Friday, April 20, 2007


Fusion happening all around us

I got off the phone a little earlier to Pops Mohamed, who was filling me in on what he is going to be up to over the next few months. International tours, collaborations, and even a few CD’s will be released under different labels, and genres.

Pops will be leaving to perform in Oslo for 6-weeks from the beginning of May, returning for a short while before jetting off to France for a 3-week collaboration with Jozi’s Kwani Experience. Kwani and Pops will be such an amazing combination – they both focus dearly on traditional instruments and the fusion with jazz.

Kwani also has the L.A.P. guys involved in it, and they’ve been working closely with Robert Trunz from MELT in the last while, appearing live with a number of artists like Madala Kunene, Cameroonian Della Tawin (got a lil vid coming soon!) and Zulu maskanda artist Umshika Shika Qabe.

Pops has been working on a few projects, like doing workshops with a 50-piece youth choir, backed by Kora… There is going to be a CD released soon, in which Pops plays healing music; music from the ancient times that have developed such an important part in today’s hectic life-style (try meditating to Britney…). He is also going to be creating a Social Vibes Volume II, the Volume I, recorded with McCoy Mrubata, has been on the market for some 8-years under Sheer Music, but Pops has his own Record Label now, and so releases his own material.

That is the directions all musicians should strive for; owning your own material, and licensing it out! I’m a small business owner, and believe in the man on the street determines his own destiny – and it works exactly the same for musicians – take charge! Do it yourself baby-shoes! No-one worries about the grumbling of your own belly as you do yourself!

Pops was highly impressed by a collaboration that he saw at Baseline last week; Uju combined with the most hectic Kora players you have ever seen, that I have ever seen, in the world, Ba Cissoko from Guinea.

Lenny & I saw them live in Essen at WOMEX, and how this young lead Kora plays like Jimi Hendrix… Behind the back, up in the air, all with the required leg stomping and grimacing concentration, and he gets really funky when he plays with his teeth!

So Pops, go out there and tell them more about the beautiful diversity of South Africa, play them our music, and carry on being an ambassador for us!

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