Songs of Greeting, Healing and Heritage is Mantombi ‘Mangwanya’ Matotiyana’s solo album title that I gave to this album as there are important themes in the music that she performs and humankind needs to heed the call in the messages. The songlist had been compiled together with Professor Dizu Plaatjies. From songs about infidelity, challenges of migrant workers and séance or diviner’s music, Matotiyana intercepts parts of the recording with the praise clan of the Majola Clan, who are Mpondomise people and these are her people:
Songs of Greeting, Healing and Heritage zingoma zombuliso, impiliso kunye nelifa licwecwe lika Mantombi “Mangwanya” Matotiyana. Isihloko endasinika elicwecwe nanjengoko kukho imixholo ebalulekileyo kwingoma azombelayo kwaye uluntu ludinga ukunyamekela kubizo olukulomyalezo. Ukusukela kwiingoma ngokrexezo, imicei-mngeni ngabasebenzi abaziimbacu, kunye neentlanganiso apho kunxulunyanwa khona ngokomoya nabalele ukuthula okanye iingoma zamagqirha, uMatotiyana ubamba iindawo kushicilelo apho abaonga khona isiduko sooMajola abangabantu baseMampondomiseni, apho inkaaba yakhe ikhona::
Majola, Mphankomo, Jolinkomo, Phahlo, Mthwakazi, Somarhwarhwa, uMfaz’ obele ‘nye omabele made, Yeyesa, Chirwa, Lembethe, Mgema Thole lenkwakha, Undub’ edolweni
She also praises the Dosini clan, another dominant Mpondomise clan. This is the clan of her manager and long-time surrogate son Professor Mzikantu ‘Dizu’ Plaatjies, a professor of African Music at the University of Cape Town, most famous for being the leader of the Amampondo Band of Langa and later the Ibuyambo Ensemble. Having found each other in the 1980s, they have made a number of recordings where Matotiyana features in an impressive discography as a solo singer, Xhosa musical bow player namely; uhadi and umrhubhe, and isitolotolo – the jaw harp. These entire instruments and her powerful voice are heard in the recording.
Ukwabonga nesiduko soo Dosini nesisinye seziduko ezixhaphakileyo kwiziduko zamaMpondomise. Esi sisiduko somphathi wakhe kunye nonyana wakhe obe ngumbambeli wakhe wexesha elide uNjingalwazi Mzikantu ‘Dizu’ Plaatjies, unjingalwazi womculo was Afrika kwidyunivesithi yaseKapa, nowaziwa kakhulu njengenkokheli yeqela lakwa Langa egama lalo Amampondo kunye neqela elaziwa ngokuba yiBuyambo. Befumenene kwiminyaka yoo 1980, bashicilele kaliqela apho uMatoyiyana ezibalule ngokuchukumisayo kuluhlu lwengoma ezishicilelweyo njengomculi owombela yedwa, nanjengomdlali wezixhobo zengoma zakwaXhosa ezaziwa ngokokuba luhadi, umrhumbhe kunye nesitolotolo – umhlathi wogwali. Ezi zixhobo zonke zengoma kunye nelizwi lakhe elinamandla ziyavakala kushicilelo.
The first time I saw Matotiyana perform was in 1999 at the South African National gallery in Cape Town. I was then a member of her manager Plaatjies’ ensemble the Dizu Kudu Horn band. Plaatjies was also my undergraduate lecturer at the University of Cape Town. Three years later in May 2002, Matotiyana, I and other indigenous musicians lend our skills to the recording of Plaatjies comeback album IBUYAMBO, which also became the name of our new ensemble with Plaatjies. We were recording at the best studio in town – Milestone Studios with the gentleman himself Murray Anderson.
Ukuqala kwam ukumbona u Matoyiyana edlala kwakungo 1999 kwiziko lobugcisa loMzantsi Afrika eKapa. Ndaze ndalilungu leqeqla lomphathi wakhe u Plaatjies iqela lamamphondo eqhude eliyi Dizu Kudu Band. uPlaatjies wayekwangumhlohli wam kwidyunivesithi yaseKapa. Kwiminyaka emithathu elandelayo ngonyaka ka 2002, mna, uMatoyiyana kunye nabanye abaculi bomculo wobuzwe saye safaka isakhono sethu kushicilelo lwecwecwe lika Plaatjies iBuyambo, neyaye yakwaligama leqela lethu elitsha kunye no Plaatjies. Sasishicilela kumzi woshicilelo ohamba phambili, ne nene ngokwalo u Murray Anderson womzi woshicilelo wakwa Milestone Studios.
We spent two days flat laying tracks and overdubs and when Plaatjies got out of Anderson’s recording booth, he would be energetic and say over and over again: “Yho! Mantombi is the Queen of One-Take!” At times during the overdubbing process, Matotiyana would just quietly let Plaatjies know that there is another vocal part she wants to add to the two or three overdubs that she has already done. Talk about an overflow of improvisation if there is such thing. I have seen Matotiyana jamming and improvising live with Swiss Musicians with no words spoken as she can’t speak English, German or French and the Swiss can’t obviously speak isiXhosa, but beautiful modal music is made leaving me bewildered by the tool music is in connecting kindred spirits.
Sachitha iintsuku ezmbini gungqu sibeka iingoma sishicilela ngokushicilela kwaye xa u Plaatjies ephuma kwindlwana yoshicilelo ka Anderson, ubanamandla athethe amatyeli ngamatyeli esithi “Yho! uMatoyiyna yiKumkaniazi yodidi!” Ngamanye amaxesha kwinkqubo yokushicilela phezu kolunye ushicilelo uMatoyiyana ebeyakuhlebezela u Plaatjies emazisa okokuba kukho elinye ilizwi anqwenela ukulongeza phezu kwalawo mabini okanye mathathu sele ewenzile. Ndithetha ngokuphuphuma bobuchule bokuqamba ukuba ikho into enjalo. Ndimbonile uMatoyiyana ecula kwaye eqamba nommi wase Switzerland engakhange athethe mazwi nanjengoko engakwazi ukuthetha ulwimi lwesiNgesi, isiJamani okanye isiFrentshi kwaye nomSwisi ngokuqinisekileyo naye akakwazi ukuthetha isiXhosa, kodwa indlela endityaniswa ngayo ingoma indishiya ndiyindidi ngendlela umculo wosapho onxulumana ngayo ngokomoya.
When I got into the studio with Matotiyana, I was not ready. “No she was not ready” as Kevin Hart would say. I thought I would be a fixer for the day on the logistics side. I did not know I would end up producing the album and creating something so pure in its simplest delivery. I advised Matotiyana to play the music on the uhadi or umrhubhe and thereafter perform the same song in ukombela practice. This approach is informed by research which shows that there is no specific repertoire for music played by uhadi, umrhubhe, isitolotolo, ikinge and any other instrument for that matter, as all music is first vocal music in ukombela practice. A musical practice that permits metrical handclaps and body movement during singing. The aim was to have the instrument play for at least 4:30 to 6:00 minutes as that is really what people want to hear, and the vocal rendition in ukombela practice filled up the track further with Matotiyana’s one-take overdubs.
Ukufika kwam kumzi wokushicilela no Matotiyana: “bendingekalungi… naye engekalungi” njengoko ebeyakutsho u Kevin Hart: “She was not ready”. Bendicinga okokuba ndiyakuba ngumlungisi walomini kwimicimbi yolungiselelo. Ndandingayazi okokuba ndiyakuphela ndingumvelisi we cwecwe kwaye ndidale into esulungekileyo ekwenziweni kwayo ngokulula. Ndacebisa uMatotiyana okokuba adlale ingoma yohadi, okanye umrhubhe emva koko ombele loongoma ngohlobo lwayo eqhelekileyo. Le ndlela yokwenza iphenjelelwa luphando olubonisa okokuba akukho ngoma ethile ebhaliweyo odlalwa ngohadi, umrhubhe, istolotolo kunye ne nkinge kunye naso nasiphi na isixhobo somculo kunjalo nje ngenxa yokokuba zonke ingoma kuvunywe ngelizwi ngohlobo lokombela. Uhlobo oluvumela ukuqhwatywa kwezandla okulinganiselweyo kunye nokushukumisa umzimba ngelixesha usombela ngaxesha nye. Injongo yayiyeyokuba isixhobo sidlale kangangemizuzu ey 04:30 ubuncinane ukuya kwimizuzu eyi 06:00 nanjengoko iyinto leyo efuna ukuviwa ngabantu, kwaye ukucula ngohlobo lokombela kuvala isikhewu engomeni yonke noMatotiyana efakela ushicilelo lwamazwi phezu kwamanye.
The first day of recording was spent laying all the tracks with our sound engineer Dave Langemann and the discerning ear of Theo Herbst without whom this album would have never been realised.
Usuku lokuqala loshicilelo lwasetyenziselwa ekubekeni iingoma nenjineli yethu yesandi u Dave Langerman kunye nendlebe eqondayo ka Theo Herbst xa ebengekho elicwecwe ngelingazange laziwe.
Herbst listened to every ‘atom’ of the music and his affirmation allowed me to flow and keep up the stamina of Matotiyana to record all these tracks.
uHerbst wamamela lonke isuntswana lengoma, kwaye isiqiniselo sakhe sandivumela okokuba ndiqukuqela kwaye ndigcine amandla ka Matotiyana ukuze ashicilele zonke ezi ngoma.
The second day of the recording Matotiyana and Plaatjies got into Langemann’s studio booth and Plaatjies first comment was that he likes the way we laid the tracks and that the tracks are clean meaning there is more option for overdubs and one can get the essence of the full bouquet of sound of instruments. I was happy and did not enter the booth, not even by mistake. I had enough tension in my body from laying the tracks the previous day.
Kusuku lwesibini loshicilelo uMatotiyana kunye no Plaatjies bangena kwindlwana yokushicilela ka Langerman, into yokuqala awayithethayo wathi uyayithanda indlela ingoma esizibeke ngayo kwaye iingoma zisemgangathweni into ethetha ukuthi kuvulelekile ukushicilela ngokuphinda-phindeneyo kwingoma enye kwaye nabanina unokufumana umongo wobuncwane bezixhobo zomculo. Ndavuya kwaye andizanga ndingene kwindlwana yokushicilela, nangempazamo. Umzimba wam wawusabamekile ngenxa yomsebenzi wayizolo wokubeka ingoma.
My role became one of support and being of assistance to Matotiyana’s personal needs. I sat with Herbst until the overdubs were finished; and used his face a barometer of the progress in Langemann’s booth. Thereafter, I organised the grilled chicken, salad and bread rolls for a late lunch, which is staple diet in the Ibuyambo Ensemble, before, after and always at performances or rehearsal. We broke bread and we parted.
Umsebenzi wam waba ngowokuba ngumncedi kunye nomncedisi kwizidingo zika Matotiyana. Ndahlala no Herbst lwade lwagqitywa ushicilelo oluphindaphindayo; ndasebenzisa ubuso bakhe njengesixhobo sokulinganisa inkqubela phambili kwigunjana lokushicilela lika Langerman. Emva koko ndaye ndazama inkukhu ephekiweyo, umxube wemifuno, isonka ukulungiselela isidlo sangorhatya, neyayikokona kutya okutyiwayo kwiqela iBuyambo, xasishicilelea, xasizakukhwela eqongeni naxa silungiselela amatheko. Sasiqhekeza isonka emva koko sahlukane.