David Rycroft South Africa Collection

Stylistic continuity- musical examples for paper: We! Majola.

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  • Subjects

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

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  • Recording locations

    South Africa

  • Recordist

    Rycroft, David, 1924-1997

  • Description

    This recording is a part of a collection of musical examples which Rycroft has taken from his field recordings to accompany his paper on continuity in Zulu music (Rycroft, D. 1977. 'Stylistic continuity in Zulu Town Music'. In Essays for a Humanist an Offering to Klaus Wachsmann. New York: The Town House Press, pp. 216-260). This is a dubbing of a recoridng made in 1964. This is a Zulu trench-digging song. Work songs are sung to make the heavy manual labour more bearable for the worker. The song is in a 'call-and-response' form which characterises many indigenous Zulu songs. The leader calls a refrain and the chorus responds in unison. The phrase sung by the chorus is much more repetitive than the flexible solo part of the song leader. After the second phrase sung by the leader, the chorus bring down their pickaxes to the ground. The sound of the pickaxes hitting the earth is percussive, and plays an important rhythmic role in the song. The song is cyclical, and the parts of the leader and chorus overlap each other. The leader calls before the chorus have finished their repetitive phrase, in such a way the song seems endless. For more information on work songs and a musical transcription of 'We Majola' refer to Rycroft, D., 1997, Music in Southern Africa: The Music of the Zulu and their Neighbours, London, BBC Radio for Schools. [Teacher's brochure, 16pp, introducing the author's series of four broad casters under this title, 27 May to 24 June 1977]. The recording quality of this item is reasonable but there is a certain amount of background noise made by the passing cars.

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