A “national treasure” in traditional bow instruments

The Story

Madosini Latozi Mpahleni, born 1922 in the Eastern Cape, is a South African musician storyteller and expert in traditional bow instruments. She is well known for playing instruments such as the uhadi and mhrubhe and the jaws harp. She performs under the name Madosini and is regarded as a “national treasure” in her field. Madosini speaks only iXhosa and is unable to read or write. She has collaborated and written songs with Amampondo and British Rock Singer Patrick Duff performing a number of successful concert tours around the world. In 2008, Madosini performed at the WOMAD festival, and was the first person to be recorded and documented in the festival’s Musical Elders Archives projectThe Rough Guide to World Music said in 1999: “After making a few great but obscure recordings in the mid 1970’s Madosini disappeared into the Transkei only to be rediscovered by Robert Trunz of M.E.L.T. 2000 who proceeded to showcase her artistry with sympathetic and imaginative production techniques, a leap of musical (and financial) faith that could only have occurred with a non-South African record label. The result is a wonderful exposition of tradition enhanced by technology.” Madosini was actually rediscovered by Dizu Plaatjies and Mzwandile Qotoyi (founding members of AMAMPONDO) who after contacting Robert Trunz in the UK took her to Milestone recording studios in Cape Town. A great variety of Madosini’s songs were recorded without further overdubs. When the M.E.L.T. team arrived in Joburg in 1995 for the second Outernational Meltdown gathering with Cuban conga master Changuito, bata player Mayito and student Robbie Geerken they met up with Dizu, Mzwandile and the Amampondo choir from the township of Langa to complete three exiting days of overdubs and traditional songs. Some of the traditional Xhosa songs werelater released under the title Fidel Pondo with a reference to the amazing contributions of the two Cuban masters Changuito and Mayito.




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