaza, and has appeared at WOMAD Festivals in the UK, Australia, Singapore, and many more, with artists like Patrick Duff (ex-Strangelove) and Vuyo Katcha. She also represented the Xhosa tribe in the multi-cultural Jazz ensemble PedXulu (a combination of Pedi, Xhosa and Zulu musicians)
One of our most exciting experiences with her was our first attempt to send her off on tour with the Pondo's in 2002. The group were on their way to perform with the The Sto:lo (People of the River) or First People of Chilliwack, Canada, and we had booked all the travel and accommodation using the information we had received from the group, including Madosini. But when we arrived at the BA check-in counter, they refused to let her on the plane, as the name on her ticket was different from the name in her passport...
You feel the bottom of your world fall out from under you when this happens, and the only thing to do, is to move into four-wheel drive and pull the funniest faces you can to ensure the artist is on that plane.
The ground-staff were amazing, and gave us the time of the flight to Johannesburg to sort it out with the airline there – they let her on the flight as long as we knew that there was a chance she would be stranded in JHB – motivation enough for Lenny to pull out all stops and beg, plead and threaten. What a relief it was to eventually get her on the flight to Canada later that night.
It was only later that same year, when we sent her to WOMAD Canary Islands when another abnormality was sorted out. Madosini’s birth date made her out to be a beautiful, sprightly 82-year old. We were always amazed at how good she looked, with clear skin and eyes, and great spirit, but the Spanish didn’t feel the same.
When travelling to
It was only during the research and filming of Thandiswa’s Spirit of the Uhadi while in the
Madosini is currently performing in
Madosini lives in a single room in an old hostel in the heart of Langa with 6 other adults, and 4 children under the age of 6.
But it’s her music that opens the mind to the wide sky of the
Madosini Manqina – the Queen of Pondoland.