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Enjoying Rhythms of Africa

Music night ... (from left) Eric Berzack, Cynthia Barmor, Vivienne and Ivan Moran. Text and Photos by Flori Cohen

On December 11, ESRA Modiin held a musical evening with a South African beat at the home of Cynthia Barmor. The event was the fourth in the series of our growing Music Lovers' Group initiated by Evelynne Cherny. It was the first that was accompanied by visual presentations.

South African Beat was organized and hosted by Cynthia Barmor and Vivienne and Ivan Maron, with the expert technical assistance of Eric Berzack. The evening was exhilarating and a terrific success, and the South African style refreshments were delicious.

We had an overflow of requests for attendance, so a repeat performance was held at Cynthia's home on January 4. It was a unique cultural musical event enjoyed by one and all.

The music of Africa embraces a broad variety of styles, and stamps its unique fingerprints on the sounds of the rhythmic beats as if a story were being told. Ivan Maron gave an interesting running commentary on the different styles of music, from Makeba to Ipi Ntombi and Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, and more. To our delight we were able to watch the different styles visually on TV. Some of the scenes of South Africa are picturesque - especially the Blue Mountains. The culture and tradition of South African music is fascinating, with a combination of dance and song. It is primarily influenced by Dutch folk styles along with German and French influences of the early twentieth century.

The presentation included a wide array of South African medleys with a great beat, some folk songs and even a cappella. The hour-long presentation opened and closed with two versions of South Africa's national anthem, originally composed as a hymn. Other selections included The Lion Sleeps Tonight, a famous Zulu song which was adopted by Disney in "The Lion King"; The Gum Boot Dance – the black miners' dance; Shosholoza - a song of inspiration; Umoja – Swahili for 'unity'; songs by Miriam Makeba, including the Click song; Johnny Clegg, a Jewish South African, formed the first prominent racially mixed South African band in which he openly celebrated African culture. His music became popular around the world and he had two platinum and five gold albums becoming an international success. 

Enjoying the music of South Africa ... the audience listens and also watches

Clegg's rendition of Asimbonanga brought Mandela to the stage; folk songs such as Seagull's Name was Nelson – a song that kept Nelson Mandela alive in their minds when it was forbidden to mention his name at the time he was imprisoned; Jeremy Taylor, a folk singer who spent his life in South Africa and whose lyrics were hilarious; and Waka Waka (this time for Africa) – official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The beat of the South African music, the congenial atmosphere, and that many people joined in the singing made this an outstanding and memorable event, and worth every minute. 



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