Devoting Our Lives To The Shape Of Sound – Vol.2

Devoting Our Lives To The Shape Of Sound – Vol.2

TAIWA - YOU ARE FOREVER IN OUR MINDS

Throughout the history of recorded music, many labels have carved out a niche and are often known for their distinctive sound. In the case of MELT 2000, I must single out and express gratitude to three sound engineers for their significant contributions. South African Peter Thwaites, along with the two Brits Richard Edwards and Chris Lewis, have played pivotal roles in shaping the unique sound of MELT 2000.

Following the Outernational Meltdown Sessions, sound engineer Peter Thwaites went on to record Moses Taiwa Molelekwa’s award-winning debut album, “Finding One’s Self.”
Mural in Tembisa (his township) celebrating the Award
Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Rehearsals in Nantes 1997

Darkness Pass – Solo Piano

This recording is a testament to the extraordinary talent and dedication of the young musical virtuoso. The solo piano pieces presented here represent a crucial experiment in Moses Taiwa Molelekwa’s artistic journey. They offer a glimpse into his thought processes and his daily rituals of intense piano playing, which were often driven by obsession.

Encouraged by Robert Trunz, Moses embarked on a journey into the depths of unexplored musical territory, seeking inspiration from the rich wellspring of music that lies beyond the ordinary. Moses called upon Peter Thwaites to record these compositions over an extended period throughout the second half of the 1990s at the SABC’s Auckland Park studios in Johannesburg.

These tracks document Moses’ exploration of music’s deepest realms, capturing moments of profound emotion and creative insight. They represent a unique and previously unheard aspect of his artistic vision, shedding light on the inner workings of a true musical genius.

Picture: Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and Shaluza Max 1994

Madala Kunene The True African Bluesman

FREEDOM COUNTDOWN

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Peter Thwaites, and produced by Sipho Gumede in late 1993, this album marked a significant milestone for B&W MUSIC (M.E.L.T. 2000) as it ventured into the folk and jive roots of Durban, the Zulu capital. For Madala Kunene, this album served as a springboard into the club scene, particularly with a remix of “Ubombo” by the Bristol-based production team Smith & Mighty, which was released in 1995 on the seminal album “Music With No Name Vol. 1.

Mandla Masuku, known for his distinctive township Jive, gained popularity in South Africa through this album, establishing himself as a strong frontman in his own right. Barney Bophela, on the other hand, traverses both traditional and African Pop, influenced by Sipho Gumede’s distinctive style. On this compilation, listeners can hear Barney’s fusion of American Jazz with South African flavors, a testament to the diverse musical influences present on the album.

1995 Peter Thwaites was back in the studio laying the foundations for first tracks of Madala’s debut album for MELT 2000. After Madala Kunene and Airto Moreira collaborated closely on a couple of tracks during the 1994 Outernational Meltdown recordings in Johannesburg, Pops Mohamed reached out to inform me that the Shades Choir from London would be touring South Africa and he wanted them to record some songs with Madala. A few weeks later, the multi-track analog tapes arrived in the UK during a recording session with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. They were deeply moved by the music and requested to take the material to Santa Barbara for further production and overdubs. The track “Konko Man” (or “Strong Man”) has since travelled the world and helped establish a global fan base for Madala. Other tracks like “Abangoma,” “Sani Bonani,” and “Igwababa” feature the incredible vocals of Busi Mhlongo, introduced to me by Madala during the recording sessions in Johannesburg in 1995.

“Konko Man” features Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, and Jose Neto, while most tracks feature the late Malombo drummer legend, Mabi Gabriel Thobejane.

Madala’s many collaborations and remixes with the world of Electronica include UK Drum n’Bass outfit Smith & Mighty from the 90’s and in the 2020’s South African House masters DJ Kaliba DJ KABILA Feat. Madala Kunene & 104 BPM – Suka (Official Music Video 2022)& Black Motion.

DJ KABILA Feat. Madala Kunene & 104 BPM – Suka (Official Music Video 2022)

uGayo · Black Motion · Madala Kunene · Mabi Thobejane · Robert Bongani Mohosana · Thabo Roy Mabogwane
Ya Badimo
℗ 2016 Next Music / Spirit Motion (Pty) Ltd. Released on: 2016-10-28

Black Motion & Osaze – Abangoma (Cave Mix) ft. Madala Kunene, Busi Mhlongo, Mabi Thobejane, Tu Nokwe

BOOTLEG – KING OF THE ZULU GUITAR

In 1995, amidst the ongoing violent clashes in Zululand, Madala Kunene dedicated his life to peace and making a difference. Despite the sounds of gunfire throughout the night, which meant barricading oneself and waiting for the morning to count the bodies, the resilient people who endured decades of apartheid and brutality emerged under a president who understood repression intimately but still exuded smiles, love, and forgiveness.

Amidst this turmoil, talent persisted, and Madala Kunene embarked on his mission of peace. It was during the daytime hours of 1995 when I recorded this album live on the riverbank and at the bottom of his garden, using a stereo Sony DAT recorder and a Soundfield microphone—everything powered by batteries due to the lack of electricity in remote areas like the farms in the KwaZulu hinterland. Peter Thwaites handled all the recordings, with Pops Mohamed and my ex-partner Libera revelling in the rural beauty of KZN. Dick Jewell graciously filmed some of the encounters between Madala and percussionist Mabi Thobejane or Busi Mhlongo rehearsing in their hotel room in Johannesburg.

It was indeed a long walk to meet the King of the Zulu guitar, but one that was filled with moments of beauty, resilience, and hope amidst the challenges of the time.

The Downtown Studios hosted an array of sessions recorded by Peter Thwaites, including notable collaborations such as Pops Mohamed with Moses Khumalo and Sipho Gumede’s albums “Down Freedom Avenue” and “Ubuntu Humanity.” Each recording bore the unmistakable sound signature of Peter Thwaites, contributing to the rich tapestry of South African music history.

Madala & Busi in Studio 1995

Compiled and edited by Douw Jordaan of GoodCloud

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