From Wakanda to Reunion – Women are the future
26 Apr 2018 MUSIC
By Tymon Smith
Women. We wouldn’t be here without them and yet for millennia we’ve treated them with disdain and paid them back for their contribution with repression, violence and silence. However, this is the year of Beychella and Wakanda and we live in the age of #MeToo and #TimeIsUp and women (and African women in particular) have shown that we are at the dawn of a new age that belongs to them and will be shaped by them whether we like it or not. All power to them – it’s been a long time coming and the world they are creating with their art and activism will be a better place.
In South Africa, debates about the treatment of women by men in power have been brought to the fore in the light of the recent death of the Mother of the Nation, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. In the centenary of the birth of her ex-husband Nelson Mandela, it is worth remembering that Madiba was an outspoken advocate for the empowerment of women who believed that, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression…”
With an emphasis on the legacy of Madiba, but also an emphasis on the unification of Africans from all across the continent through the universal power of music, this year’s Bassline Fest features three talented and unique female singer-songwriters from Brazil, Cape Verde and Reunion. These women exemplify this spirit and are paving the way for the new world in a variety of styles that express their individual identities, histories, concerns and experiences of the world.
25-year-old Elida Almeida from Cape Verde has taken the tradition of Tabanka – a musical genre “originally developed to get around the colonial power’s ban on African beats and instruments,” and transformed them into the beautifully funky, self expressive sounds of a song like Bersu D’oro that is filled with the proud celebration and exuberance of a musical heritage and sound that’s indestructible even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Finally, there’s the indefinable but singular and varied creation of Reunion’s singer-songwriter powerhouse Nathalie Natiembé whose music combines elements of recognisable traditional and rock elements to facilitate her own expression of the ideas and thoughts and collected from dreams and personal experience, which have entranced musician and producer Tiago Correia-Paulo (known to South African audiences from his work with 340ml and Tumi and the Volume) to produce her forthcoming fifth album.
These three women present the face of a new African musical direction, which speaks to the age-old connections between the peoples of the continent and its pre- and post-colonial history but also striding boldly and unstoppably forward towards a future that will be many things – thoughtful, exuberant and relevant while recognising where we have come from and where we are going.
You’ll be dancing and loving it all the way and if you’re at Constitution Hill on Sunday May 27 – you’ll be able to say you were there at the dawning of a new age.
Get your tickets here.
*Bassline Fest is a two day & takes place at Constitution Hill on May 26 and 27 #BeTheLegacy