Friday, August 04, 2006


Moses Taiwa Molelekwa 1973 - 2001

Live at the Fin de Seicle Festival Nantes 1997
As the saying goes, "you can only know where you are going, if you know where you come from." So I would like to do a little special focus piece on an artist that, though gone from us now, has become one of my favourite listening artists.

Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and his wife Florence 'Flo' Mthobo were found dead on 13 February 2001, at their offices in Johannesburg. The case has never been closed, so we will never really know what went on there, but it was a tragic, and a great loss for South Africa.

Moses only made a few albums, collaborated with many artists, and all along the way he received accolades and awards for his work. In 1991 and 1992 he won Best Jazz group category of the Gilbey's Music of Africa competition with his groups Brotherhood & Umbongo winning respectively.

He won 2 SAMA's in 1996 for Best Traditional Jazz, and Contemporary Jazz Group, and the DVD in focus Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Live at the Fin de Siecle Festival Nantes 1997 (MZADV 001) was nominated in Best DVD category in this years SAMA's.

But it wasn't only Jazz where he made a mark; co-producing Fela Kae and writing the hit It's my party for South African Kwaito starts
TK Zee.

It is a great loss to the us, but for the people who knew and loved him, it was the hardest.

It has to do with sounds.
Natural sounds from far up north.
Sounds of rivers with gentle waterfalls.
Sounds from trees though still.
Sounds from the mountain in their fix.

Sounds not only from chirping birds,
Also from least thought of pigs
Creaking doors tenderly pushed ajar
Whispers of wings in the divine space
All in the likeness
of melancholy thoughts.

Many, many years will go by,
Pain will be reduced to understanding
Tears will spell out acceptance
A boy so adored will grow
to find solace in the music
of the Ancestors
for decades to heal.

Jerry '“Monk' Molelekwa
Father of Moses Taiwa Molelekwa

Robert (MELT 2000) gives some insight into the making of the DVD, from which he has kindly given me permission to use the featured video:

1997 was a great year for the late Moses Taiwa Molelekwa. He traveleded overseas with his own band for the first time to perform at the Fin de Siecle Johannesburg Festival on the Atlantic coast of France. The band featured veteran Kaya Mahlangu on sax, Fana Zulu on bass and Sello Montwedi on drums. Sello had just recovered from injuries incurred in an almost fatal car accident. It'’s a measure of Moses'’ faith in Sello'’s spirit and musical gifts that he was chosen for the dates.

The idea of the Nantes Festival was a French initiative, inviting cultural representatives from three of the world's great cities to Nantes to document the creativity of each of these places near the close of the second millennium. The festival began on the 17th October 1997. Around about 380 artists were selected from every creative field.

This recording was made with the Dutch mobile studio 'The Van' and is potent evidence of the vitality and gifts of a young man just starting to enter his musical prime, sadly lost to us by his untimely & tragic death on February 13th 2001.

Robert Trunz

So to celebrate this genius of an artist, I'd like to present the track Darkness Pass 3 (Improvisation from the DVD. Recorded on the afternoon before the festival show started, it shows how a rehearsal can be a once-in-a-life-time experience..

With all the cold winter weather we're experiencing around the country at the moment, one CD that warms up the Peak office, along with the crackle of our fireplace, is the Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Darkness Pass Solo Piano CD (MZA009/2) - once again from MELT.

We don't make any money from punting MELT stock - its just that the quality, and the history it has recorded, is a true national treasure chest of sounds.

Supporting South African music, past and present, is what its all about.

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