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The Sounds of Folktober

20 October 2017 MUSIC


By Nomali Cele

Folk music is probably the single banner under which different South African, and by large, African, sounds can come together and converge peacefully. In folk music, there is no competition for superiority or popularity as each of the artists are now outside their specific genres and under something bigger themselves: The preservation of our stories. Folk music is the banner under which an umbhaqanga song cradles an afrobeat song. The sounds of Africa remain distinct but under folk music, the listener gets to acknowledge that they’re related. They are moving the story across generations.

Definitions categorise folk music as sounds passed down orally across generations, it’s music that’s used to tell the stories of ordinary people. And boy, do Africans have stories! With Folktober is coming to a close soon, here’s a listen back to some of the songs and artists that have either made up the sounds of the themed music month or have inspired it.

Philip Tabane and Malombo

Dorothy Masuka – Teya Teya

Miriam Makeba – Welela

Busi Mhlongo Tingi tingi

Vusi Mahlasela – Silang Mabele

Phuzekhemisi – Imbizo

Each of these songs and artists, and many others who are not included in this post, have done a service to us as a people by continuing to carry and share our stories over generations. Their legacy is the South African story told. Folk music is a genre that reminds us, though the music may be in different languages, those specific stories make up our larger story as people.

Happy Folktober!


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