With Youth Day approaching we hear the authentic sounds of the past as we celebrate the future.
Inspired by the podcast "Art as Culture"
As a country that boasts 11 official languages, music comes as a strong expression and mode of communication long overlooked. I imagine that of late, one can consider music as a form of protest, an alternative means to get a message across - a 12th language. Various local artists have succeeded and continue to do a brilliant job at using their rhythm and beats as a form of street march. Gone are the days of heated violence and physical protests all in order to have our voices heard.
With the growing and ever evolving nature of South African music, our sound has found itself as a tool in helping to express everyday grievances South Africans may have. The role of the musician has shifted from that of just an entertainer into a more active participant where societal matters and protest art is concerned. We’ve seen activists from Fees Must Fall use the power of music to further political agendas. We have seen the rise of I'phupho Lika Biko - a musical group started by the student command leaders of the EFF. This is a group famous for decolonizing the national anthem and bringing back the heart of jazz to many of the struggle songs that bring light to where we come from.
Musicians are activists, but are all musicians using the craft for good? Many local musicians are carrying out a message through song and dance, as our bodies reverberate their stories - singing songs that carry out messages of our past and our futures. Music drives our actions and emotions but most importantly music unites us.
With Youth Day approaching, one can most certainly hear the vigor of millennial's as they
boldly and creatively own their narratives, without the archaic forms of
tradition often forcefully thrust on them. The power of music is
clear among the few millennial's we conversed with regarding the impact of music.
"As millennial's we still celebrate the music from 'back in the day', the
stories are still alive throughout our current experiences." - anon. Some millennial's
believe that "Kwaito is the future" and go on to say that this genre uses real
stories and real-lived moments experienced by the artist who ultimately
represent a larger humanity.
The through line here is that most artists stay true to who they are, and millennial's are forging a new horizon by staying true to their story. The long and short of it is to share your story, don't make music for today or tomorrow but for future generations to come. We all have a story that resonates with other beings. Creating music that is true to our heritage and who we are. Through this we are forging a sound and language that transcends just the entertainment value.
Written by Rhythm and Blues