Inspirational Zulu choral music

2012-10-10 00:00

NGU Zakhele Moses Hlatshwayo is a man with a song in his heart — his dream of publishing a book of choral music has been realised with the release of Hlabelelani (Umqulu wamaculo).

The self-published book boasts 34 compositions, many of which are regularly performed in churches and communities around the province. The songs include religious anthems and praise songs for leaders in Zulu culture, including King Dinuzulu ka Cetshwayo.

The publication of the book marks the first time that all Hlatswayo’s songs are available in one easily accessible source and on sheet music. Among the songs in Hlabelelani are: Kufa Nawe Uyokufa, which was written during the turmoil of the mid-eighties in KwaZulu-Natal; Isilo sasoNdini, which features lyrics by Mduduzi Xakaza, a former education officer at the Tatham Art Gallery; and Hlabelelani Zulu, composed in 1987, and considered by Hlatswayo to be one of his best works.The book also includes background information on the inspiration for each song, and tips on how and by whom it should be sung. And there’s an added treat for singers, voice exercises, which Hlatswayo hopes will help improve the quality and sound of solo and choral work.

The composer was raised in a musical family. His mother, Ntombizonke, and father, Hamilton were both involved in music performance, and his father was a leader of ingoma busuku, now known as isicathamiya.

His mentors have included: S.D. Knosi, a music lecturer at the former Indaleni College of Education; choristers at Myezane Higher Primary, Mpolweni Secondary, Siqongweni Secondary, Ashdown Higher Primary and Sobantu Secondary; and choirs like Treasured Voices, led by Titus Mdunge, and Ikhwezi Lokusa Roman Catholic Church.

Hlatswayo will be launching Hlabelelani in November, but right now he’s looking for talented singers to be part of a new choir, the Hlabelelani Adult Choir. He will be hosting auditions at 3 pm at the Zenzeleni Creche, in Unit J, in Imabli, on October 12, and invites all those interested in classical and choral music to attend.

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