Ghoema Nights Vol. 1
44 on Long has embarked on presenting a much awaited series on our local Ghoema music and its living legends. On the 25th of January the theatre formerly known as the Old Space Theatre will be hosting legends like Hilton Schilder, Peter Ndadla and many more. The Young Lions will pay tribute to legend Robby Jansen, Errol Dyers and many more. The iconic band The Cape Town Groove Express will be holding down the traditional beats of the Ghoema drum with Carlo Fabe, Clayton Pretorius, Jed Petersen and Uviwe Caso. It promises to be a night of nostalgia and remembrance.
The word “Ghoema” refers to a drum made from a small wine vat, with a goatskin stretched tightly over one end. It’s still made in the same tradition today and there are small, medium and big base sizes. Band members call it a Gummi (pronounced Gummy) and it’s very much an integral part/ central to the music.
Over the years, the slaves of the Cape brought together a sound that is made up of many cultures. It’s the sound of Ghoema Music and it’s being popularised by music legends such as Mac McKenzie and Hilton Schilder. Ghoema music has elements of big band, jazz and Caribbean reggae & calypso (and not forgetting ancient San & Xhosa musical influences) all blended into a single sound.
Ghoema isn't an actual song form. "It's a fusion of the Kaapse klopse, the samba and Afro-Cuban. Ghoema music is drum music but today conventional bands play that rhythm with modern instrumentation. “It’s just the terminology; it's not actually a musical form, as far as I know. It's an egte cultural style of music which is extremely popular. It's stood the test of time”. Tweede Nuwe Jaar (2nd New Year) is a day that is unique to Cape Town and stems from practices associated with the slavery and its history is linked with the Coon Carnival. In the mid- nineteenth century, the Cape slaves were given a day off from their duties on 2 January every year. During this alternate New Year celebration, the slaves would dress up as minstrels and dance rhythmically to the sounds of banjos, guitars, ghoema drums, whistles, trombones and tubas. Tweede Nuwe Jaar is a celebration of a community's survival. It illustrates the continuity between its past, present and future. The now deceased iconic musician Taliep Petersen, is claimed to have said of Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations, "Dis onse dag" ("It is our day"). It is a day when the local working class community which survived slavery, segregation and Apartheid celebrates its existence and perseverance
The music associated with Minstrel history and Tweede Nuwe Jaar was influenced by a variety of sources. In the 17th and 18th centuries, slaves were sent to the Cape of Good Hope from Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India and East Africa (Madagascar), creating a melting pot of culture and influence. The British garrisons of the era influenced the marching processions of the minstrel troupes and a substantial collection of songs draw their origins from the Netherlands. The Cape slaves together with the local Khoisan population where known to sing in choirs as part of the celebrations. They also watched the colonial troops parade in Cape Town while singing "God save the Queen". Traces of African, Asian and European music can be heard in the Minstrel music. The "ghoema" beat reflects rhythmic similarities of India, Indonesia, Africa and the Middle East. Therefore, "Ghoemaliedjies" (Ghoema songs) are reminiscent of the music from Africa, Asia and Europe. "Melodies" and "moppies" have Western origins and were strongly influenced by African–American music (possibly associated with the exposure to the visiting American Minstrels). The cinemas across District Six also exerted the jazz influence and the re-enactment of famous actors and singers in the performances. The evolution of the Cape slave "social fabric" included the development of their own music and dance which was used to grow social cohesion and celebrate whatever freedoms they were granted.
The word has also come to describe a hybrid musical genre which itself is one of the influences on Cape Jazz music.
Date: 25 January 2020
Venue: 44 on Long
Address: 44 Long Strong above Tiger's Milk
Tickets: R150 (Quicket online)
More info: 0653184066