Two of the most iconic musicians from the South African city of Durban, Madala Kunene and Lu Dlamini, will perform a double bill on Friday 29 April at The Playhouse in Durban to launch their respective new albums, 1959 and Ulimilam.
The evening takes the format of two stand-alone concerts, with Dlamini in the spotlight during the first half and Kunene and his guitar on stage after the interval. The acclaimed Claremont Community Choir will be among the array of special guests of the evening and will perform with both soloists throughout the concert.
Madala Kunene’s story is one of Durban’s urban mythologies. He is the caretaker of a personal and socio-political history expressed through his extraordinary creativity and total immersion in his art form. From humble roots he now travels the world and is respected for an compromising body of work. Now Madala Kunene brings all the ingredients of his life as a minstrel and shaman to a new album, 1959: the year of the forced removals that signaled the start of decades of apartheid.
The 12-track album covers a wide range of emotions and subject matter: including his deep concern for the future of humanity, the passing of traditional ethics, shared responsibility, the fight for political power within the Zulu nation and the inhuman control of one group of people over another. 1959 is an important album from an important artist - a social commentator who has earned global acknowledgement for his unique place in the music industry. One of the tracks on the new album, ‘Draaihoek Mamezala’ addresses a mother-in-law’s concerns over the chosen profession of her daughter’s husband, harking back to the classic township jazz style of the 1950s.
Lu Dlamini, meanwhile, showcases her phenomenal talent on Ulimilam. Her powerful voice is a vehicle for soulful, intelligent and emotional comment. A mature artist with a huge body of experience since the 1980s, Dlamini’s new album is set to spark fires of passionate acknowledgement. The 11-track release reveals her astonishing musicality, which straddles contemporary jazz, ballads, soul, pop and gospel, to create an extraordinarily moving journey for the listener. She is supported by an impressive line-up of music-makers on the album: Sphelele Dlamini (penny whistle), Nir Hermelin (guitar), Barney Bophela (keyboards and organ), Bernard Mndaweni (bass), Paki Peleoele (drums), Demi Fernadez (guitar), Bavikile Ngema (vocals), Nux Schwartz (guitar), Mzamo Zungu (drums), Mzwakhe Gumede (bass) and Madala Kunene himself on vocals.
Ulimilam opens a treasure trove of magical yet disparate songs whilst keeping them all together in a harmonious and loving whole. For example, ‘Erobamima’ returns to the perfect combination of Fernadez’ guitar and vocal chants. The song is an adaptation of a slave song shared by Venezuelan musician Edith Salazah, over which Lu adds a Nguni component, creating a piece of great poignancy.
Both albums were recorded at The Headroom studios in Durban by Marius Botha
The launch concert takes place at The Playhouse on Friday 29 April from 7pm. Tickets are R150 per person and are on sale online via Computicket or at any Checkers, Shoprite or CheckersHyper stores. For more details see the Facebook event page.