David Rycroft South Africa Collection


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  • Subjects

    Xhosa folksongs and dance , work-songs-Africa (Xhosa)

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  • Recordist

    Rycroft, David, 1924-1997

  • Description

    A group of singers perform this famous Xhosa work-song. In this song men ask the train to go quickly and carry them back to the mountains of their homelands. It is a work song and is in a typically Nguni 'call-and-response' format between the leader and the chorus. Work songs were designed to make the heavy manual labour more bearable for the worker. the chorus are the diggers and their response is rather uniform in comparison to the leader. After the second calling phrase by the leader the chorus bring their pickaxes down to the ground causing a percussive sound. The sound of their pickaxes crashing down at the earth is rhythmic and becomes a part of the song. The song is cyclical, the leader calls out before the chorus have actually finished their repetitive phrase, in such a way the song seems endless. For more information on work songs and a musical transcription of 'Tshotsholoza' refer to Rycroft, D., 1997, Music in Southern Africa: The Music of the Zulu and their Neighbours, London, BBC Radio for Schools. {Teachers brochure, 16pp, introducing the author's series of four broad casters under this title, 27 May to 24 June 1977].

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