Dedicating Our Lives To The Healing Sounds – Vol.3

Dedicating Our Lives To The Healing Sounds – Vol.3

A Sound Voyage into the Kalahari with Pops Mohamed & Peter Thwaites

Pops Mohamed, Peter Thwaites, myself and a crew from the UK embarked on a journey across Namibia to capture the healing songs and healing sounds of the Bushmen of the Kalahari.

Peter Thwaites, Girl 1, Girl 2, Girl 3 (half-covered), The Chief, Libera Benedetti, !Gubi Teitei, Pops Mohamed, Dick Jewell, Robert Trunz, Norma Fletcher.

These field recordings marked the beginning of a profound friendship between !Gubi Teitei, the tribal elder and healer, and Pops Mohamed.

Central to the cultural identity of the San people is their trance dance and -music, through which they harness rhythm to heal both individuals and the collective. The medicine man has a supernatural potency known as n/um, which enables them to cure sickness. Through dance and song, they activate this substance, causing it to rise up and evoke trance-like states. However, the modern world poses a threat to these ancient practices and the survival of the San people as hunter-gatherers, endangering their culture and unique musical heritage.
Peter Thwaites’s field recording of Anna with Dick Jewell filming.

The San individuals who participated in the original MELT 2000 recordings alongside Pops Mohamed, presenting the Bushmen of the Kalahari, and subsequent remix projects, originate from the Omaheke Region of Namibia, which borders Botswana.

This group comprised four members of the San family: !Gubi Teitei, his daughter Anna, granddaughter Marcella, and relative Kwela, along with Pops Mohamed. Together, they formed a tightly-knit family unit that embarked on extensive travels. Through their performances and cultural exchanges, they shared the rich heritage and traditions of the San people with audiences worldwide.

For two decades, Pops Mohamed and !Gubi’s family embarked on journeys to perform and share the story, reaching as far as the 2000 World Exhibition in Germany. During their travels, they also made a significant impact in London, particularly at the October Gallery.

Trance Dance Healing with Kwela, Zena Edwards and !Gubi at The October Gallery in London
South African High Commissioner Cheryl Carolus (left)

In London, they received support from the South African High Commissioner Cheryl Carolus and fashion label DIESEL, who sponsored workshops aimed at helping young children with learning difficulties. Through these workshops and performances, they not only showcased the rich cultural heritage of the Bushmen but also contributed to educational and cultural initiatives in London.

The San family with Pops performed on tours throughout South Africa and even attended an Aboriginal Festival in Perth, Australia. They collaborated with !Gubi and the Aboriginal lead singer from YUTHU HINDI, creating the first crossover band that used didgeridoos and their rich Aboriginal heritage with a full-on rock band. The fusion of !Gubi’s mouth bow and the singing and chants from the lead singer moved the audience to tears.

!Gubi Tietei – Healer & Tribal Elder tells his story in this documentary

Watch: Last Song of a Kalahari Bushman


In May 2001!Gubi Tietei, Anna, Kwela, and Marcela from the Noa tribe launched the International SanScape Remix Project.

After the intimate healing sessions at The October Gallery, workshops across London and promo shoots with sponsor DIESEL, the family  moved to the Clubs of EC2 London for a bit of fun and dance. Here they launched the Youth Culture Remix project SANSCAPES.

Sanscapes – Visions of the Bushmen 

The project draws its inspiration from this ancient culture, bringing their creativity and musical imagination into the realm of contemporary western dance culture. Using the raw and undiluted recordings revealed on Bushmen of the Kalahari (MELT2000) some of the worlds best and most diverse producers and remix artists have embraced the traditional sounds of the San, weaving them into a contemporary digital setting. Artists include Greg Hunter, Kalahari Surfers, Flipper Dalton, Raj Gupta, Simon Emmerson (Afro Celts), Kirk Degiorgio, Smadj, Ekova, Soul Drummers, Acid Rockers, Mario Cee (BadBox), Gambit, Krishna Booker & Rashid Duke, Pete Lockett, Youth, and Bob Holroyd; all of whom have delved deep into earth’s oldest surviving culture to produce some startling results. The result is a truly unique amalgamation of past, present and futuristic sounds that maintains strict respect for the culture being sampled.


Watch: Sanscapes – Kalamari Warriors squiddly Mix

Final celebration with friends at Brownhill Farm in West Sussex.

Brownhill Farm West Sussex UK

Compiled and edited by Douw Jordaan of GoodCloud

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