Hip Deep June 6, 2007
The Zulu Factor

Beginning in 1815, under Shaka Zulu, the Zulus began a campaign of conquest that would subsume so many other groups that today, the Zulu are South Africa's largest ethnic population, numbering at least six-million. Ethnomusicologist Louise Meintjes, author of Sounds of Africa! Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio writes that the Zulu reputation for courage and style has given them "empowering significance as a defiant, self possessed, royal, and artful African people." This program will trace the rise of Zulu musical identity. We'll hear from Umzansi Zulu Dancers; Lahlumlenze, guitar picking maskanda stars Phuzekhemisi, Bhekumuzi, and today's top seller, Shwi No Mthekala, as well as mbaqanga stars, Isigqi Sesimanje and others. This is a story of musical innovation and virtuosity: how local musicians absorbed American fingerstyle guitar, Afrikaans concertina, the marching bass drum of the British imperialists, the backing vocals of soft soul, and made from these new elements thoroughly "Zulu" sounds. Banning Eyre. (originally aired 2007)