Sounds are seven young guys from the landlocked Kingdom of
Lesotho in Southern Africa.
the last five years, they've been making their own instruments
and developing their musical skills with a passion and dedication
that caught the attention of the WOMAD Foundation.
immediate faith in the boys' talent got them busy raising
the money to bring them to the UK on a month long residency
to work with schools and other community music projects and
ending their tour with a performance at this years WOMAD festival.
of their instruments are made from 'found materials'.
and wire make fiddles and guitars whilst recycled oil cans
and scrap metal make a surprisingly excellent drum and percussion
tradition of making their own instruments stems from their
roles as herd boys.
to play and making up songs helps pass the long hours up in
comes from a variety of sources; gospel, township jive, hip
hop and reggae as well as traditional stories and local events.
isn't customary is forming a group and Sotho Sounds have brought
together their individualism, their instruments and astonishing
vocal range to create and perform their own material.
now, their only audience has been the visitors lodge in high
hills of Malealea where tourists have provided encouragement
as well as valuable contributions to the boy's income which
often goes towards school fees and clothing.
with Risenga Makondo, a Venda musician from South Africa,
Ingoma, and the WOMAD Foundation, Sotho Sounds have travelled
to the UK on a unique educational project that stretches from
Lesotho to Liverpool, South Africa to the South West.
the first cultural exchange between the two countries, the
WOMAD Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to a wide
range of educational projects both here and abroad, have worked
hard to make this tour a success.
Menter of the Foundation was only able to confirm their flights
a month ago after they finally got their passports.
delay not due to an overloaded Government department, but
the long process of proving kinship, most family's passports
having been destroyed during apartheid and obtaining permission
from the chief to leave the village.
eagerness about the project is well founded, on their recent
visits to Speedwell School; Sotho Sounds have been well received.
mixed workshops working well with the young people explaining
each other's instruments and how to play them, using music
as a common language through which to communicate.
Sotho Sounds have enjoyed improvising on drum kits and keyboards,
the Speedwell music students have gained confidence from working
with such keen performers and channelling their energies through
have also included Samba sessions and a DJ workshop demonstrating
mixing and scratching techniques.
for the guys themselves and how they're feeling…?
Tello Moeketse explains their excitement about the whole project
and how the guys are determined to make the most of their
trip despite the inevitable cultural shock.
the wide open, rural lands of Lesotho, the density of buildings,
traffic and people have been a surprise.
from finding out more about musical instruments and technology
on this tour, the WOMAD Foundation will be helping Sotho Sounds
to record a demo CD.
will use it for promotions once back home and secure more
gigs, no doubt accompanied with a stack of new material inspired
by their experiences on this tour.
Their gig on the 1st July with East Bristol Jazz Club at the
Seymour's Family Club, St. Philips was introduced by manager
and mentor, Risenga Makondo.
Sounds stepped onto stage to rapturous applause.
in their costumes, the boys projected an infectious sense
of fun from the moment they appeared.
huge grins the band burst into song, whistling, clapping along
to an earthy rhythm as the two young dancers performed their
stark contrast the performance dropped away to just two vocalists,
one boy playing the one-stringed fiddle.
quite bizarre to watch this being played, a bow being used
to manipulate the string in a cyclical motion as their voices
wound around each other.
Risenga calling stage directions from the side, they launched
into another hectic track full of fast melodies, chanting
vocals, high pitched whistles and rhythmic percussion.
hard to believe an oil drum could sound so good and it's testament
to their creativity that it does.
next number relied purely on vocal harmonies, where a strong
choir influence is heard.
along, the boys were accompanied by an enthusiastic audience,
warmed by the wonderfully friendly atmosphere of the night.
the last two tracks the boys requested the audience get up
unrestrained by the usual reticence, the floor was filled
this really an English audience?
performance finished with the two dancers leading a Lesotho
version of the Congo; containing young and old, black and
white, English and African, proving that good music really
can unite us across language, culture and generations.
Sounds are: Kojoane Josepha Chaka - One Stringed Fiddle Tumelo
Michael Mporaone - Drum & Percussion Tankiso Joseph Pita -
Guitar Ramaleke David Rantho - Bass Guitar Tseliso Rantho
- Guitar & One Stringed Fiddle Richard & Paseka Mohale Dancers
Annie Menter of the WOMAD Foundation. T: 01225 743188 E: email@example.com