• CD Title: Ancient Civilisations of Souther Africa 2
• Artist(s): Venda People
• CD Code: EUCD2026
• Tracks: 20
• Playing Time: 75:35 min
• Booklet Info in: English, German, French, Spanish
The Venda live in a remote region in northern South Africa. Their rituals and singing are accompanied by massive sacred and numerous secular drums, various rattles, ankle bells, conch horns, clapping and ululations…
"Let this simple but powerful music work its mysticism into you." - Tom Orr, Global Rhythm
Early in the 18th century, people belonging to the Karanga-Rozvi group in Zimbabwe migrated southwards, beyond the Limpopo River, into what is today the Northern Province of South Africa. They were lead by a chief by the name of Dimbanyika, and moving up a tributary of the Limpopo, the Nzhelele River, eventually came to it's headwaters in a beautiful mountain range. This they called Venda ('the pleasant place').
Legend has it that they brought knowledge of fire to the local area. Certainly, they brought with them large bows, with which they successfully fought those who opposed them.
Today the area of Venda in South Africa is relatively rural and remote. The largest town in the area is Thohoyandu, and although more and more influenced by Western culture, many of the people practise their traditions in the old way.
The Venda Drums and Music
Although the Venda people construct and play a variety of different sizes of traditional drum, the sacred big drum is unique. The base is carved whole in a bowl-like shape from hardwood, with carved handles. This makes the drum extremely heavy. With an animal skin stretched over the top and suitably warmed to improve the tone, the Venda sacred drum has a deep resonant sound.
The voices of those singing with the drum should be equal to the rhythm of the drum, which will therefore ensure that those things prayed for - rain, good crops, good fortune and so on - will come about. The singing and playing is illustrated by other sounds - ankle shakers, clapping and ululation (the African woman's unusual cry of celebration and encouragement), and blowing through an animal horn.
The major Venda group heard here is called the Tirani Club, a group led by Mrs Dorah Mushoni Matodzi, formed to help restore Venda culture, and traditional values. From an area called Sibasa near Thohoyandou, the group of traditional performers aim to continue performances in drums, song and dance, and to develop the production of traditional arts and crafts.
1. DOMBA - Snake Dance - 5:35
2. JOJO CHIKANDEKAMO - Serenade to a happily married couple - 5:09
3. VENDA HORN SONG (Mashudu Dima Group) - 4:54
4. TSIKO - Respect all cultures - 5:13
5. ZWANAKA UTSHILA NA VATHU ZWA-VHUDI - A healthy relationship with others - 3:41
6. MUSEBETO - Dancing tune - 3:36
7. SEBE-SEBE TSHI ALIFHIWA - You helped me in difficult times - 3:52
8. THE RAIN SONG (Mashudu Dima Group) - 6:43
9. MBUYAVHUHADZI - A marriage is breaking up - 2:23
10. VHO GERMANI - The traditional healer - 3:27
11. KABAVHULA GETHE (Drums only version) - Open the gates! - 2:58
12. NYAMARIBULA THABA DIYASHWA - The gossip - 4:31
13. MONA WAMAJAKA-NDIRA - A madman in the village! - 2:04
14. WOMENS SONG (Mashudu Dima Group) - 1:11
15. FUNGUVHU TANZWA MULOMO - Nursery rhyme - 1:10
16. KHOTSO MASIONI - Peace be with you Zion Christians! - 1:59
17. MOSE TSHOROLINDELA - A lady is waiting for her husband - 3:10
18. NDOVA NATSHI DONGO TSHA NAMA - Nursery rhyme - 1:07
19. BONGANI NDOFA-NAYE - I will sacrifice myself for Bongani's sake - 6:09
20. KABAVHULA GETHE (Version with voices) - Open the gates! - 5:11